Sean is conducting a session on the 8th June at a4uexpo Europe - 16:30–17:30 in the Cézanne room.
How do you view the lead generation channel? "It’s a sleeping giant and slowly waking up. Data is the new oil and lead generation can help drive a desired outcome from as a newsletter sign up to test drive. Looking past that sign up page and associating long term value to lead generation is in my opinion where it needs to be heading in order to challenge for more sustainable budgets."
Do you think 2011 is the year of lead generation then?
"Lead generation in my opinion has become an established channel in its self over the last 18 months. The effort and work put in by the likes of the IAB has resulted in greater awareness at early adopter level and a greater understanding of how it works, best practice regarding data etc. It still has its challenges, buying blind, lots of brokering etc but it’s becoming more and more established all the time. I think now is the perfect time to stop looking backwards and look forwards at how lead generation can sit alongside other performance channels."
Where and how does Performance horizon fit into all this?
"Media agencies and Merchants are wanting greater control and transparency over the channel. A lead is no longer just a lead, it’s the first step in a series of communications that hopefully changes a reactive interest into a proactive sale or level of engagement with a brand. That’s where we fit in. We’re the only independent full self service lead generation platform that enables performance teams and merchants to track leads to sales, create their own network and work directly with partners as well as manage their affiliate activity in one platform. Furthermore, as a user of the platform you can create your own HTML forms, apply scrub and data cleansing rules, change commission levels, host creative and set up confirmation emails, all within one interface."
"We want to connect data owners with the people buying and create a more transparent and accountable relationship between the buyer and seller. This way – you can identify and work on more long term lead generation strategies with key partners."
You say you’re the only independent lead gen provider, can you expand on that?
"Yes, we’re a technology provider, we're not a publisher and we don’t want to broker campaigns out. We’re a technology provider and empower agencies and merchants to create their own walled garden of partners to work with, control lead spend, partners, lead quality and billing all in one place. We’ve spent a lot of time and money investing in a platform that is as technically advanced as it is intuitive to use. Don’t get me wrong – you will have full technical support to ensure you get the most out of the platform but at the same time you have total control."
So is it merging affiliate in with lead generation??
"The two are obviously separate, but generally what happens is that the leads are captured and then that’s the end of the story, they are merged into a CRM database and any insight into sales delivered as a result of a specific lead driven by a specific publisher is lost. With our technology it’s not, and we can help drive that insight that will help the buyer of the leads to make more informed budget investment in the channel and with which publishers. As our entire platform is built on top of our own API, any screen/interface that you see within our management console can be recreated within your own internal CMS system via the relevant calls to our API. This gives you true flexibility in how you report and analyse the data collected through your lead gen activity."
So what’s next for lead generation, where is it going?
"I think the next 12 month has the potential to really highlight the value lead generation can add. I think we’re past having to explain what it is and why some methods deliver different levels of quality. It’s time to give the opportunity to agencies and merchants to place more performance based insight into lead generation and truly justify why it’s in the budget."
Finally, how do you see social media impacting lead generation?
"People have been driving leads in Facebook for a long time now....but again you can be a little more intelligent than just harvest people's data when they want to move up a level in some game they are playingJ. The key is measuring its value so you know how much you’re willing to pay. What value is a LIKE? If you can’t measure, don’t spend!"