Digital Marketing | 5 min. read
Generating sales leads after the GDPR deadline
Written by Matt McGillicuddy, 04.04.2018
The imminent passing of the GDPR deadline is a hot topic that continues to dominate news feeds. Seemingly overnight, a new industry has materialised that promises to ensure compliance in time for the 25th May. Each week, an increasing number of checklists are being produced to spell out the “12 steps” that your organisation needs to take to prepare for zero hour, but despite this only half of B2B marketers have a good awareness of the changes that are required by law. This level of uncertainty has left many unsure of how they need to adapt their marketing strategies to prevent lead generation from coming to a standstill. It’s estimated that 75% of all UK marketing data could be rendered obsolete come the passing of the deadline. This would have a catastrophic effect on the number of prospects that many marketing communications will reach. Historic over-reliance on email, which is considered by 89% of marketers to be the primary channel for lead generation, will leave many on the back-foot, and incapable of maintaining pre-GDPR levels of sales interest. Alternative methods of lead generation will need to be employed by companies that have previously relied too heavily upon the channel if they are to prevent sales pipeline shrinkage.
Tactical changes need to be accompanied by a philosophical shift
Many marketers will turn their attention to less disruptive methods that altogether remove the risk of penalisation by the Information Commissioner’s Office. Inbound marketing offers many advantages in this respect. Its focus on attracting customers through useful, engaging content that supports buyers as they progress through their purchasing journey is diametrically opposed to the unsolicited nature of cold-emailing. Inbound lead generation is not only 62% less expensive per lead, but 3x more effective than traditional methods. Such effectiveness can be attributed to the fact that its helpful approach is aligned with the self-sufficiency of modern B2B buyers, who are 60% of the way down the sales path before they interact with representatives from potential suppliers.
Although it may seem like the perfect solution, inbound is far from easy to implement effectively and quickly. The system is reliant on content. Content that simultaneously creates demand, demonstrates how your products address problems and builds trust in your brand. Producing effective content is a time-consuming process that requires a team of writers who understand your business, markets and the requisites of SEO; which is why 64% of B2B marketers outsource their writing. Even with the necessary investment, inbound marketing can take 6 months to gain traction and begin attracting new customers. Although it is a fantastic lead generation tactic, inbound will not yield results with any immediacy. In short, unless you already have the process in place, it is not the answer to making up for the shortfall in leads that you may be faced with post GDPR.
So, what can you do to plug the gap quickly?
The perceived cost-effectiveness and measurability of digital has resulted in many discounting traditional methods altogether, but with buyers still placing more trust in print advertisements than sponsored content and social ads, traditional advertising still can influence purchasing behaviour. In a study conducted by Marketing Sherpa, 82% of respondents considered printed ads to be trustworthy, compared to only 43% who placed trust in adverts distributed through either of the digital channels. When you consider that campaigns can be created and rolled out in a third of the time that it takes for the first green shoots of inbound to appear, print advertising becomes a compelling solution to combating the pipeline attrition that GDPR could cause; even more so when you contemplate its communicative abilities.
As the human brain is capable of processing images 60,000 times faster than text, considered, high impact visual concepts engage customers and communicate value quickly. With attention spans shortening daily and marketplace chatter louder than ever, cutting and concise communication is imperative. Despite this great potential, many organisations fail to capitalise on the lead generation potential that print advertising offers by failing to carry out the necessary targeting and segmentation, and commissioning ads that have informative but unpersuasive messaging and un-engaging visuals. With 86% of B2B buyers perceiving no significant difference between competing company products, it is imperative for communications to transcend your offer and resonate both logically and emotionally. If they are to initiate the sales process, B2B communications cannot be mundane, and they don’t have to be:
One well-executed concept can form the basis of a cross-media campaign that drives an uplift in brand awareness, enquiries and sales. Whilst there is no substitute for a fully integrated marketing communications strategy when it comes to lead generation, advertising will deliver a positive flow of quality leads through the sales pipelines of companies that either have no desire to navigate the minefield that is GDPR compliance, or will fail to do so in time. The 60% of EU companies that are unprepared for new data protection rules will soon have a choice to make: sail uncomfortably close to the wind and cite legitimate interest, or adapt. Even fully compliant organisations will need to take action if they are to compensate for the shortfall in reach that they will inevitably be left with after they have cleansed their marketing data. The time to act is now.
When underpinned by a comprehensive marketing strategy that provides robust positioning, clear differentiation and precise customer targeting, traditional adverts are a sound investment for organisations that are looking to maintain brand awareness and generate sales. If you want to prevent GDPR from negatively effecting your sales pipeline, talk to Intermedia.
Originally published April 4, 2018 16:04pm, updated October 14, 2020