Hey CMO, want to generate strong leads? Well, then you have to be relevant

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Yuchun Lee, IBM Industry Solutions
Yuchun Lee, IBM Industry Solutions

In the bygone era of lead generation, marketers would blast messages and promotional offers into the universe and then wait to see which messages would actually stick. Chief marketing officers (CMOs) would then apply some type of mathematical equation to determine which leads were best and translate those leads into opportunities. With approaches like this, is it really any surprise that when it comes to response rates, these antiquated methods are losing steam?

In this new world of empowered and engaged consumers, a lead is only a lead if you have connected what is relevant to the customer. To that end, here are five key tips for generating relevant and real leads:

1. Forget the traditional methods. The blast, spray, and pray method of marketing is over. Customers are more intelligent and savvier than ever, and have found ways to quickly filter out irrelevant messages. The only objective that matters now is being relevant and speaking to customers how, when, and where they want to be spoken to.

2. Deliver relevancy by providing a system of engagement. Systems of engagement ensure positive customer experiences across all touchpoints by delivering content and communications relevant to each individual recipient. Through this personalization, marketers can go beyond the advertising channels and deliver promotions that provide real value to the consumer. When done correctly, CMOs and their teams can gain trust with their customers, which in turn drives loyalty and, of course, business success.

3. Focus on successful implementation. Organizations don't just need to handle the distribution of millions of personalized messages and offers—they must also be nimble on the back end in terms of fulfillment. This requires the creation of an agile culture that relies on a handful of trusted partners, as opposed to dozens of various vendors. Then, marketers should make sure they bring partners into an integrated system instead of a box of unconnected tools. This requires the breaking down of silos and finding ways for IT and marketing to work together to generate better results. It's a CMO's job to create synergy or a partnership with the chief information officer. By working in tandem, these two C-suite powerhouses can streamline lead generation processes.

4. Embrace a culture of taking risks. Marketers must be fluid enough to iterate and improve, because at the end of the day the ability to be quick and adaptable is what will drive success. This means marketers must strive for agility over certainty. The fact is, you won't generate the right leads if you're not willing to take the right risks.

5. Treat marketing as a service. We all know what bad marketing feels like and so do consumers. CMOs need to treat their marketing less like an activity or a promotional effort and more like a service that brings value to the customer. If marketers can speak directly to an audience, their marketing will morph from an unwanted intrusion to something far greater that brings value to each individual consumer.

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