History of Lead GenerationAs Carl Sagan said, “You have to know the past to understand the present.” If there is something about the fast-growing lead generation industry, that is the fact that the clients are never static and content with their needs and wants.
Despite the abundance of real-time data, modern users are still needed relevant information. So, fasten your seatbelts. Let’s take a short ride through the history of lead generation.
The first “leads” were generated in the Renaissance when Marco Polo was born. He was one of the most prominent early European merchants and explorers to walk the trails of the Silk Road. There was no Twitter, no Facebook, not even newspapers since the Gutenberg printing press was invented during the 1440’s. This gave rise to a particular figure, who took it upon themselves to find out what merchants would be in town on any given day.
After that, as a lot of time passed, other ‘leads’ were obtained through word-of-mouth marketing (Think Roman Empire). As the medium of marketing grew, it led to an explosion in the ‘lead generation’ industry.
The best example here is a mom-and-pop credit-reporting company based out of a small town in present New Jersey, USA. Now it’s known as Dun & Bradstreet. It made the proper enumeration of data using a compilation of various sources, a lot of which was a substantial manual operation.
However, it was not enough. The contextual relevance of the information they gathered and collated. The context available from D&B data was outdated.
Today, modern marketing specialists use a variety of new tactics and approaches to generate leads, and they are also responsible for qualifying and often developing those leads. The main focus for marketers is on being in the right place, at the right time, and with the right calls to action. As a rule, many of them recognize this lead generation evolution, but many are still faced with the issues of how to make that shift and execute effectively.
The biggest challenge in how leads are found in the balance of power. Consumers are Internet savvy, and they don’t trust marketing messages as it was before. In most cases, they rely on feedback from others as well as information they find online to find out more about products or services.
Of course, print media is still a great way to generate leads from lots of sources, uniquely different magazines. Print ads, billboards, and mail flyers attract the attention of potential customers and introduce new clients to your company.
Also, right in line with the growth of the internet, email became the new newsletter, taking the place of the physical mailings. Using it, marketers have discovered more targeted lead generation and implemented “hover” (pop-up) ads on leadpages.
What Does Lead Generation Look Like Today?Now you can ask yourselves, where does that lead generation today? Well, if these resourceful people have taught us anything, it’s to innovate with the times. They used resources like:
- direct mail catalogs
- call centers
- print ads
Today, they have gone digital.
With such an impressive and long history, it can seem incredible that it flies under our radar.
It shows what an impact it has on our daily life. Lead generation has helped shape the market, letting companies know who their target audience is, so they can better cater to them. It’s had an enormous influence on the world today, and it will continue to do so for centuries to come.