Is Reliance on Email Stifling Lead Nurturing?

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Pressure to drive revenue has some B2B marketers looking to take a more multichannel approach to lead nurturing.

Email has long led the pack when it comes to the most effective channels for lead nurturing, but that may be changing. More than 40% of B2B marketers believe that only about 5% of anonymous website visitors provide their email, according to a new study conducted by B2B marketing platform Bizo and Oracle Marketing Cloud this past spring. Even when they do, there's no guarantee of reaching those prospects. Of the 505 B2B marketers who responded to the survey, 79% say their email open rates average less than 20%. These minute percentages can make it difficult to nurture potential leads effectively.

“Relying solely on email for lead nurturing is preventing B2B marketers from getting to the next level of business impact,” Bizo CMO David Karel said in a statement. “With only 5% of website visitors willingly providing an email address, marketers need to find other channels or risk limiting nurturing efforts to a very small portion of their target audience.”

It's no surprise, then, that although almost 60% of the survey respondents have some form of lead nurturing program in place, more than half of them are still looking for ways to improve their nurturing efforts. Nearly 89% of these marketers said they're interesting in technology that supports nurturing both anonymous and known prospects.

In fact, marketers are keen to adopt new technologies to improve nurturing and automation in general. About 72% of respondents said they're currently using an automation platform, and 82% plan to either maintain or increase investment in these platforms during the second half of 2014. These marketers also hope to achieve better multichannel integration through these technologies. Only about 30% of B2B marketers claimed that that they have an effective and integrated multichannel marketing strategy.

 Marketing's increasing impact on revenues could be affecting this drive for optimization. More than half of the respondents said their marketing department generates up to 40% of company revenue. That number climbs to 60% of company revenue for about 20% of the respondents. Indeed, marketing's influence on revenue seems to have driven some businesses to invest heavily on customer retention rather than on acquisition, according to the study. More than 36% of respondents claim that less than 25% of their marketing budget goes toward prospecting new leads.

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