For decades, generating qualified leads was the holy grail of enrollment communications professionals. Today, Marketo reports, Google searches for newer terms such as “marketing automation,” “lead scoring,” and “demand generation”—terms that didn’t even exist 10 years ago—are dramatically eclipsing those for “lead generation.” Does this mean that lead generation is on its last legs?

I’m happy to tell you that reports of the death of lead generation “have been greatly exaggerated” (to paraphrase Mark Twain). What’s changed is that the generation of leads is now considered to be the beginning of a holistic process called “demand generation,” rather than as a standalone marketing process or goal.

According to Act-On’s chief of demand generation, “What used to be called lead generation is now called…demand generation because it’s not just about volume, and putting stuff in the top. It’s about seeing that lead all the way through the funnel. Marketing has to be able to prove ROI. And it’s not just about proving the value that marketing is contributing to the business…it’s about understanding what’s working and what’s not working, so you can continually optimize and tweak your programs.”

For us, it’s about using strategic content to get the awareness of prospective students (or donors, or alums), attract them, engage them, and build a relationship that creates brand preference. That brand preference will then be the determining factor in school choice, the decision to give, or the decision to participate.

To find out more about demand generation strategies, dealing with fractured media landscapes, or other modern approaches to higher ed marketing, call me at 319-360-4869 or randy.burge@stamats.com.

 

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