The following article is a guest contribution from Frans Van Hulle, CEO of ReviMedia.
The online lead generation industry is booming with new and exciting opportunities opening up on a daily basis, offering an effective method to reach consumers and convert leads into sales. One of the major issues in the lead generation industry is to achieve high quality leads, with many marketers still struggling to obtain leads that represent reliable sales prospects. This is why the general discussion seems to be dominated by how to improve marketing strategies and finding the right marketing channels to gain good lead data. However, another big issue that ties in with better lead quality has been pushed aside by this focus: How inefficient is the online lead generation industry really?
Although marketing strategies are a vital part of online lead generation, the industry is founded on technology. And when it comes to technical integrations, there are mostly the same requirements for publishers, buyers and lead generation companies. In this industry, we are all connecting buyers, setting up ping trees, setting up and building out campaigns and forms. All these elements are vital to lead generation but have resulted in a situation where, in my opinion, there is quite a lot of overlap, with many players spending a lot of time doing the same exact thing over and over again. Why “reinvent the wheel” and do the same thing that everyone else does, perhaps just slightly better or faster when you can look into more aggregated business models or outsourcing? The online lead generation industry is an advanced industry, but market inefficiencies are holding the market back from what it could be in terms of improved lead quality and diversification.
First, let’s look at inefficiencies that are caused by labor-intensive processes. The challenge of setting up ping trees, which is the structure of selling leads in many verticals, is generally underestimated. There is definitely more to it than meets the eye, in terms of technology. Setting up a host and post ping tree demands a sophisticated system and an experienced development team. The same goes for developing lead generation forms. There is a lot of functionality in the background to guarantee a smooth process and good quality. It is important that forms function well in multiple browsers and that they contain good error-messages. Moreover, these days it’s important that forms function well on mobile devices as well. Therefore, implementing a good lead gen form is time and labor intensive and so is connecting buyers due to various API requirements, mapping and testing. So, would overall lead quality in the industry improve if less time were spent on technical implementations?
Then, there are other inefficiencies that result from the market itself. With the move from quantity to more quality, lead buyers are now more interested in leads that have been 100% verified and scored. Lead verification and scoring has therefore become a vital part of lead generation. But in order to guarantee reliable lead scores, it is very important to integrate external lead verification systems, such as automatic phone or address look ups that tie into larger databases. But since there is generally a high entry point in the business, especially for small publishers and lead generation companies, lead verification often means a rather steep high investment. Particularly players that are just starting out in the business face the dilemma that the investment of implementing verification methods doesn’t always match lead volume. So, what’s better: Implementing good verification systems and losing out, or saving the investment and getting burnt due to bad quality? Many opt to not invest in methods that guarantee lead quality in order to “play with the big boys”.
A result of these inefficiencies is that it becomes harder for many publishers and buyers to expand into new verticals. New verticals require new technical development, different forms, different ping trees or APIs, etc. And, inefficiencies are also hindering lead verification and scoring to become a standard practice in the industry.
What the industry needs is to become more efficient as a whole and to consolidate technical efforts by making the lead generation process more flexible. More efficiency can be provided with lead generation tools, platforms and outsourceable technical services that can automate and optimize processes that are labor-intensive and time consuming.
This has several advantages. By automating certain technical processes and integrations, smaller lead gen players will have a real chance to focus on marketing their services and getting a slice of the pie. Consolidated technology will also allow publishers and buyers to move into new verticals much more quickly because technical integrations are taken care of. Moreover, by making the process more efficient, the lead industry will have the chance to focus on the real issues that are hindering companies from getting high quality leads, such as focusing on the best lead verification systems, diversifying marketing channels and perfecting marketing messages. To sum up, making the market more efficient will help the lead generation industry to do what it does best: Generating leads.
About The Author
Frans Van Hulle, CEO of ReviMedia, is a “serial entrepreneur” with more than 12 years experience in the online marketing business, focusing on launching international business ventures.