As an industry, we are flooded with new products and technologies that promise to improve response, reduce costs and close more sales.  For the most part, these are tactical improvements, but if you want to see real change in your lead generation results, consider these attitudinal improvements.

My Wish #1

I wish we would stop focusing on “the campaign” and start building more lead generation systems. 

This is more than semantics.  Campaigns are single, isolated events while systems are ongoing.

With a campaign, you plan it, create it and execute it.  And then it’s over … until the next campaign.  This leaves gaps in your leads and, ultimately, gaps in your sales.

With a lead generation system, you plan it, create it and set it in motion – so that it runs on a consistent basis every week or every month all year long.

My Wish #2

I wish we would spend more time improving our creative instead of continually replacing it. 

We all love new creative (especially those of us who create it).

But if your original creative was working, why change it?  Why not stick with it, but at the same time, modify elements of your package and test it against your control package.

The problem with all new creative is that even if it produces your highest response, there is no telling part of that package was the reason.

My Wish #3

I wish we would pay more than lip service to lead nurturing and lead conversion programs.

It used to be that marketing produced leads and then sales would take over from there.   And more often than not, sales would complain that the leads were poor quality and not worth their time and effort.

It doesn’t have to be that way.  Marketing can and should remain involved long after the initial lead comes in – taking on a larger role in qualifying and nurturing those leads until they are sales-ready.

This means more time, energy and money for the back end of the lead generation process.

My Wish #4

I wish we would apply direct response strategies to everything we do.

When we implement a direct mail program, everyone expects to see a measureable response.   But what about other marketing activities?

Some companies measure their advertising, but not enough.  SEO and social media programs are certainly intended to produce leads, but does anyone calculate the response against time spent?

The point is direct response strategies can and should be used in everything you do – from article writing and public speaking to trade shows, billboards, sandwich signs, flyers on windshields, even skywriting.

Okay, some of this is hard to track, but you should try.

My Wish #5

I wish we would look beyond the response rate and focus on more meaningful data.

Like everyone, I get a thrill when my lead generation program produces a high response rate.

But we all know that lead quantity is only part of the equation.  You also need to consider lead quality – which is so often compromised when you get high response rates.

Instead of your response rate, start to look at more meaningful data like your order rate.  Or at your qualified lead rate if you have a long sales cycle.

Better yet, look at your “cost per” response – cost for lead, cost per qualified lead and cost per sale.

A “cost per” analysis is the only way to compare marketing results across multiple marketing channels.


It’s all wishful thinking, yes, but it’s not impossible to accomplish.  Not if you’re willing to make a commitment.


Bob McCarthy is a marketing copywriter, consultant and coach specializing in direct marketing and lead generation.  He has two reports you can download:  Step by Step Lead Generation and Lead Nurturing and Making Snail Mail Work – 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy.

About Bob McCarthy

Bob McCarthy is a direct response consultant and copywriter with a focus on direct mail, email and digital marketing. Bob works with B2B, B2C and Non-Profit clients. You can download his free ebook, "Making Snail Mail Work: 13 Lessons in Direct Mail Strategy."