Monday, 12 December 2011

Performance Lead Marketing: 2012 Top 6 Lead Generation Predictions

  1. Mobile Lead Generation - it's not big (yet) but it is clever. Many more performance media opportunities are popping up in a good way rather than those standard annoying in-game/in-app ads that people accidently click on.
  2. Content (non-incentive) Lead Generation - When premium isn't enough, non-incentivised will take over, it's a niche space but is the way ahead to achieve high conversion rates which attracts similarly high cost per lead rates. If you could get 90% conversion, how much would you pay?
  3. Google does Lead Generation - Not content with promoting their own comparison ads first in travel/mortgage search rankings and buying a UK comparison site, expect their appetite for lead generation revenue to increase.
  4. Client in-sourcing Lead Generation - brands are beginning to get serious, realising that buying the leads is only one part of the equation. A performance marketing strategy is required to fuse the right mix of systems, process, know-how and people to ensure long-term ROI which grows their customer base.
  5. Lead Nurturing - Wham bam, no thank-you mam! Leads must be cared for, treated with respect and gently encouraged to buy. Put that conversion sledgehammer down and instead test, learn and develop a lead nurturing strategy that suit both your audience and business model within cost per acquisition.
  6. CPM Advertising RIP - Its nearly 8 years ago that a certain Charles Morgan (former CEO of Acxiom) announced the death of CPM and that was when he had a UK CPM business doing £10m+!!! The argument for CPM is painfully weak unless you have super premium, context rich inventory and even then it will become a hard sell in the face of advertisers who put performance before brand in the harsh new financial reality of 2012. As the head of a large digital agency recently commented, 'the race over which agency can buy at the lowest CPM is nearly over, as advertisers look to pay on a performance basis.' Inside Facebook itself comments, 'Across the industry, advertisers are moving away from CPM models that do not ensure that consumers are truly seeing their ads. Cost-per-conversion, action or engagement are much more desirable because companies do not have to pay unless an ad is effective.' 

Friday, 9 December 2011

Top 5 Online Lead Generation Scams to be Avoided

It is unfortunate but in every industry there are some who choose unethical ways of doing business, the lead generation market is no better or no worse than others in that respect. I am always comforted by the amazing level of trust companies have in each other when declaring lead volumes, lead rejections. It is this bond amongst lead generation operators which has helped make online lead gen so successful in these boom years. However there are some really bad practices that should be avoided at all costs, namely:

  1. Host and Ghost - This is where affiliate campaigns designed for banner and email are mis-appropriated for host and post co-registration. The scam can be identified when landing pages show high numbers of leads/conversions but no impressions.
  2. Sub-brokering - Where an agency sub-contracts out volume to other lead generation partners without the knowledge of the client. This means many sources are cloned as coming from one source making it impossible to measure the campaigns effectiveness
  3. Batch uploading - where sudden influx's of leads appear instead of real-time. So older leads are being sold as fresh current ones. 
  4. Automated Opt-in - it may be sold as lead generation but takes the form of pre-ticked questions or a page of logo's where one tick means opting-in to 10+ brands.
  5. Downright Fraud - basically leads that are not fit for purpose, they have been manufactured by unscrupulous lead generation fraudsters rather than volunteered by consumers. Doing background checks, asking the right questions and taking references helps eradicate this
Admittedly, the incidence of these is really low and if we all work together to weed out any bad practices we do the industry a lot of good. I raise my glass to trusting each other to do the right thing.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Lead Generation Exclusive: Sole or Multi Agency?

It's the question facing most advertisers. Should I place my budget with a single marketing agency who broadly speaking cover all the bases or should I identify performance marketing specialists and get them to work together? Performance marketing covers everything from affiliate, email, display, social, search and mobile marketing.

I don't think there's an answer to cover all situations in reality. But one thing does stand out, you should NEVER pick multiple agency's to do the SAME job. I have experienced this at first hand and whilst an inconvenient truce can exist for a while it is only a matter of time before one agency blames the other and looks to the client to referee the ensuing bun fight. At the end of the day, clients are only interested in results and do not want to be dragged into inter-agency issues. However, agencies are not the most self-regulating of creatures and instead clear terms of engagement need to be set down from the beginning. This is exactly what procurement departments can be brilliant at doing - designing a framework where multiple agency can work together to achieve perfect marketing harmony. Each lead generation channel should be given to the agency most capable of getting results. After all, if one agency was so great at everything then clients would be more than happy to put all their eggs in one basket. But I doubt this approach will ever triumph despite the ambitions of large agencies such as OMD & Carat, networks such as Unanimis & Tradedoubler or uber-platforms such as Google, Facebook or Twitter.

In an increasingly fragmented and uncertain world, the way to bring certainty is to harness the power of specialist agencies to work together for the common goal of exceeding client expectations, bringing innovation and ensuring clients receive more than a pound for every pound spent.