Devil in your details

Having just met seemingly every ‘Lead Generation’ provider in the UK tech market (email me with specific questions), I have my finger on the pulse of B2B marketing.

Some offered ‘boothspace’ at ‘virtual conferences, others real-life events at swanky locations to schmooze CIOs. Almost all offered that staple of modern marketing tactics, the White Paper download programme. This, we were told, was the surest way to get interest in the company’s technology. With extensive ‘lead nurturing’ a sales team could hope to convert these ‘leads’ to a sale some six months’ later, we were promised.

There is very little magic here. The exchange of, mostly valid, email addresses has long been used to stuff a Salesforce, Netsuite or Microsoft-stored sales funnel. In fact, the providers are so confident they will even guarantee leads.

But given the plethora of phishing scams and the general level of ethics in a recession-hit tech marketing community, why do so many IT professionals willingly give their details away in exchange for a little self-interested technical education? Is it not a little ironic IT professionals trade privacy for knowledge? Is it even worth trading your ‘spare’ Inbox access for some technical knowledge?

Could it be the Social Media wave, which promises so much, has left us complacently staring at tsunami of future security issues and unwelcome marketing advances? Facebook is increasingly used as an entry points for the unscrupulous, as Britains’ top spy found out. But when we catch up with the folly of telling every burglar smart enough to surf that we are ‘away for the weekend’, will the ‘Lead Generation’ industry be able to offer guaranteed results? Perhaps those swanky dinners are best all round.

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