At HubSpot , we’re always debating which marketing tactics get us the best leads – the leads that eventually convert to sales. Looking at this data from the 2010 Lead Generation Marketing ROI Study by the Lenskold Group , I notice many familiar tactics – webinars, free trials, whitepaper and e-books, e-newsletters, discounts etc. All of them take different levels of time and effort. You don’t create a webinar in just one hour (if you want it to have good content). A decent presentation takes weeks to promote and develop. White papers take research and thought to produce something of lasting value.

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Source: The Lenskold Group

What this chart tells me is that if you choose the right topic and market to the right audience, your webinars will be effective. If you can get your prospects to try your product and spend the time educating them about its benefits, you have a good chance of converting that sale. But all of this takes time and effort, which brings me to what I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – what is the return on effort (ROE) of these marketing tactics?

For example, it takes a lot more time to create a webinar than to offer limited time discounts. But according to the chart, webinars are almost twice as effective as discounts. My guess is that it takes at least more than twice as long to create a webinar as it does to offer a discount. So is the ROE on discounts better or worse than a webinar?

We wanted like to find out what marketers thought about their best returns on their efforts. That’s why we commissioned Econsultancy, a publisher of best practice online marketing guides, to conduct the Return-on-Effort Marketing Survey , which was completed at the end of July by over 500 respondents.  And, we'll be sharing the results of that survey during a webinar on Thursday, August 19 at 2pm EDT.

Do you think about your return-on-effort when deciding upon marketing tactics?

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Originally published Aug 13, 2010 9:00:00 AM, updated July 11 2013