Highest-returning marketing tactics? What clients are saying in 2019

By Tim Lord   |   June 28, 2019

Today a business has huge choice in how to spend its marketing dollars.

As we end the first half of the year at DeLaune, we wanted to know which marketing tactics are generating the highest return in 2019.

Will you follow the digital trend and focus on social media?

Are traditional tactics such as webinars and email campaigns back in vogue?

Are trade shows more about swag than actual leads?

We surveyed clients, our business “friends and family,” and prospects to hear about real activity and results. The results aren’t scientific, but they’re valuable nonetheless—and there were a few surprises that we wanted to share.


Conclusion 1: Even in the digital age, in-person events are key to many companies’ success

One surprise:

Meeting with customers in person, or at least in real time, to share information and to qualify prospects, is back in style. Several respondents, including several marketing managers and the VP for a prominent cyber security provider, named participation in live events as their most effective marketing tactic.  These events included technical presentations for prospects and clients, industry conferences, trade shows, and even traditional webinars.

Even when you can’t connect in person, webinars provide the high touch and dynamism that are lacking when customers browse a website, receive an email or glance at an infographic. The key, as one respondent put it, is that “If you can drive attendance, webinars are a great tool and when recorded they become a good asset to drive to over the long term.”  It goes without saying that webinars also need compelling content, and audience involvement for greater engagement.  

Conclusion 2:  Get the most out of long-form assets— leverage snackable content

For lead generation and digital marketing, “snackable” content should be delivered in user-friendly amounts and contexts, from blogs to social media posts to infographics.  They need to be visually appealing and promoted with creative social media tiles and posts that will stand out from the competition.

In addition, concise tech demos, along with real-world case studies, can inspire prospects and customers alike to want to learn more, and follow-ups can include webinar replays and traditional technical or thought-leadership white papers.

But white papers too early in a prospect’s experience, one respondent noted, can backfire: “There may be a place for in-depth white papers deeper into the client journey, but I think it is well down the path. Your reader really has to have had several good snackable experiences with you to be willing to commit to the longer paper.”

Conclusion 3:  Social media marketing alone won’t achieve marketing goals

Two more surprising findings: While every firm surveyed uses social media in some form, not a single respondent named social media as a primary driver of their marketing efforts. Instead, our respondents regard social media campaigns as a useful and economical but low-level way to seed awareness.  Secondarily, email still serves more as part of a “nurture stream” to follow up to for existing customers, or already-interested prospects. Email campaigns for prospects are still being leveraged but conversion rates can be low.

Social Media as part of an overall campaign does bring value—by drawing in new audiences, opening new channels for other assets, and promoting in-person events and even the occasional webinar replay. But it must include not only interesting and engaging content, but creative visuals.

Upshot?  Engage!

Every year there’s something new. A few years ago, companies were cutting back on event budgets in favor of digital and social campaigns that boosted their opportunities in other ways. But as our survey shows, companies are seeing that despite all the wonders and convenience of social media, nothing beats the dynamism of meeting in person. The ideal? Sharing the right content in front of the right people, at the right place and at the right time.

Are you seeing the same results as our respondents? Or are you finding new tactics that have a higher return on your investment of time and money? Are there topics you’d like to see in future surveys? (e.g. which assets gain the highest click-through rates?)  Please let us know, and we’ll continue to share the answers.

At DeLaune we know that, whatever your focus, you need valuable content that engages your market. We help our clients create award-winning messaging to explain technology solutions to business and technical audiences, with a focus on real-world benefits.

Tim Lord

About the Author

Tim Lord is DeLaune's managing copy director. He favors open source everywhere, and serial commas.

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