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Lies, Damn Lies, and Dashboards (Part 3): Driving Without a Map—Putting the Lead Machine to Work in New Markets

by Su Doyle  |  
April 3, 2007

Congratulations! The lead machine is up and running. Your marketing programs are bringing in new prospects and you're starting to have an impact on the revenue line. You have a bigger budget this quarter, and more target audiences to add to your list. The stakes just got higher.

With untested audiences, programs, and media, you're adding new variables to the mix. There's no guarantee the increased spend will have a proportional increase in leads. How can you avoid being a victim of your own success?

Case Study: Too Many Variables, Too Little Time

A software company that sold directly to IT managers believed it had a successful formula for consistently generating leads: email marketing and whitepaper offers. The formula stopped working when it made CIOs its new target audience. The company used new email lists and developed whitepapers and webcasts for the CIO audience.

In the first two weeks of the CIO program, response rates had dropped 80%, and lead flow had slowed to a trickle. By week three, the VP of Sales lobbied to stop the CIO marketing campaign altogether.

What went wrong?

Although the CIO campaign looked like a subtle variation of the successful IT manager programs, it was a drastic change. Almost every aspect was different: the audience, the offer, and the media. How could the company possibly expect the same outcome? Three weeks was not enough time to generate awareness with the new audience, let alone get them to raise their hands.

How did the marketing team reset expectations, and keep the leads flowing?

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Su Doyle is a go-to-market strategist who has served as CMO and GM for high-tech and media companies. She writes on marketing and product strategy at Email her at

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