Whether you are a brand looking to invest in leads and first party data or you’re a lead generator aiming to capitalise upon this turning of the tide, this is for you.
Below are some of the key ideas discussed during our talk with Robert, but if you want the full monty be sure to check out the entire podcast (links at the bottom of the page).
How have recent changes and developments at Google, Apple and Facebook laid the foundations for lead gen to become more important than ever?
Robert Webster: Lead gen has always been important but it has often, perhaps unfairly, been playing second fiddle to other campaigns, and in a world where the Cookie dominates it’s very easy to re-target someone and to use identity in a way that hidden from the user. Everyone’s had various products they’ve looked at following them around the web.
But in a world where that identity is becoming more restricted - pretty much completely already on Apple devices - it’s becoming harder than ever to continuing doing that. And also less appropriate.
So where lead gen really comes in is being that glue between the brand and the consumer. It’s given you the chance to show your value proposition and given consumers the chance to consent and to opt-in to various forms of marketing communication in return.
With other forms of marketing disappearing, and the way the web is reorganising itself around identity and around first party data, this is where lead gen becomes vital.
The biggest companies in the world right now are Google, Amazon, Facebook, companies that have huge amounts of first party data. Other companies who aren’t quite at that scale but who have that first party data already, will do very well.
But what about companies that don’t have that large bank of first party data? From larger FMCGs down to small businesses, collecting first party data will become really important and that’s where lead gen comes in.
Companies need a new way of communicating with consumers as we head into this privacy first era.
What role do you think technology will play in the way brands buy media?
Technology is always an enabler, and what technology ultimately does is enable you to do quality at scale. You almost want to imagine of you could have your very best reps talking to clients… what would they be saying? And how is it appropriate to replicate that experience at scale and faster?
The obvious danger is when these things don’t work. We’ve all used chatbots or been on a phone and been frustrated when it slows you down and makes thing harder. At that point people just want to speak to a real person.
What needs to happen is the technology needs to be seamless enough that consumers would rather talk to the technology than the person.
What data can be applied to media buying that brands might not be thinking about?
It’s a great question. For me, it’s amazing how few companies are applying old school lead gen techniques. I’m talking about using geo-location data and traditional segmentation by age and demographic which you can get from a variety of different companies.
It’s amazing how that has almost fallen by the wayside over the years. Anyone who planned a door drop campaign in the 1990’s will tell you the power of using geo-location data, but I think that’s kind of dropped off.
Taking it on a step though, there are a number of really innovative new data providers on the market who have fairly unique data sets. Data comes from social media, it comes from web crawlers, it comes from telephone records, and I think every company out there needs to go “The cookie has gone, we’ve got first party data from our customers, but we need to enrich that with other relevant sources” and I think everyone out there needs to do an RFP or an RFI to go, who are the two or three data providers on the market we can work with to really enrich our data?
Companies really need to understand where their customers live and what qualities do they share? The principles will be exactly the same as they were 20 years ago… the difference will be how fast the data can be stored and used, and I think Artificial Intelligence will play an exciting part in that.
How can brands or lead generators compete better in media buying?
The first thing is to be critical and ask for outside advice. A lot of companies and people have always done things a certain way, and if they can engage with other people in the market to say “What else do you do do that’s different to what we do?” You can work with companies such as my own and ask for ideas, but equally it can just be networking.
I think networking can be something of a super power. In the 20 years I’ve had working in media in London, there’s people out there at all types of different companies that know different things, and by staying in touch you can pick up and learn and always refine what you’re doing.
I’ve been really focused on geo data recently. There is a whole group of people out there who think geo data is a load of rubbish because it was 10 years ago, but you’ve always got to challenge your assumptions because technology changes and things move forward, so having that culture of always asking how to improve and looking to apply that.
And finally, always be testing and learning.
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