Thoughts on What IS and ISN’T Lead Nurturing

While chatting with a client recently, she told me that she had just met with her third new boss this year to explain the company’s new lead nurturing process.

The problem was that her boss felt their current integrated marketing campaigns qualified as lead nurturing. We discussed the challenges of communicating what IS and ISN’T lead nurturing.

A lot of marketers say they are “nurturing” their prospects when in reality all they are doing is sending out nice brochures or marketing copy focused on product releases or company announcements.

Look up the definition of “nurture.” Here’s what a quick search of the web will tell you: foster, help develop, or help grow; the act of nourishing or nursing; tender care; education; training; that which nourishes; food; diet; sustenance; the environmental influences that contribute to the development of an individual.

Starting to get my point? Pretty, well-designed fluff is not going to “feed” your prospects. Creating a nice lay-out and clarifying your value statement isn’t going to contribute to the development of your client or your relationship with them.

Don’t just take my word for it. Recently ClickInsights asked six B2B Marketing experts – including myself – what the biggest mistakes in B2B content marketing were. All of our answers differed, but each of us agreed that content focusing more on the consumer and less on the company is far more effective.

Let me break it down even further by giving a few examples of What IS and What ISN’T Leading Nurturing:

Is NOT Lead Nurturing: Sending the same tired company case study over and over again to your list.
What IS Lead Nurturing: Sending a very targeted email that includes content based on the recipient’s role in the company. Sending content based on timing or interest or industry. Sending content based on a previous conversation. Answering a question or offering more information. Sending information that is relevant to their problem.

Is NOT Lead Nurturing: Calling leads that are in the early stages of the buying process every month just to “touch base.” Calling to basically ask if they are ready to buy yet.
What IS Lead Nurturing: Making calls based on touch point data that adds value to the interaction. Having a valid business reason and goal in mind for each call.

Is NOT Lead Nurturing: Offering brochures and white papers that in essence just pitch your product or service.
What IS Lead Nurturing: Sharing content that’s relevant and valuable even if they never buy from you. Giving them information that sticks with them. Giving them information that helps them grow as an individual or company.

Your audience is more savvy than ever. They are also more hungry than ever for some real sustenance. Take advantage of that. Content that IS lead nurturing, will render more qualified leads and more sales opportunities. Content that IS lead nurturing will create a sales pipeline that is more viable and predictable and, ultimately, more profitable.

Think about: when’s the last time you received a marketing email that you actually benefited from? Feel free to share it with me. I think most of us are “hungry” for some real lead nurturing.

Related article:
Lead Nurturing is Walking the Buying Path with Your Customers

One Response to Thoughts on What IS and ISN’T Lead Nurturing

  1. Mike Marn August 6, 2009 at 7:27 am #

    Drew – I think your analysis is pretty dead-on, overall. The “rush” to social media is helping to devalue social media a bit. There’s content, and there’s “valuable” content. It doesn’t have to be a cancer cure or even adhere to the “people read lists” theory. (“10 reasons…” or ” The five best things you can do to…”.
    But it has to introduce an interesting topic or add to the discourse. If a company or individual is doing it A) because someone told them they should, or B)just to build visibility that translates into biz as soon as possible, it just adds to the tonnage.
    Everyone should get smart ABOUT social media — which they can get from participating at, as you describe it,the consumer level, before deciding if going beyond that makes any sense.
    As to your ending questions: yes, we are all content creators at heart. Every barroom has plenty of “content creators” who could solve all the world’s problems if only someone would listen. But who wants to?
    Which is why, NO, everyone should NOT have a blog; only those who can provide “valuable content.” Writing that is, for one reason or another, worth reading. Ideally, speaking WITH an audience, not TO it. So many bloggers, corporate and individual, are simply like drivers that pull up to the corner with their radios way too loud. You have to listen to them until the light changes, but are relieved to get away.