Thursday, 9 August 2012

Why Lead Generation is NOT a marketing channel

Performance Lead Marketing
In recent years, Lead Generation has deservedly blossomed into one of the fastest growing areas of marketing today (42% of sales coming from online leads according to Econsultancy). It's even spawned a new more popular big brother of late - Performance Marketing. Performance covers a much larger area of marketing, encompassing non-lead activity such as pure customer acquisition (Cost Per Acquisition/Cost Per Sale) campaigns or revenue share based activity.

Many good folks (including myself) within the industry have fought hard to get lead generation recognised and established as a standalone marketing channel in the UK. To their credit in 2011, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) finally apportioned 1% of all online advertising spend to online lead generation up from zero previously - meaning £51m ad spend was defined as online lead gen last year. Whilst 9 out of 10 cats would say this is a tenth of the reality, it's a good start.

In 2012, with Lead Generation and Performance firmly on the marketing map and on every marketers to do list, now is the time to shift the focus away from talking about lead generation as a channel. Lead Generation touches all areas of direct marketing including email, banner (display), search engine marketing, mobile advertising, SMS, social media (virtual currency), tele-marketing, print advertising, co-registration (or host and post if you are in the US). These are the established marketing channels that are used for lead generation marketing. Lead Generation itself is not a marketing channel, it is a marketing purpose. To my mind, there are only three possible purposes for marketing and advertising in general:
  1. To generate leads/prospects
  2. To acquire customers (i.e. minus the lead process)
  3. To generate awareness/branding (hopefully, creating leads/customers later on)
Now, is the time to move the debate on to crediting lead generation more as a marketing objective rather than a channel in its own right. This will help senior marketers create much more lead focused marketing strategies which can then be distilled into tactics by the marketing teams or performance agency to pick the most appropriate channels (mentioned earlier) to meet those high level objectives.

By 2013, more and more CMO's and Marketing Directors will be discussing Lead Generation and Performance Marketing strategy at board level (if not already).


1 comment:

San Mah said...

Pharma leads - Through our innovative performance-based marketing programs supported by our proprietary and powerful CRM software, we are able to provide your company with unique opportunities to increase your customer base.