Economic turmoil, the threat of a recession and the knock-on effect of slashing of advertising budgets has paradoxically always been good news for the lead generation industry. Performance marketing truly shows its worth when it's able to show a clear return on investment and lead generators, more than any other marketing discipline, are held directly accountable for sales.
But all is not well in lead generation industry with many firms reporting contracting budgets, lead buyer insolvency and declining margins. What’s going on?
The ASA is becoming increasingly muscular in calling out the lead gen ‘bad boys’ and the reputational threat of working with censured firms is growing. Competition for clicks ‘in the insurance industry has never been higher’ and consumers are becoming increasingly savvy with who they give their data to.
Customers choose choice
The Environmental factors described above are having an impact, but nothing compares to the overwhelming evidence from both lead partners and lead buying clients that ‘the leads simply don’t work as well as they used to’.
One client told me last week that they’re only able speak to 60% of the leads they buy because the inputting of fake data into lead generation forms has become so sophisticated. Whether its competitors or data conscious customers, change is in the air.
The development team at Contact State have been deep in testing for the last few months, experimenting with a range of new ways we might help give consumers what they ultimately want - a choice. With a panel of some of the most significant lead generation businesses in the country, we’ve been testing multiple paths of lead enrichment that allows a consumer to choose what happens next. Whether its appointment bookings, additional question sets that return indicative and underwritten prices or the opportunity to buy online, the Contact State laboratory has been busy.
Build back brand
There are roughly 180 lead generators in the UK active in financial services marketing in one guise or another. What’s interesting is the most successful 20 have one thing in common: they are building brands, rather than lead forms and introducing customers rather than selling leads.
These brand building exercises do not live and die by a weekly pay run but take a much longer view, often these businesses are sharing a commission structure with their buyers. These marketing firms share risk often in the form of cancelation penalties with their clients but in return they get paid more, a lot more.
Real time feedback is the integration that powers their partnerships. The trust they have is not borne out of a boozy lunch or some misplaced notion of a shared endeavour but rather because they can see the effort, transparently that the buyer is making to contact their clients.
Lead generation, the sale of sales data with poor or no customer intention, is dead. If you want to find out what comes next, please get in touch.