One of the buzz phrases for magazine publishers in 2009 going into 2010 has been lead generation, especially during these times of pinched advertising budgets. At many companies, the responsibility of launching lead-gen programs has fallen into the laps of audience developers—after all, lead-gen is all about audience marketing.

“I’ve been surprised and pleased to discover that all of the tools needed to generate a successful lead generation program are tools that circulators already have,” Nick Cavnar, VP, circulation of b-to-b publisher Hanley Wood, told AD.

Hanley Wood, which publishes construction and real estate titles, is in the process of creating a task force that will be in charge of finding ways to grow the company’s lead-gen business. Cavnar says the process has been challenging—mainly because, in the construction space, most companies aren’t selling directly to the end user, but rather a network of distributors—but also educational. He offered a few thoughts on where audience developers can look for ideas and inspiration:

Tap into your direct marking skills. While the focus on direct marketing has been taken over by fulfillment and database marketing during the last few years, audience developers should reactivate those basic skills, Cavnar said.

“Lead-gen is direct marketing,” he said. “To get people to respond, it’s not enough to just have some Webinars available. You have to do a lot more selling, not in terms of trying to get money, but in terms of trying to get people to respond. Back in the day, our job was to get people to respond once a year, but then we left them alone. Nowadays, we have to get them to sign up all year long, whether it’s for whitepapers or virtual events. Direct marketing skills are much more critical now.”

Don’t ignore what fulfillment companies can do for you. A lot of publishers these days are turning to their vendors to help with Webinar and whitepaper registration, so they already possess a lot of knowledge when it comes to lead-gen, according to Cavnar.

“For years, vendors have been in the business of collecting and automating leads, so they’re a great asset when building your program,” he said.

Take inspiration from traditional reader service programs. Thought of as a blast from the past, the traditional reader service program, which the majority of circulators have had to work with, is a good model for modern lead-gen programs. “Whether the lead is coming from a reader service card or a lead-gen program, it doesn’t matter,” Cavnar says. “The process of delivery is the same. It’s typical to hear people saying that it’s part of the old world, but when you take notice, the reports that our salespeople were using back then are the same for lead-gen programs now.”

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Attracting audience to your events, Webinars, awards programs and other initiatives is vital—it’s a major responsibility for you as a…