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Is Direct Marketing all about generating a lead?

September 8, 2015

I have worked in the Direct Marketing industry in Ireland now for just over 20 years and regardless of this length of time, which I can’t believe goes so quickly, one fundamental ethos of DM remains to this day – We work in DM to get a response to a brand proposition. This response is regarded as a lead and the brand owner’s objective is to maximise the return on this lead. The changes I personally noticed from working without even a PC in my first job to today’s world where we receive so much information daily is considerable. What do we do with all this information – Well some people will quote stats some will focus on customer acquisition strategy some will look at drive time catchments. But ultimately all this information must result in one thing and one thing only. Making informed decisions to obtain a lead at the lowest acquisition cost possible. In the nineties this lead arrived from channels such as door drops, direct mail telemarketing or coupon activity. Metrics such as the cost per lead, cost per acquisition were not as scrutinised as they are today but in the nineties we did not have as many channels to work with, there was less unsolicited approach’s to consumers and therefore we sold allot of product/services for the brand owner who was generally satisfied. Today we have rapidly developing channels to market most of which are online channels with multiple means to access it and some people say it will take over from traditional DM but in reality it won’t. Online working alongside DM seems to be the future in fact 18 to 30 year olds rarely receive a letter these days so surely a direct mail approach would be seen as something new to them. Regardless of the channel we use and the package or label we put with it or the creative, data or strategic spin we decide on ultimately we as Direct Marketers will be measured by the cost per lead, the quality of the lead and the ROI on that lead. Results or let’s face it Leads and sales generated still dictate our performance for any one campaign what is interesting is the manner in which we can now obtain such leads. Traditional DM is still a very strong channel to deliver quality leads for any brand owner but online Lead generation is a growing area where similar offline logic is applied online to derive a lead from a consumer. In a recent report issued in the UK 42% of all sales are generated now by online lead generation. This is simply a fundamental channel to generate consumer sales. Lead generation is where a consumer engages with a brand offer at some online touch point be it a display ad, a competition, a social article and they decide through their choice to put their hand up and say yes I am interested in your proposition. The consumer offers the brand there name, address, email and telephone no and possibly some demographics details. This consumer lead which is permission consent driven is then fed in real time into a call centre or an email CRM process to convert to sale. Leads are normally charged on a cost per lead basis so the brand owner has complete control over budget versus return.. Such leads derive optimum conversion when followed up within 24 hours as the online mind set is short lived. Online Lead Generation is very well established industry in the UK but is still new to the Irish market however with more focus on budgets and terms such as marketing risk sharing been pushed out by brand owners this is a channel to watch out for in the future. Regards Lorcan P.S. We Collect data with a touch of passion mixed with a sense of quality and an overriding view of Data Compliance. For all your Irish B to C and B to B data needs go to www.dataxcel.ie