Waste is an unavoidable part of life. We try not to waste, but we waste. Before we talk about waste in lead generation, let’s look at one way we avoid waste in our private lives.
When we buy eggs, we open the carton and check the eggs before we buy them. Unpacking at the fridge is the wrong moment to find a cracked egg stuck to the carton. If we send someone to the supermarket to buy eggs for us, we expect them to check the eggs too. We are unimpressed if our fetcher returns with cracked or broken eggs.
Let’s shelve the eggs for now and turn to performance marketing. We strive to reduce waste and increase effectiveness and we challenge the digital ecosystem to deliver.
Media spend has shifted quickly into online performance marketing. American entrepreneur William Tobin launched the first revenue share program in 1989. When Amazon launched its associate program in 1996, UK advertisers were generating £2bn in revenues from commission-only programs. By 2013, they generated £14bn. Twelve thousand websites shared more than £1bn in commission.
Advertisers find cost per customer programs attractive. They de-risk media spend and are simple to administer, rewarding affiliates in a ‘last click wins’ showdown. The rules are clear. Affiliates earn if they engage an ‘intender’ moments before the intention becomes the action. The rest of the affiliate’s promotional work goes unrewarded.
Cost per lead programs have taken more slowly. They are harder to build. They require investment in nurturing to deliver conversions, and not all leads convert. Still, lead generation is becoming more attractive and for good reason.
Lead generation reaches intenders earlier in the purchase cycle. It delivers self-identified prospects who consent to advertiser communications by email, SMS, post and phone. It gives advertisers more channels, more weapons with which to win customers.
In sectors where a few established players battle for market share, adoption of lead generation has been faster. These include energy, telecoms, automotive and technology. When fewer marketers compete directly for market share, they more quickly deploy the necessary components. They invest heavily in lead generation, and are set to invest more. They are our bellwether.
Investment bankers see the appeal. They describe lead generation as digital media’s killer app. They have funded the cogs and components. Designers of today’s campaigns deploy specialist marketing technology solutions. By 2020, £1bn in commission might be paid to lead suppliers.
Specialist technology makes lead generation more attractive. It makes lead conversion efforts more efficient. Software now exists to manage the process from lead creation to lead conversion.
Live data feeds ranging from data capture platforms to email and SMS platforms, call centres, print logistics and dispatch warehouses mean enquiries receive a more rapid service.
Once the sale is complete, billing and database systems can update lead generation systems. It is easy to report on lead value by each source, type, channel, platform, date, time and more.
Previously, a lack of standards, transparency and control made lead generation too complex for advertisers. Those familiar with the marketing technology Lumascape know that the ecosystem is vast, expanding and evolving. It is relatively difficult to navigate. There is no sector for lead generation so a trusted guide is a powerful ally.
To exploit lead generation, marketers need to license and implement several components. We need our own ‘solution stack’. We need to control capture, cleansing, messaging, scoring, storing, modelling, nurturing and service levels. Increasingly powerful privacy regulations mean that solution stacks must comply with data security needs.
LolaGrove is a technology that meets these needs. Lola connects the dots and closes the loop. She is
a vital part of the stack. Armed with Lola, marketers can enhance and optimise their media activities. Lola brings transparency and control to the lead generation process. She works across all digital channels, with all media platforms, improving all communication channels.
LolaGrove cleans, validates and verifies leads. When she can correct or complete leads, she does. She appends and enriches leads. She can consolidate and restructure varied data sets quickly and efficiently. She can score and prioritise leads.
She welcomes multiple inputs from thousands of capture points. She sequences dispatch to all required service points. She champions repeat frequency over deduplication. She renders some systems the way of dinosaurs.
Lola generates contracts and provides accurate lead specifications. She enables bookings, volumes, valuations, billings and service decisions. Lola’s library of utilities makes deployment quick and simple.
Lola helps advertisers shift from trading on estimated lead value to actual lead value. She helps shift from universal to differential and dynamic pricing techniques.
In so doing, LolaGrove reduces media waste and the associated processing costs throughout the lead lifecycle and beyond. She sounds too good to be true, but has been true for years.
The technology required for lead generation is in place. Major components that were already available needed a little glue. Capture systems, verification services, messaging systems, databases, pay per click and display bidding systems, and affiliate network management solutions simply need to plug together.
This is all very well, but what has this got to do with checking eggs at the supermarket? Well, put simply, LolaGrove is the egg checker that everyone buying and selling leads needs. Lola checks eggs, better than any other egg checker in town.
If Lola were an egg checker, she would ask us what we wanted to buy. She would open the carton. She would pick and measure each egg individually. She would never waste eggs. She would repair ones with cracks and chips if they were reparable. They may be golden inside.
Some supermarkets put people off buying eggs. They have spent years selling broken eggs. They stopped customers checking the eggs. They taped the cartons closed with their contracts. They said we may only return one in 12 eggs, even if three are broken.
They got away with it because we did not check our eggs. They will not carry on behaving this badly. Not when we all start checking our eggs. When they change their ways, we will all buy eggs with more confidence. Actually, Lola helps supermarkets sell every edible egg on their shelf.
We think we should check our leads before we purchase them. After all, they are more expensive than eggs.