Archive for the ‘lead generation’ Category

Rethinking Google’s ad spend in budget

February 20, 2008

An article today on imedia connection discussed how marketers often look at Google as the ultimate converter and spend a third of their online budget with Google. The article, written by and definitely biased to support Atlas argues their tracking technology is going to change the model of online tracking and advertising. That is great and all, but the technology and ideas have been around for awhile and it just takes time to reach critical mass and that still might not be enough to change the model.

I agree that Google probably gets a relatively large conversion rate due to other advertising mediums, whether it be print, TV, display, email, word of mouth or whatever but the fact is, search is usually the last touch point before a conversion. I thought about a baseball game and thought it was a decent metaphor for the scenario. Starting pitchers cost a lot of money and can usually get through roughly 2/3 of a game, then there are several changes in the 6th-8th innings depending on score, batter, etc. Then finally the closer comes out of the bullpen and attempts to close the deal. Google/Yahoo is the closer in this scenario. Companies need to use other mediums to raise awareness and “put them in the lead” for Google to be the last touch point and close.

I still believe a multi-channel advertising campaign is best suited and technology like Atlas provides a lot of value, but Google will always be seen as the closer. I think it is important to be able to track touch points, view through conversions, and frequency before someone converts as that data leads to better multi-channel campaigns. Companies also like to piggyback competitors ad spend and advertise exclusively on search thus reducing the marketing budget and becoming more profitable than their competitors who are using offline media to drive people to the web to use who else, Google, to find out their competitor offers a better product. Some affiliate portals are making a killing off companies who use offline media to drive interest and thus people go online to search for more info. Affiliates in the education space gobble up those leads and sell them back to the company that spent so much money on TV ads.

The article was a good read about tracking and the importance, but I disagree that the model is going to change in any time soon.

Datran reports email is the best performing online media

January 24, 2008

No kidding. Email marketing to a list of people that have submitted their information should be the most effective advertising media hands down. The interesting number would be to see what media was the most efficient at generating those leads. Once they submit their information, they have already taken a step down the conversion funnel, therefore one step closer to a conversion.

A similar report from the DMA said that 67% of respondents said that email helped increase conversions through other channels. Once again, no kidding. Email has become the re-marketing tool of choice. Sending door busters and mail to every lead just is not cost efficient anymore. I am a little surprised that these are the numbers that are making headlines from these reports, its kind of common sense if you think about it.

LendingTree affiliate lead generation model

January 21, 2008

I had an interesting conversation this weekend with someone about affiliate lead generation. I was trying to explain the ins and outs of the model and they struggled to get a full comprehension. He said he would never imagine buying leads from vendors where he didn’t know exactly where they came from, adn how they were acquired. I understood his concerns, and then the mortgage industry meltdown came up. He mentioned he hadn’t seen many LendingTree ads lately, and I thought it was weird that he brought up a superior in the affiliate lead generation model.

I asked him if he understood how the LendingTree model worked, and he said yes. He submitted his information to them and their in-house team ran comparisons against similar scenarios and created options for him offered through local banks. When I tried to explain that he was partially right, he was a little set back. I explained to him that LendingTree was really just a mass aggregator through affiliates to become a super affiliate to the mortgage industry. There slogan is “when the banks compete, you win” but really THEY WIN.

They get your information through affiliates or direct marketing efforts themselves and then resell it to several banks that buy the info as a lead to send a quote to. LendingTree has done an excellent job of selling their value proposition of providing a central information source for consumers, while making money on selling the “perceived value” to financial institutions. He was amazed at how well LendingTree had positioned themselves as a “friend” of the consumer, when they were actually making millions off “their friends”.

I don’t know if he changed his mind on affiliate lead generation, but he definitely opened a new window of how companies can benefit from such marketing tactics.