Online lead generation can be a bit difficult to conceptualize when it is not considered under the right context. It is important to understand that leads can only be effectively generated online when the tactics employed, take into consideration the actual online behaviors of executives who hold power to make purchasing behaviors.
Along that vein, Forbes Insight recently released an excellent report, entitled The Rise of the Digital C-Suite: How Executives Locate and Filter Business Information that surveys and analyzes the digital activities of senior and C-level executives. Some of the findings were not necessarily surprisingly (executives under the age of 50 were more likely to use the Internet for business purposes on a daily basis), while others were (streaming business-related video and webcasts are becoming increasingly popular for members of the C-suite).
Diving into the report further, it becomes clear that while senior executives differ in their online behavior depending on their age, the majority of them all use the internet to, at the very least, supplement their information gathering, networking and business intelligence activities.
Other key findings include:
- 74% of executives find the Internet to be “very valuable” in terms of helping them to find information vs. 25% of executives who find print newspapers to be “very valuable” for the same purposes—Further evidence that the newspaper industry may be doomed.
- 63% of executives surveyed indicated that search engines were “very valuable” to helping them to locate business information—Supporting importance of search engine optimization (SEO) initiatives.
- 70% of searches are prompted by something that an executive read online vs. 38% that were prompted by an online advertisement—Editorial content (from online sources) remains more credible and engaging than ads, but these statistics also support the increased visibility and influence of blogs, wikis, and other forums for content dissemination.
- 41% of executives under the age of 50 click on the paid listings on search engine results vs. 6% of the executives over the age of 50—As younger executives move into the C-suite, pay per click advertising could become an even more integral component of marketing campaigns.
- 25% of executives view work-related content on business-related websites (including 33% of executives under the age of 50)—Webinars and other informative videos have grown in significance (perhaps in part due to their ability to convey complex information in a more memorable fashion).
But most significantly, Forbes’ report found that executives under the age of 40 “Generation Netscape”), the same executives that are more likely to fill the most important C-level, decision making roles within their organizations in the coming years, are frequently engaged in Web 2.0 related activities. The findings include:
- 35% of executives under 40 maintain a work-related blog
- 32% contribute to, or read, micro-feeds through sites like Twitter (more than half of those executives state that they use Twitter daily or several days a week)
- 40% subscribe to and read content through an RSS feed
So while the report makes it clear that executives of all ages have found that the Internet is an important vehicle to help them identify and filter important business-related information, it is abundantly clear that the next crop of C-level executives (“Generation Netscape”) already have a firm grasp of the relevance and work-related benefits of new media tools.
These executives, likely to exert scores of influence on the C-level decision making process in the years to come, are using the web to engage, collaborate, network, and consume valuable information. Sales and marketing teams need to act quickly to master these same tools so that can generate leads through the same venues that their future buyers are frequenting every business day.