Misunderstood Media - The Importance Of Integrated Lead Generation

This article was first published on Digital Marketing Magazine here. 

Lifting the shadow

When someone suggests you integrate lead generation into a media plan it can often provoke confusion and trepidation. Lead generation is typically portrayed as a ‘shady’ channel that coldly spams consumer’s inboxes, casting poor light on a brands public image. A lot of specialists have an understanding and are comfortable with various media channels but, when it comes to lead generation, they take this perception for granted and overlook its value and effectiveness within the sales funnel.

Lead generation, put simply, is generating consumer interest in a brand’s product. The idea is to engage the consumer and collect valuable data from them in order to remarket and ultimately convert them into a customer. Lead generation has the ability to open dialogue with a targeted audience in those hard to reach places that other channels can’t reach. In itself, it isn’t easily definable as one type of media as it draws on a multitude of formats that can be tailored to a brand’s needs to ensure they engage with prospects effectively.

What are the benefits?

You have this amazing new product, how are you going to attract interest in it? You can put together a plan with a mixture of media that will ultimately drive consumers to purchase. You spend huge amounts on branding and then optimise your direct response to maximise conversion. Lead generation is able to bridge the gap between the two, attracting consumers higher up the sales funnel. They should already be familiar with your brand, but may not be ready to purchase - lead generation is the friendly welcome that they’ve been waiting for.

It’s key that lead generation is integrated into a wider mix. There is no point in obtaining ‘hot leads’ if you don’t then have a plan in place to nurture and convert. By combining the data obtained though lead generation with a customer relationship management (CRM) nurture programme or sharing data to optimise conversion channels, you will be talking to an audience who have already shown an interest in your product and are more likely to convert and ultimately be a long-term customer due to the relationship you’ve cultivated.

One of the main selling points is that lead generation is most commonly run on a cost-per-lead (CPL) basis, which means you can easily measure the return on investment (ROI). Working with CPI to generate prospects means you can harness premium media formats such as display, mobile, email, video and social gaming and only pay for quality data; removing the risk whilst also obtaining key learnings.

When to use it?

Tapping into publisher’s opt-in databases and engaging audiences is easier than ever due to the variety of formats available. Many have spent years gathering quality data in a multitude of verticals and can segment through many layers in order to ensure they’re talking to the right people.

Some brands choose to run lead generation as part of their wider business strategy, whilst others prefer to use it at key strategic points. As you’re engaging with consumers earlier in the sales funnel, you have a golden opportunity to win their loyalty and new product launches are ideal for lead generation by integrating into the announce phase.

Data is hugely valuable and consumers are becoming more and more reluctant to give theirs up, so offering an incentive works well. For new products a voucher or discount displays generosity and can attract trust and loyalty from consumers.

What this means?

It would be foolish to say that any performance media can suit any brand, but the fact that lead generation is so malleable means that it works well for both B2B and B2C. It can work to different objectives, and has easily measurable KPIs. Publishers understand the importance of transparency now and are keen to boast the quality of their opt-in data. Targeting is getting more and more granular and publishers are able to segment audiences as effectively as any other channel. Lead generation shouldn’t be a dirty word, and it certainly shouldn’t be something to be afraid of.