In my case we were already in the market with a product and an inside sales team. The company had just raised the B round and I was the new marketing talent funded by that round. We were already late because it took longer to raise the round than expected. Basically it was May, we had about $300k year to date and a $2.5M nut for the year and the problem was clearly labeled 'not enough downloads'.
The initial spurt of energy had to be focused on generating incoming leads and quickly. Part of the problem was the compellingness of the product. The good news was there was new product near term - the bad news was a) it was 3 new products all overpriced for the functionality and b) the sales team hadn't figured out how to sell 1 product yet. The solution - create 1 product out of all 4 and price it to capture attention and share customers quickly.
With the new product in hand by July, we were began working to convert proven content syndication programs like Techtarget, Techrepublic and eMedia to product download programs. That, a few list trades and email blasts to a list of some 30,000 names and we were able to triple the download volume in July over June.
The lesson learned: While outbound programs generate quick returns in downloads, they require attention equivalent to the SEO/SEM work that you need to do to slowly build your inbound. Outbound is addictive and expensive. Sooner or later, you are going to have to ween yourself off of the outbound programs and it is a painful withdrawal.