Dear Performance IN Reader,
I’m going to suspend the façade of objectivity and switch from a third-person article to write a letter, directly to you as a performance marketer. Yes, the views may now be more subjective, but also more transparent. I’m not going to try and sell you anything, but simply tell you a story.
In 2011, before the company switched focus and became a technology provider, Databowl began as a performance marketing agency. In truth – and forgive the lack of humility here – we were very good at what we did. Indeed, in our previous life, we exclusively ran the lead generation for a catalogue of huge clients, generating millions upon millions of leads on a global scale. I’m now going to tell you exactly how we did it.
All leads are equal, but some leads are more equal than others
To begin with, we wanted to separate the quality of the leads we delivered our clients from all the other leads they were receiving. This was – and still is – the most important thing a performance marketing agency can do if they want to be successful. We knew that all leads are not in fact created equal, and we knew we had to add massive value to the lead generation solutions we were offering our clients. If we could do this, we could make ourselves more valuable to our clients. Indeed, we could achieve better client retention and grow our client base. We decided to focus upon quality over quantity. We knew if we could offer the very best leads around then clients would actually start coming to us. But how to do this?
We set ourselves a challenge: How do we start identifying the quality leads? How can we genuinely make a difference? From these questions and this starting point, we developed a philosophy: Make Lead Generation Better.
Now, as Databowl exists as a software solution which enables you to make your lead generation better, it is difficult to answer this question without selling to you (something I promised I wouldn’t do). However, in a more general sense, using enhanced validation software as a first step towards ensuring we delivered clients the very best leads – something which we began to do — is a great starting point. Beyond this, I could discuss lead-scoring and the unification of microservices and a whole host of other opportunities, but what I want you to take from this letter is simply the underlying philosophy that helped us and apply it to your own performance: make your lead generation better.
The second key decision we made – and one which I believe was key to the growth of our agency – was to ensure we always focused on the person behind the lead. For some, lead generation is a numbers game born from the demands of performance. Yet we knew that a different approach would ironically see better performance. Prior to 2011 and way before GDPR, we’d witnessed first hand the abuse of data within the industry and we knew we didn’t want to be a part of it.
We knew that making lead generation better for ourselves first required us to make it better for the people themselves. This meant we would act differently to other agencies; whereas some (at the time) were adopting a spray and pray approach, we would be highly targeted and relevant with our campaigns. Essentially, this meant we would only generate leads that wanted to be generated! We would only target our campaigns at people that were highly relevant and highly engaged.
This philosophy proved incredibly successful for two reasons. Firstly, it meant we were happier. We had abandoned the stress of chasing numbers and the morally bankrupt world of invasive marketing. We were treating data with the sanctity and respect it deserved (way before GDPR). And we had separated ourselves from our competitors.
Secondly, it meant all the leads we generated for our clients were far better than any other leads they were receiving.
We were offering highly relevant prospects with a far higher conversion probability and our clients noticed a tangible increase in their performance from this. Although this was almost ten years ago now, this philosophy remains as important as ever; the only real difference is the technology available to performance marketers now enables you to take this even further, to generate more targeted and more relevant leads than ever before.
N.B. If you’d like to, you can learn more about enhanced validation here, and lead-scoring here.
Focus on what really matters
So, to continue the story. A year or so into the journey – our new philosophy underscoring everything we did – and we started to reap the rewards. As a performance marketing agency we were generating and delivering the very best leads possible to our clients (at this point now including many blue-chip companies). Indeed, as we predicted, we had new clients coming to us asking for our leads because they knew our leads were better than their other agencies. We were in a great position and this primarily came from our new philosophy to make lead generation better by generating the very best leads. But, we took this even further and grew our performance marketing agency even more. We wanted more clients and we wanted more success. How did we achieve this? We focused on what really matters: Traffic and Clients.
In reality, at the start of the journey, growth wasn’t easy. The more leads we were generating and the more clients we had, the harder we had to work. We were spending so much time generating leads that we essentially reached a glass ceiling that prevented us from scaling up any more without changing what we were doing. The key to smashing through this ceiling was automation.
By automating our manual workload we were able to focus on what really matters…generating traffic and building our relationships with clients. For us, this realisation was the tipping point in our success as a performance marketing agency. On a very basic level, it freed up time to build our relationships with clients. This, in turn, led to more and more clients. Indeed, the growing relationships with clients coupled with the increased quality of leads actually led to clients exclusively working with us and no other agencies.
Again, these incredible heights could only be scaled with the help of automation combined with the higher quality of leads we were offering.
The next chapter
We knew that to fully realise our philosophy of making lead generation better we needed to switch focus. We needed to create our own software, software that overcame all the challenges our years of experience had shown us, software that enabled lead generators and performance marketers to grow in the way we had. Indeed, software became our new focus; we wanted to use our years of experience to make lead generation better for everyone. That, however, is not the point of this letter.
The point is simply that there is a better way of doing things, and we know this because we did it!
I will finish with an offer. If you’re a performance marketer and would like to learn how to make your lead generation better, then get in touch and see if we can help improve your existing process.
Simon Delaney, CEO at Databowl