Lead Gen 2.0: The New Opportunity and More if You Follow-Through

Michael Rosenberg has provided us with a good foundation to use for evaluating and selecting lead generation partners in his Lead Gen 2.0: The New Opportunity from MediaPost’s Performance Insider.  Michael illustrates some fundamental requirements that we should be demanding from a solid lead generation partner including:

(1)    24/7 real-time reporting

(2)    Access to multiple verticals

(3)    Access to and ability to leverage “your” customer once you acquire them

(4)    Low transaction costs

But when you work with a lead generation partner it is important to think about how you will leverage the assets you are generating through that relationship so that you can maximize your investment.  Lead-generation processes expose your offers to a huge base of prospects, and deliver qualified leads to your offering on a direct response basis.  You pay for performance and when someone actually becomes a lead, they are delivered to your doorstep. 

The lead information may be delivered to you, or they may be passed over to you for you to collect the information.  I always prefer to host the pages that are collecting the information.  Big difference as to whether you are collecting the information or if it is being collected for you.  The sooner you have access to the lead, the sooner you are controlling the conversion process.

Matt Wise discussed the concept of “data skimming” in his MediaPost article in 5 Questions to Ask Your Online Lead Generation Provider where he said “Most marketers should retain 100% ownership of the consumer data. Providers who practice data skimming — reselling your lead’s personally identifiable information — pose a serious risk of compromising your trusted relationship with the consumer.” 

I have a client who spends roughly $300,000 a month on lead generation alone and they actively are aware of the fact that they are getting skimmed data.  They are in such a niche industry that they have little control over the publishers that they work and therefore accept the practice.  But they are accepting poor quality leads too.  The leads are collected on their behalf and they receive the information after the fact.  Some publishers pass the individual to the advertiser so that they may collect the lead information directly and obviously those sources result in much higher conversation rates.

When you have access to the user sooner, you can immediately start to develop that relationship and rapport.  You can also start to do something else … tracking and measurement. 

As Michael indicated in his article, you want to make sure that you select a vendor who gives you access to 24/7 detailed reporting.  Jere Doyle, President & CEO of Prospectiv contributed an article to MediaPost on this topic entitled, Qualifying Your Online Lead Generation Partner wherein he said that you should insist that your vendor is “…measuring key data such as response rate, cost per lead, conversion rate, revenue by source….” 

But once you have access to your lead, you can start to lay down your own reporting processes too.  Let’s start with the cookie.  When you first receive the individual, you can leverage a cookie to track the user’s behavior.  First, you can use a site-side analytics tracking beacon – like an Omniture, WebSideStory or WebTrends to track the user from source through the lead reception process through to (hopefully) a sale. 

From the sale point forward you will be able to track that individual based on their source once they join your eCRM system as well leveraging your own additional first party cookie.

But what if that person bails out before the sale?  Do you let them off that easily?  Hell no!  You can use event-based behavioral targeting to cookie the user as they go through the lead generation process to source the user just in case they bail in addition to the site-side analytics tracking described above.  This way if they bail, you have them tagged for future targeting using banner advertising.  If you work with TACODA or Advertising.com you can use their pixels to deploy behavioral targeting later on and try to recapture the lead again with messages that speak to the fact that they were previously a lead.

Third option is that you use a first party cookie during the lead reception process.  Integrate the event-based targeting process using the first party cookie so that the advertiser is tracking the lead reception process with their own cookie.  If the lead converts – you have the first party cookie in place for site-side analytics and eCRM.  If the lead bails, you have the behavioral targeting in place but it will be site and network agnostic meaning that you will have deployed it across the internet instead of just across a network.

Furthermore, you will also have deployed re-targeting even if the person is not a customer.  While going through the first party cookie writing process, you can write details to the cookie about where they are in the lead generation process so that if they bail you can target them based on where they bailed – like traditional behavioral targeting.  But if they return to your site directly you can also content-target them based on the same information that you’ve written into the cookie since it is your first party cookie.  Your content management system will be able to read the cookie and know this is a former lead and can receive them accordingly.

Lastly, if you used first party cookies, and they convert, you can re-target them as customers out on the web as I have discussed in the past using DirectServe™.  As a customer you will be able to recognize them, distinguish them from someone you don’t know and message to them accordingly.  You will be able to do this if they are a lead or a customer as I have just described. 

So again, why first party cookies instead of third party behavioral cookies:

(1)    If the lead converts you can use re-targeting

(2)    If the lead converts you can use site-side analytics and eCRM with the cookie fully integrated

(3)    If the lead bails you can behaviorally target anywhere on the web, not just on one network

(4)    If the lead bails, you can recognize them if they return to your site independently and message to them accordingly

(5)    If you happen to reach them through an email marketing campaign that delivers creative, and they open it, you will be able to recognize them and message to them accordingly

(6)    Third party cookies get deleted over 40% of the time – Jupiter Research

(7)    First party cookies persist over 95% of the time so you will have a greater chance of keeping your data current

Lead Generation 2.0 brings forth a lot of possibilities and we have to be aggressive in what we get for what we pay for.  But is equally important that we also leverage technology to maximize what we do with what we get after we pay for it.  If that last sentence makes sense to you, you’re already half way there!

Reactionary with Insight 

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