How do you feel about lead gen’s £1 billion value in the UK?

This is a huge figure to quote but I can’t help but feel that we are still somewhat in the dark as to the true figure. As a starting point, there is no universal definition of what a ‘lead’ actually is. It can differ for each advertiser, seller and agency and as such it feels like we are sometimes comparing apples and pears.

Furthermore it will always be hard to assess this market’s size due to the comparatively low influence of both agencies and affiliate networks as part of the wider lead generation marketplace. As no one has an exhaustive list of every player in the lead generation space with many advertisers working direct and in private commercial deals. As long as this market characteristic remains, understanding the true market size will always involve an element of guesswork and estimation.

Whilst there might be question marks raised over the methodology on this study it should be recognised that brands are increasingly using lead generation as a route to market. We are seeing more and more brands consider this digital marketing strategy and those that are more established in the market are starting to mature. The most exciting opportunity I see is that FMCG brands, who have traditionally had the deepest pockets, are starting to spend in this space. As these brands evolve to become more digital and more accountable in their sampling efforts, we are sure to see this market grow, no matter how we add up the numbers.

What was so innovative in the way you sourced leads for your Performance Marketing Awards win? And How did you go about selecting media for the campaigns in the award entry?

AM: The primary channel on the campaign was email marketing, paid for on a CPL basis. Performance based email marketing operates in a mature market with advertisers receiving volume when their campaigns back out with a strong effective cost per thousand (eCPM). We recognised that we could artificially inflate our eCPM by cutting out middle men brokers where possible, and actively sourced partnerships with the ‘true’ data owners who were often based in the US. When working with these partners we were able to offer 100% of the CPL payment to the supplier which meant our eCPM’s were not being deflated by the middle men.

Whilst email marketing was able to offer us scale and efficiency, it lacked the control we needed to ensure the RED call centre had the right volume of leads on any given day with large spikes in lead delivery when email drops went out therefore needed to supplement email activity with other channels that had a more consistent pattern of lead delivery.

We recognised that for RED Instructor Training, the hottest prospects we could deliver to the business would be those customers wishing to change job or career. As such it was important we had a presence with the largest job sites in the market, and we created integrated data capture points with partners such as Monster and Jobs4 which meant customers were only a click away from receiving a call back when in the environment to consider a new career option. By having this consistent presence on job sites ensured a natural, daily flow of leads which helped keep RED’s call centre team have enough leads to work with each day.

I would also be quick to add that innovation doesn’t stop at the point of buying leads. How you work the data is by far and away the biggest determinant to campaign success. By introducing data validation we were able to maximise efficiencies in the call centre with staff no longer needed to chase up dud leads. And by creating a feedback loop that provides the lead seller with details on converted leads, our suppliers were able to optimise their media to true business ROI rather than just a successful lead being delivered.

What did it mean to win the award?

AM: It was a great honour to win the award although I was equally pleased that Arena picked up Best Financial Services campaign for Legal & General. Success breeds success and it’s always a relief to know that our work is recognised by the industry as well as our clients!

How has the win helped Arena since May last year?

AM: Arena have always had a strong reputation for affiliates and performance marketing, and these award wins only served to reinforce this. We picked up 2 new programmes following the awards and I’m proud that our affiliate billings have gone up dramatically year on year. Here’s hoping for another great year!