Where Do Marketers Get Customers? [Data]

Sara Davidson
Sara Davidson



customer-generation-dataTime and time again, we get asked for benchmark data, particularly about customer generation. Well, you may remember we recently launched our 2013 State of Inbound Marketing Research Report, and we used the mounds of research there to try to, you know, "give the people what they want."

And the people want benchmark data.

I broke down survey responses about customer generation through the lense of simple demographic information -- B2B versus B2C, industry, company size, and company location. If you don't see your business type or industry represented below, though, let us know -- we did our best to grab as much data as we could, but we know we can always do more! I hope this helps you get a little bit of an understanding of where others in your space are with customer generation via different inbound marketing channels.

Part 1: Where do we get our customers?


Notable Findings: Taking a closer look at how primary sales channel affects where we get our customers, it looks like B2C companies dominate customer acquisition -- 70% said they acquired a customer from a Facebook lead, for example. However, B2C companies do struggle to find customers through LinkedIn with only 22% responding that they did acquire a customer there. (I don't think that finding is too shocking, though it's encouraging that 22% of B2C companies do acquire customer there!) Conversely, B2B companies find a lot more customers through LinkedIn than B2C companies (53% vs. 22%). It is interesting to note that most business types had the same ability to acquire customers through a blog, around 40%-50%.


Notable Findings: With respect to industry, the Retail/Wholesale/Consumer Goods industry ranks the highest for acquiring a customer through Facebook with a ‘Yes’ response rate of 73%, while the Banking/Insurance/Financial Services industry struggles the most (only 33% of respondents said they acquired a customer through Facebook). As expected, marketing agencies do a phenomenal job of using LinkedIn for customer acquisition (58% ‘yes’ response rate) whereas the Retail/Wholesale/Consumer Goods industry only had a ‘Yes’ response rate of 19% for acquiring a customer through LinkedIn. The Technology (hardware) industry dominates customer acquisition through the company blog and Twitter -- 55% said ‘Yes’ to acquiring a customer through their company blog, and 50% said ‘Yes’ to Twitter.


Notable Findings: Smaller companies have greater success than medium-size companies (who have greater success than larger companies) in terms of number of customers acquired through Facebook. Following the same pattern seen in Facebook customer acquisition, small companies have the highest rates of customer acquisition via the company blog versus medium- and large-size companies. Medium-size companies do the best on LinkedIn for customer acquisition, with 47% of respondents saying they had acquired a customer through this channel. Large companies have an extremely high rate of Twitter conversion with 60% of respondents.


Notable Findings: When comparing customer acquisition rates between the U.S. and the rest of the world, it appears that LinkedIn and Twitter are better channels for customer acquisition in the U.S. than abroad, whereas Facebook and Google+ are stronger conversion sources abroad than in the U.S.

Part 2: What is the average cost per customer?


Notable Findings:

  • B2B has a higher cost per customer than B2C and B2B2C.
  • The Banking/Insurance/Financial Services industry has the highest cost per customer ($303).
  • The Retail/Wholesale/Consumer Goods industry has the lowest cost per customer ($22).
  • Small and medium-size companies have similar costs per customer, but large companies have significantly higher costs ($425 versus $128/$150).
  • LATAM has the lowest cost per customer ($49) whereas EMEA has the highest ($252) with the U.S. not lagging far behind ($184).

Part 3: What is the average percentage of leads your company converts to sales?


Notable Findings:

  • B2B2C has a higher sales conversion rate than B2B or B2C.
  • The Mining/Construction/Energy industry has the highest conversion rate (39%), followed by the Healthcare/Pharmaceutical industry (30%), and the Retail/Wholesale/Consumer Goods industry (29%).
  • Small companies (27%) have higher sales conversion rates than medium- (24%) and large- (25%) size companies.
  • The U.S. and LATAM have the highest sales conversion rates by region (26%), followed by APAC (25%) and EMEA (24%).

I hope this gives you a good start at understanding how other inbound marketers like you compare in terms of customer acquisition. And of course, leave ideas for what else you'd like to see more information about in the comments.

Is any of the data here surprising to you? What other benchmarking data would you like to see?

Image credit: Tsahi Levent-Levi

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