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I completely agree with Frank Reed on this one. What’s the point in generating leads if you aren’t making a strong effort to convert them to sales?

The eMarketer report that Frank is commenting on shows that 16% of marketers in the U.S. considered lead generation the primary goal of content marketing in 2012, but in 2013 a whopping 44% of marketers considered getting more leads the primary goal. An additional 11% in 2013 consider “thought leadership” the primary goal, up from 7% last year.

This does appear to be a huge disconnect. Are content marketers so vain that they want to be seen as thought leaders more than increasing their revenues?

In 2012, more marketers thought customer and prospect engagement, awareness, and customer loyalty were more important than lead generation. The number of respondents who gave those as primary reasons for content marketing in 2013, however, went down (for each value). That caused the lead generation answer to soar on past to No. 1 by almost twice that of customer and prospect engagement and awareness.

The point that Frank makes about prospects only interested in information aren’t qualified leads is an apt one. There will always be people interested in something for nothing (usually journalists).

The real challenge for content marketers in 2013 is to devise a strategy that makes lead generation a means to a sales and revenue end. It should not be an end unto itself.

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