Demand Generation and How To Choose Between Lead-Generation Programs and Display Advertising Campaigns (Part 1)

Part 1: Planning and preparation

There are so many ways to grow a business organically through marketing and promotion – it can be overwhelming to parse through all the options and decide which way to go for your business. For this reason, in our last few posts we have been looking at popular internet marketing options and comparing them to each other. In this post I’d like to dive into the strategy of lead generation in comparison to display advertising.

First off, let’s define lead generation. By this I mean specific programs developed to drive leads to your business. Common lead generation tactics include long form content (think white papers and e-books for example), and webinars, to name a few popular strategies.

Display advertising refers to the banner ads that you will see on websites while browsing the web.

With that out of the way, in this first part of our two-part series on demand generation, let’s take a look at these two strategies and see how they compare in terms of the initial steps of getting set up – the planning and the preparation.

The stage of the buying cycle

As you start planning your marketing strategy, first and foremost it’s important to grasp that display advertising and lead generation programs generally target individuals at different stages of the buying cycle.

Display ads drive awareness, which occurs earlier in the buying cycle. Lead generation, on the other hand, is characterized by direct contact with a decision maker, which usually happens later in the buying cycle.

By generating awareness early on, there will be greater familiarity when a prospect downloads a white paper or is called by a salesperson, so these two tactics can work well in tandem as part of your marketing mix.

The targeting

In general, lead generation is more highly targeted, but also much more expensive than display. Let’s look at a whitepaper for example. You can target it in two ways:

  • With filters you can choose to receive leads only matching a specific criteria, typically company size, job title, industry/vertical, and geography. Note that these filters are quite expensive though!
  • The other way to target is by tailoring the content and abstract of the white paper very specifically for your target audience, effectively discouraging those who aren’t your target market from downloading the white paper.

There a wide variety of targeting options with display advertising too of course, with programmatic buying leading the way. For more information about targeting options for display, see my previous blog titled ‘With A Limited Budget, Should I Use Paid Search or Media Buys?

The preparation

Display advertising generally is quite easy to set up. Apart from the selection of the display networks and channels, you also need to create your banners, landing pages and tracking links. When you work with a digital agency, things are simplified. If you are managing things yourself, you will have to handle these details, but again, for the seasoned marketer on your team, it should be a relatively painless process.

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With lead generation, the lead time can be considerably longer. It can take weeks (perhaps even months) to prepare the lead generating materials or content. Everything from the research, writing, editing, design and production must be taken into consideration. With a webinar for example, apart from actually creating and running the webinar, you must manage all the details leading up to it (such as reminding attendees), and then following up with them after the fact with a carefully planned sales funnel. Lead generation takes much more time and effort than a display campaign.

The follow-up

With lead generation, you may chose to send leads directly to your sales team to qualify them or you may chose to nurture the lead via email from a marketing automation platform. Once the lead is in your CRM database, there are also options to do CRM retargeting, where those people are served ads as they browse online. So in short, you need to have the systems, processes and tools to handle the follow-up, however once these are in place, your sales funnel should run smoothly and efficiently.

With display advertising, you are not in direct communication with your prospect and the only way you can follow up is with a retargeting display campaign.

The costs

Budget is always top of mind when planning for a marketing push. Costs will be highly variable depending on the program or the campaign. To give you some ballpark figures:

  • With lead generation, leads are typically in the price range of $40 – $100 or even more, depending on how specific the criteria is.
  • Display advertising campaigns typically run $1.00 – $50.00 CPM and sometimes more.

You should now have a better understanding of the preparation involved for lead generation and display advertising programs. Stay tuned for our next post in the series where we will discuss managing the campaigns and the returns you can expect (Click here for Part 2).

Leaning towards lead generation and interested in deepening your understanding? Check out our blog archives for more insights. Want to learn more about how we can support you when it comes to lead generation programs or display advertising campaigns (or both)? Contact us today!


About the Author:

As eBridge’s VP of Operations, Devin Rose brings marketing expertise and an entrepreneurial knack to the eBridge team. Devin holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Royal Roads University and a Marketing Management Diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Posted November 27, 2014
Categories: eBridge Marketing Solutions' Blog, Demand Generation
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