The New Rules of Lead Generation: Book Review

April 30, 2013

I was fortunate to receive a copy of “The New Rules of Lead Generation“, by David T. Scott, for review. As I read the book I couldn’t help but notice that the author not only goes straight to the point (which is refreshing), he also shows a good deal of experience illustrating each lead generation tactic with clear examples.

The author, David T. Scott, is the founder and CEO of Marketfish, a data management and lead generation platform. Prior to Marketfish, David served as VP of Marketing for PeopleSoft and Intermec, and also has  Boston Consulting Group and GE in his resume. His solid business background shows that he is not just a “consultant”, “marketing guru” or some “speaker”.

But is this book for you? I hope the following review helps you make up your mind.New Rules of Lead Generation Book

New and Old Rules

First, I’ve got to say that the title left me a bit uncertain. I have read the other David Scott (the one with Meerman in the middle) book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” and know that he has started a series of “new rules” books and eBooks. So my first impression was that David T. Scott (or his publisher) was trying to jump on the well known “new rules” title created by another author and take advantage of it.

Leaving the issue of the title aside, the book doesn’t focus only on “new” lead generation tactics like social media and online advertising but instead it gives you a more comprehensive roadmap for implementing a lead generation program at your company using both tried-and-true lead gen tactics like direct mail and cold calling and social media advertising, display advertising, and search engine marketing.

The Basics and More

The book starts off talking about basics of lead generation, how to develop your strategy, and gives an overview of each tactic. The first 5 chapters set up the stage and are great for someone new to marketing or that is interested in getting a better understanding of lead generation. The remaining 11 chapters go deep into each tactic.

Planning Your Strategy

According to David, there are 5 steps to a successful lead generation program:

1. Determine and plan your approach
2. Research and discover your target customer
3. Build your assets
4. Execute your test campaign
5. Measure

And he adds a ‘sixth’ step: Repeat!

Sounds simple and trivial, but unless you and your marketing organization are in sync as to what needs to get done to setup your lead gen program, it will be tough to get good (and measureable) results.

One thing I really liked was that he mentions in several places throughout the book the importance of coordinating your lead generation tactis and testing. He says “You are constantly testing and anlyzing your results to see which lead generation tactic works best for you”. This is important, because you don’t want to go ahead and spend money on certain tactics just because your competitor is doing it or because it is being talked about in the media. Testing is important if you want to improve your lead gen results.

Lead Generation Tactics

The 7 lead generation tactics that the author believes are the most successful ones are:

  • SEM
  • Social Media Advertising
  • Display Advertising
  • Email Marketing
  • Cold Calling
  • Direct Mail
  • Trade Shows

There’s one chapter for each of the tactics. Although you won’t get a lot of deep information on the many ways to use a certain tactic, it will get you up to speed on what exactly each one is and how it is used.

Lead Gen Basics

As I said earlier, this book focuses on the basics of lead generation. Having said that, I think the book is missing a couple of important topics. First, the author presents the reader with the AIDA framework, a model that every marketer should know. It would have been better, however, if he also had introduced the reader to the SiriusDecisions demand waterfall model that is becoming prevalent in larger B2B organizations and a key component in any discussion about lead generation tactics.

Another point I think was not stressed enough in the book is the importance of defining what exactly constitutes a lead and how this seemingly simple concept can be the cause for a great divide between sales and marketing, especially because the book is aimed not at the experienced marketer but the beginner.

Finally, is not until chapter 5 that the author talks about the marketing and sales funnel, discussing the concepts of Marketing Qualified Lead, Sales Accepted Lead, Sales Qualified Lead, and Sales Qualified Opportunity. I think that it would have been better to have brought up the funnel earlier in the book to set the stage for how different lead generation tactics should help drive and move leads from one stage to another.

Regardless of these issues, the book is still a good source of information for those starting off in their marketing careers.

For more information about the book, check it out on Amazon and on the book’s website.

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Flip the Funnel Book Review

October 13, 2010

At the San Francisco Marketing Book Club meeting last week we discussed “Flip the Funnel: How to use existing customers to gain new ones“, by Joseph Jaffe. 

What’s the verdict?  Buy the book. OK, now the explanations and caveats.

First, the book talks about the essential function of customer service and how to leverage it with today’s current technologies, including (of course) social media. If you haven’t read much about customer service or if marketing isn’t your background, then the book will be a good starting point. For those that have some experience and background on the topic of excellence in customer service and have read one of the many classic books out there, then a lot of it will be just a review of what has already been said.

My biggest disappointed was that the author used mostly well known examples to illustrate his points. JetBlue, Domino’s, United Airlines, Zappos, and others are cases that we marketers already know. I would have liked to see other companies that he has worked with and are not so obvious and how they implemented his recommendations or how they have failed to recognize the importance of “flipping the funnel”. But then, maybe I’m not the target market for this book.

The other thing to be aware is that Mr. Jaffe is a bit verbose. If you have listened to his podcasts or seen his videos, then you know what I’m talking about. I felt like skipping a few pages just so I could get right to the point. Others may be ok with his style, but it just made it much harder for me to make progress. You should read an excerpt or check it out at the local bookstore to see if you like how he writes before buying the book.

But don’t be fooled, there are some really good ideas in the book:

Where is the money going?

Early in the book he makes the case that we’re spending money on the wrong side of the funnel. “Shouldn’t we be spending money against qualified prospective buyers versus shots in the dark at bagging a random stranger?”. He continues saying “The marketing funnel produces customers – but then does nothing with them.”

How right he is! Why is it we spend all that money and effort into getting people interested just to forget about them once we get the purchase order? There’s gold to be mined in existing customers and the book treats this as the new mantra for marketing. In Jaffe’s words “Keeping, cultivating, and nurturing existing customers and establishing unbreakable bonds with them”.

Segment and Treat Customers Differently

Although the methodology varies based on your industry and whether you are a B2B or B2C company, the big picture is clear. “The more opportunities we give our customers to engage us (as opposed to us engaging them), the more likely they’ll be able to do just that”, and I completely agree. According to Jaffe, we should segment customers into “walkers”, “talkers”, and “hybrid”, and deploy distinct approaches for each one. His new “flipped funnel” approach to doing that is called A.D.I.A (Acknowledgement, Dialogue, Incentivization, and Activation).

The Customer Experience

The whole point of the “new” flipped funnel approach is to create this unique “customer experience”, which means giving customers ways in which they can interact with the brand, and we can interact back with them. Sure, this is not new, but he suggests that “companies need to have an intensive, omnipresent approach to dealing with their customers”. Does this sound like your company? I know, everyone talks about how important the customer is, etc but very few companies really put the necessary resources behind that. The payback, he argues, is that “customers will pay a premium for higher perceived value”, and such value is likely to be how customers are treated. Customer service becomes your product, or better yet, the differentiator between your product and your competitor’s.

Social Media Still Not Treated Seriously

Where I think the book falls short is on the implementation side. It talks about companies having to deploy capabilities across every single customer touchpoint, connecting the dots between the physical and virtual world and giving customer service the strategic value it deserves, but there’s not much in terms of HOW companies are doing that. Although, if the research from MS&L mentioned in the book is correct (one third of companies are not incorporating social media in marketing efforts, and of 63% that were, a full two-thirds had not made changes to products or marketing based on customer feedback), then the problem is actually there aren’t many good examples to follow. Are we entering a new world, travelling a path very few have survived? We’ll see.

 

In sum, if you’ve already read a few books on the subject, you’re not going to gain anything new but for the novice or uninitiated this book may be just what you need to get your company on the right track to flipping the funnel and gaining new customers.


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