In the world of sales, there are two goals for your marketing plan: positive brand awareness and lead generation. Today’s internet-based society and mobile device usage has blended these two objectives into one overarching business conversation that needs to be navigated wisely to achieve the desired results.
The New Landscape
Online advertising started in earnest in the early 1980s when Prodigy began displaying banner ads to its subscribers. Between the ’80s and the early 2000s, online advertising campaigns paralleled traditional paper marketing, using discount-driven ads and brand awareness pieces to drive sales.
The rise of social media changed this by demanding a two-way conversation over these single-direction marketing statements. Mobile technology made marketing communication instantaneous. Twitter became the carrier of customer service messages, both good and bad. Facebook is now the most relied upon place for reviews and product opinions. Today, leads are no longer the final product of marketing but just part of the overall relationship that you develop with new and existing customers.
Defining a Lead
A lead used to be a linear relationship between a piece of marketing and the interest shown by a potential customer. In short, it was a potential contact. Now, with a billion people on Facebook alone, most of your potential contacts are not actionable contacts.
Interest is difficult to measure in this nonlinear connected environment. Initially, lead generation was part of a reverse marketing approach in which the company wanted the prospect to seek out the business. Now the prospective customer is searching for active conversations about your company and they may or may not include you.
Your job in lead generation is to make sure that you are at the center of these digital dialogues. To do this, you must understand who you are and what you have to offer. You need to analyze your business and its foundational beliefs and then insert yourself into conversations based on these principles.
The Rise in new Technology
Social media lets users separate themselves from their physical person if they want. They can create profiles that portray an image even if it is not real. The use of mobile devices has counteracted this, linking the physical people with their cyber selves.
How? The latest iPhones, like the iPhone 7 Plus, now have technology that allow the devices to interact with their environment through Bluetooth signals. When users are near your business or inside your store, you can take these previously online-only marketing conversations into a physical environment, allowing you to react to location and shopping patterns of real customers. As a lead generation tool, new technology like iBeacon is extremely powerful. You can invite customers into your shop while they are walking by or entice them with a special promotion. For better lead generation, look into some of the newest geofencing advertising opportunities.
Holistic Lead Generation
Ultimately, the best lead generation campaign takes into account where the prospect is, both mentally and physically. You want to be in a positive, relationship-building conversation with potential customers and their support network while seeing their location-based shopping patterns. Trying to sell a house in Houston to a couple looking for a home in Boston is useless, but being an expert in housing is invaluable. To best generate leads, create your online image, become part of the conversation and know your customer base.
With a Bachelors in Physics and a MBA, Paul Reyes-Fournier worked in aerospace and education but his passion to do something good for the world led him to a career in the non-profit sector where he has served as the CFO of a multi-million dollar rehab agency. Paul has lobbied Congress for funds to help homeless individuals and served on the BOD for social service organizations.