Research published by Econsultancy earlier this week has shown that there is a continued trend towards online lead generation at the expense of offline techniques, but methods such as natural search, paid search and email are becoming more competitive. 

The Online Lead Generation Report (B2C) 2009, released this week in association with Clash-Media, has shown a continued movement towards digital channels as marketers favour an online approach because of better performance and better measurability. 

Two thirds of company respondents (65%) say their use of online lead generation (OLG) has increased in the last year, compared to only 11% who say it has decreased. The average proportion of lead generation budget which is spent online has increased to 61% from 53% in 2008.

The research, published for the third year running and based on a survey of more than 600 digital marketers, has found that natural search (SEO) and email marketing in-house lists are still the most widely used methods for generating consumer leads, and have held steady at 76% and 74% of companies respectively. 

However, there has been a significant 12% drop in the proportion of companies using paid search for OLG, from 71% last year to 59% this year.

Digital channels have become more competitive and this is reflected by fewer respondents saying that channels such as SEO, PPC and email marketing to in-house lists are 'very effective'. 

As more companies have become professional and committed to digital marketing, and as the recession has continued to bite, there is less scope for easy wins online even though there are still tremendous possibilities for great return on investment.  

It is paid search where a scaled-down approach to online lead generation is evident, because companies are focusing on areas such as search engine optimisation and email marketing where there is more perceived value. The average proportion of OLG budget going to paid search has dropped from 33% last year to 22% this year. 

For companies using online lead generation specialists such as Clash-Media, the focus must be on measuring their activities properly so that they can fully understand their returns, and use this approach effectively as a truly performance-based channel. 

There is more bad news for traditional media in the report. The proportion of companies using newspapers and magazines to generate leads has decreased from 65% in 2008 to 54%. Direct mail has slumped from 50% last year, to 38% of businesses using this channel. 

You can download a free sample of the full Online Lead Generation (B2C) Report 2009  here:

Linus Gregoriadis

Published 31 July, 2009 by Linus Gregoriadis

Linus Gregoriadis is Research Director at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn or Google+.

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Comments (3)


SEO Sheffield

This doesn't surprize me at all. I have a background in Journalism and am so glad that I had training in all medias, including online and web journalism. Print is declining steadily all the time and internet marketing seems to be the way forward. Even in the recession, we have had a steady increase in customers as people are wanting to put money into something they will get the most value out of. Print forms of marketing just don't seem to be worth the money.

almost 9 years ago


Alastair Digby

I work for a business development consultancy and we work with a number of digital marketing companies which have all identified that there is a growing trend for marketing budgets being diverted to online marketing activities. With this in mind the recession offers agencies the opportunity to increase their customer base as the preferred marketing channel as opposed to more traditional forms of marketing.

I can only see that this trend is set to continue as digital activity means that businesses can easily track their expenditure and return on investment whereas other channels are more difficult. The question is will this bubble burst at some point as competition becomes too much tough for smaller companies to compete? Will this then lead to a return to more traditional mediums? Probably not, but it will be interesting to see how digital strategies will need to adapt to increase competition and what new direction digital will take in the future.?

almost 9 years ago


Jonathan Silverman

Interesting report that I have just come across and from a respected source. However, I do feel that, there is an extent of self-perpetuation and stating the obvious especially since you asked 600 Digital marketers. Inherently, online is both growing and more cost-effective than many other routes to market. However, the level of use depends on

  1. The audience
  2. What they respond to
  3. What you are selling and they are buying
  4. How they buy
  5. Where the audience consumes information pertaining to what they're buying

Online is growing in importance and in terms of fragmentation and methods. It is an exciting space. However, marketers have to consider all routes to market and most importantly their decision-makers in terms of the factors above.

We undertake senior-level telemarketing work into large blue-chip companies. We recommend online tools and solutions and increasingly recommend social media strategies. However, our work is enhanced by this and other channels as part of an integrated strategy. No one solution works or fits all.

Online can only but grow and it is fundamentally important but recognise the limitations and opportunities.

over 8 years ago

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