CSO Insights has just released the results of its 2010 Lead Generation Optimization study. Among other things, this study discusses major marketing objectives for 2010, how marketing budgets are changing, and what lead generation tactics are working.

The LGO study provides additional evidence that marketers are shifting to digital media and digital marketing techniques, and it paints a fairly bleak picture for direct mail. For example, CSO Insights asked survey participants to identify the three most effective kinds of lead generation activities/programs based on both the quantity and quality of leads produced. The top three lead generation programs identified were e-mail marketing (61.5%), live events/tradeshows (45.0%), and Website registrations (32.6%). Direct mail saw the biggest drop in ratings. In 2010, only 17.3% of survey participants placed direct mail in the top three, compared to 25.9% of participants who named direct mail in the CSO Insights 2009 survey.

The growing popularity of digital marketing is also reflected in marketers' investment plans for the coming twelve months. Sixty-five percent of survey participants said they plan to increase investments in Website design and content, and 54% said they will invest more in e-mail marketing. Fifty-two percent of survey participants indicated they will spend more on new media (blogs, podcasts, etc.), and 51% plan to spend more on web search optimization.

What about direct mail? Only 18% of the survey participants said they will invest more in direct mail over the next twelve months, 43% said they will invest at current levels, and 39% said they will reduce investments in direct mail.   I should point out that not all recent research concerning direct mail has been completely negative.  For example, Winterberry Group is predicting a slight (1%) increase in spending on direct mail in 2010.

The CSO Insights study also looked at marketing objectives and the state of marketing budgets.  The most important marketing objective in 2010 is customer acquisition.  When asked to identify their three most important objectives for 2010, 91.2% of survey respondents said increased customer acquisition.  The second most frequently named objective (increasing brand awareness) was cited by only 54.0% of respondents.

As far as marketing budgets are concerned, 72.6% of survey respondents said that marketing budgets in 2010 are higher, compared to 2009.  Almost 39% of respondents said that 2010 marketing budgets will be up by at least 11% compared to 2009.

The CSO Insights 2010 Lead Generation Optimization study can be purchased here.