The generational boom in social media use may well have made the handshake and mouth-to-ear interaction yesterday’s news, but there is still something to be said for converting sales the old-fashioned way.

According to the results of a recent survey, personal visits and telephone contact remain the favored means of converting sales leads. As reported in a May 20 post at, the “2014 Marketing Measurement Survey Report,” conducted by marketing technology firm Ifbyphone, showed that the aforementioned offline methods topped the list of nine marketing channels cited as the most effective means of sales conversions.

Some 35 percent of respondents cited personal visits as the most effective lead conversions, and 20 percent of marketers put inbound calls at the top of the list. The two old school offline channels far surpassed the highest rated online methods, pay-per-click and website visits, both of which were favored by 11 percent of marketers.

Given the popularity of inbound calls and in-person meetings, it was no surprise that the two methods were also rated at the top for generating high-value revenue.

Oddly, while the share of respondents who cited in-person visits as most effective for lead conversions declined slightly from 2013, the method’s overall ratings as a means of bringing in high-value revenue actually increased. Personal meetings scored a 7 on a scale of 9 for effectiveness, up from 6.5 in 2013.

Other results from the survey of 551 marketing professionals included:

  • Email inquiries scored higher than PPC or website visits for converting high-value revenue (6.3 to 5.4).
  • Webinar attendance and instant messaging dropped to the bottom of the list of channels for both lead conversions and for potential to bring in high-value revenue.
  • Online methods are still the top rated channels for mining high-value leads, with email marketing, SEO / PPC and social media ranked first through third, respectively. Each method gained in share of respondents favoring them from last year.
  • Offline media (print, television and radio ads) ranked in the bottom third again for high-value lead generating. But this can be interpreted as a the result of the respondents’ revenue levels. The majority of those taking part in the survey — 57 percent — reported that their organization had less than $5 million in annual revenue, and this had smaller budgets for offline media, a more expensive form of marketing.


Marketing Charts. “Which Channels do Marketers Rate Best for Generating and Converting Leads;” May 20, 2014.