Casting for online leads

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At the core of any successful marketing program are measurable results, targeted branding and exposure. How do you take the first step in achieving these results? Simple: fish where the fish are. Now more than ever, that's online.

Recently there has been significant migration of professionals to the Internet to search for products and services. With the Internet and online marketing finally being accepted and engaged at a scale level, the following trends will continue this year:

Measurable advertising. As online marketing continues its upward trend, companies are looking for tactics that help them generate quality leads online. There is significant interest in true lead generation; specifically, intelligence-rich leads versus faceless, largely non-contactable clicks. Quality is now preferred over quantity, resulting in a greater demand by marketers for accountability from online media partners.

Balanced spend. Most companies have embraced online marketing at the intellectual level, but some have not yet developed the comfort level to reallocate their marketing dollars to closely align with where their target audience is searching. Yet greater numbers of marketers are beginning to see the light and better balance their media spend across many different channels.

A watchful eye on new media. Recently, there has been significant buzz surrounding podcasts, RSS and blogs. While these communication channels have received a great deal of attention in the media, they may not be priority areas for marketers looking to reach an industrial audience.

Reaching a targeted audience through targeted means. As the online needs of audiences continue to become more specialized - and the audiences that marketers want to reach are more clearly defined - marketing on vertical search engines will become even more prevalent. Vertical search offers marketers more than market segmentation; it provides a deep, highly filtered and intelligent entry point into a specific market. Opt-in online newsletters covering specific business topics are also a channel to reach specific audiences.

When defining your marketing plans, keep in mind how you will become highly visible to, and discovered by, potential customers.

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