Monday, 31 December 2012 by Peter Bell

2012 - Top Blog Posts of Performance Lead Marketing

Here is a little round-up to share of the most popular posts by page-view of

  1. UK Exclusive - Google Affiliate Network is here - So far, its hard to tell what impact (if any) it has had on the affiliate market?
  2. Google Lead Generation - Sign-Ups from the search results page rather than click traffic - One to watch and was the inspiration for this Econsultancy article by Justin Rees asking Is Google selling Leads in the UK
  3. Lead Generation Marketing: Time for ROI to kill off CPA - Short-term CPA obsessions are clouding online marketers long-term ROI aspirations
  4. Dont Marry Your Leads - Get Engaged First - Dont sell to a prospect with one foot in the door!
  5. PPC Advertising is Dead... - Search is becoming more display, maps, video and data collection driven which means new search advertising models are springing up. Yahoo recently launched cost per lead (CPL) search
  6. Performance Agency vs Performance Network - Agencys do Networks, like Networks do Agencys. The lines are becoming blurred as network trading platforms and agency planning and media services become common to both sectors.
What a difference a year makes and wonder what digital delights 2013 will bring us.

Happy New Year

Friday, 21 December 2012 by Peter Bell

2012 - The End of Online

Online has heralded a golden age of new media over the past decade. But not any more - online as a marketing term has become redundant with the advent of mobile. Why? Because a mobile device is also online, so to eradicate confusion - Online (i.e. surfing via PC/laptop) has now been demoted to desktop.

Still confused? So lets try to nail down the terminology in a single sentence: Any internet enabled device that permits an application or site to use your location, is mobile and all other devices that are non-location specific are desktop. This is why ipads are mobile devices but laptops arent.

Desktop is actually a horribly fudged phrase to describe how the majority of people still use the internet for entertainment which is via a laptop in front of the TV. I dont know about you, but the laptop tends to follow me around the house so feels mobile enough for me.

The main issue here is convergence of technology which is forcing people and companies to think differently about what electronic products exist now and what may be adopted in the near future.

Take TV for example. Im pretty sure within 18 months, we will need to come up with a new word for TV. The phrase Television will look wholly inadequate to describe what will be Social Internet Video (SIV). SIV is the way everyone will consume TV media in the future. A few years on, it will impossible to think of how a football match could be watched at home without tweets and not having customised fan vision overlaying live football matches. Or, how about X-Factor (with or without Louie Walsh!), - imagine reading peoples ranting tweets tickertaping across the bottom of your screen. Forget the phone line, imagine how instant SIV voting will decide results in real-time.

Why doesnt it happen sooner? The only other factors that appear to hold back the tide of consumer demand is the way the TV market is currently structured by government and the dominant companies. Whilst the internet relentlessly innovates, TV appears thus far to be resistant to rapidly changing tastes in consumer media consumption.

The future of TV, Radio, Internet & Books, of course, will look nothing like it does today. Lets just hope whatever happens will help us to get information and entertainment faster and better than ever imagined before.

Lastly, in a case of art imitating life (a la The Social Network) and imitating art again, Facebook TV is coming... check out Facebooks secret plans here.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012 by Peter Bell

Content is King? No, Performance is the new King

Thats right, the concept of Performance Marketing may be as old as the hills, but only in the past year or so, has it become King elect. Paying by performance is now a staple on every advertisers marketing menu. Try dining out with a non-performance strategy and youll never make it to dessert course!

Performance to many in the search advertising world, means paying for clicks whereas in the display ad industry, means paying for impressions. Both give some level of reassurance that there is a performance element, but the money shot is - How many of these impressions/clicks turn into leads and sales?

Googles ad platform has come a long way in terms of making search a goal based advertising medium. A goal could be a lead, download, appointment or sale. Anonymous traffic generation was a gold rush going back a few years but in the modern targeting/re-targeting landscape coupled with the avalanche of consumer data on tap it is essential to optimise your campaign towards leads/actions and ultimately sales.

In online advertising, the unstoppable rise of RTB (real-time buying) illustrates a desire to get media to perform to a specific cost per action or acquisition. There is simply such a glut of online media inventory out there that it is now only worth what someone will pay for it. The online advertising ratecard just hit the shredder!

The so called King, Content has received alot of attention in the marketing press of late and rightly so. Having beautiful content on your site is not only engaging but can also win the hearts of your prospects and customers. But for it to be King, much more power must be leveraged to satisfy the demands of even an average commercially focused business enterprise.

Performance Marketing encapsulates all the elements that are great about marketing today - Great copy that sells; Flexible channels ; Compelling offer variants ; Discounted pricing models ; Ready to purchase consumers. Which is why, the crowning of Performance as King is likely to reign for a very long time... All rise...

Friday, 5 October 2012 by Peter Bell

11 Reasons why Lead Generation campaigns fail

Lead generation marketing is like a fast-moving train where you constantly need to upgrade the machinery and lay new track in order to get it to go from A to B as efficiently as possible.

To learn from lead generation and be a successful performance marketer, you need to understand why campaigns fail. You may be surprised to find that many of the factors are not under your control. Regardless, when marketing campaigns do fail it is still you (or the agency!) that carries the can.

Below are the main reasons why lead generation campaigns dont work, time after time:
  1. Poor lead sourcing - speaks for itself, as the mantra goes, rubbish in = rubbish out. Campaigns will struggle from the get-go if the leads are weak.
  2. Slow fulfilment/conversion - it is shocking how many advertisers overlook the conversion element of lead generation especially when the conversion occurs offline. Expecting great quality leads to convert regardless of speed of follow-up is lead generation suicide. Timing is everything, which is why leads always out-perform list data. Think of every day delayed is 10% lost.
  3. Poor targeting/lead criteria - buying homogeneous leads can work for a while, but when conversions dip you need to understand what type of people are converting. For example, targeting 20-40 year olds may sound on brand, but if the majority are under 30 you need to adjust targeting.
  4. Inefficient tracking by source - Its all too easy with lead generation to use large networks or publishers to blind buy leads. You need to know at least what channel you are buying (email, display, SMS?) and at best the name of the publisher in order to make informed marketing decisions.
  5. Bad use of marketing channels - i.e. cold email for charity donations is unlikely to give an attractive cost per acquisition that will win awards, but maybe generating a lead for a follow email and call, will.
  6. National/Global/Weather events - can happen at any time completely outside of your control, not one you can plan for, but can blow even the best marketing campaign off course!
  7. Weak offer/promotion - Offering a free iPad may sound cool, but when 95% of your marketing community are using the same incentive it becomes instantly in-effective. Instead, dream up unique incentives such as product discounts, unique experiences, give-aways which cant be replicated easily and capture consumers imagination
  8. Competitor actions - online marketing can be instantaneous which means that your smart ideas today is another marketers blue-print for tomorrows campaign. Be aware of the competition to achieve as much differentiation as possible
  9. Brand - the power of the brand is something often under-played in lead generation. Great brands are instantly recognised and their meaning communicated. Whereas newer brands dont mean a sausage to the average consumer until the message has been countless relayed over many years.
  10. Marketing materials - these have to look right and be functional for your intended audience. If youre not sure, call up your customers and ask them what they would like to see. Trying to read your audiences mind is never a good idea.
  11. Randomness - sometimes you just cant put your finger on it. Could be luck (good or bad). But if theres no apparent reason for failure then test again, as over the long-term, luck evens out.
Im sure there are a million smaller reasons why you cant get it right every time, like sending out emails with broken links is inviting disaster, but can happen to anyone.

They key thing is to learn from the more obvious pitfalls to save many a campaign from the marketing dust-bin.

Thursday, 9 August 2012 by Peter Bell

Why Lead Generation is NOT a marketing channel

Performance Lead Marketing
In recent years, Lead Generation has deservedly blossomed into one of the fastest growing areas of marketing today (42% of sales coming from online leads according to Econsultancy). Its even spawned a new more popular big brother of late - Performance Marketing. Performance covers a much larger area of marketing, encompassing non-lead activity such as pure customer acquisition (Cost Per Acquisition/Cost Per Sale) campaigns or revenue share based activity.

Many good folks (including myself) within the industry have fought hard to get lead generation recognised and established as a standalone marketing channel in the UK. To their credit in 2011, the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) finally apportioned 1% of all online advertising spend to online lead generation up from zero previously - meaning £51m ad spend was defined as online lead gen last year. Whilst 9 out of 10 cats would say this is a tenth of the reality, its a good start.

In 2012, with Lead Generation and Performance firmly on the marketing map and on every marketers to do list, now is the time to shift the focus away from talking about lead generation as a channel. Lead Generation touches all areas of direct marketing including email, banner (display), search engine marketing, mobile advertising, SMS, social media (virtual currency), tele-marketing, print advertising, co-registration (or host and post if you are in the US). These are the established marketing channels that are used for lead generation marketing. Lead Generation itself is not a marketing channel, it is a marketing purpose. To my mind, there are only three possible purposes for marketing and advertising in general:
  1. To generate leads/prospects
  2. To acquire customers (i.e. minus the lead process)
  3. To generate awareness/branding (hopefully, creating leads/customers later on)
Now, is the time to move the debate on to crediting lead generation more as a marketing objective rather than a channel in its own right. This will help senior marketers create much more lead focused marketing strategies which can then be distilled into tactics by the marketing teams or performance agency to pick the most appropriate channels (mentioned earlier) to meet those high level objectives.

By 2013, more and more CMOs and Marketing Directors will be discussing Lead Generation and Performance Marketing strategy at board level (if not already).