Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Why Filtering Leads Will Cost You

“I only want green eyed, C level, decision makers, from Idaho.” Sadly I may have actually heard marketers with requests this limited before (no offense Idaho). While each of us have our targets or ideal customers, to run a program that rejects and filters out anything but this, is actually costing you.  It’s costing you money, time, opportunity, reputation, influence, the list goes on…

How is it so costly to filter people out of a demand generation program you might ask?

Reputation - – As Forrester has reported here – there has been a “mobile mind shift”. What this theory says is that people now have the expectation that they can find the information they want at anytime, anyplace, on any device. If this need isn’t met, they will pass negative judgment. If you block users from getting content they might want, the user experience will be a negative one. As marketers we all know negative experiences are shared more frequently than good ones, so let’s Avoid the bad user experiences. Keep you content available to anyone looking to consume it.

                Focus – instead of filtering people out that don’t make your tight list, produce targeted content based on industries and persona’s. This will let “natural selection” take over and will have better impacts – in response thereby avoiding bad experiences. As noted in this demand gen report 37% of buyers said personalized content was missing from their research experience, and 20% industry specific content was missing.

Opportunity – There have been several studies and reports about shifting sales funnels. Per Mckinsey & Company there is a new buyer’s journey shown here.  The buyer journey is no longer linear, but instead it’s a circular. There are upsell opportunities, but beyond that, the IT buying world is small (relatively speaking).  If and IT Architect has good experience with your brand early in their career (purchase or not), you could follow that buyer around for life as they move to new organizations and grow in their career. It’s about thinking of the Lifetime Value of a Buyer. If a user has a negative experience with your brand during their first interaction, you might miss these future opportunities.

Time – Another huge cost can be Time. If we invest time into following up based on demographic data rather than behavioral data, we will be spinning our wheels and likely not identifying the hottest opportunity when it presents itself. When filtering leads based on demographic data remember that users don’t always provide accurate info. Only 29% of buyers say they “always” provide accurate info. Are you missing opportunity by looking demographics rather than digital body language?

What to do?

So what do Opportunity, Reputation and Time all equal – Money. Don’t fall into this common trap. Instead produce content based on the buyer personas, and industries that are your targets. This will let the content marketing strategy act as a filter pro-actively. This will set the proper expectations with potential prospects, and keep good users experiences. 

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