In this new strand we'll be posting mini-podcasts we recorded live from Lead Generation World with the biggest names in Lead Gen. First up we have the godfather of lead generation Bruce Cook from LendingTree who answers the question "What is your biggest F*ck up?"
Bruce, how will lead gen change in the next five years?
Bruce Cook: I’ve just spent an hour talking about that but will try and do it in less than five minutes! Here we go. I talked today about the arc of lead generation on our way to customer acquisitions. So I think a lot about how important customer acquisition over just lead generation is. I think there’s more value there and at LendingTree that’s where we’re heading.
So in this arc it starts at LeadGen1.0. It’s advertising arbitrage and most of us are in that business. We might buy a lead for $35 and sell it for $70 and move onto the next. That’s the business.
Business will hit plateaus.
You can only get them so big and have you to think about other ways to do this business.
So at LendingTree we started to look at the transactional part of the business. How can we go deeper into the funnel with the consumer? Create more value with the consumer? Create more trust with that consumer? And create more value for our network.
We began on that journey five or six years ago. And some of the lead gen business we have, the vertical we have, will take a consumer deeper in the funnel and that was leading us to a managed marketplace. So, a logged in experience which we felt was the logical extension of lea generation on the way to customer acquisition.
Why is customer acquisition so important?
Customer acquisition is so important because a consumer is not a customer. A customer has bought something, they are a customer of somebody, it’s a transaction that has happened, that’s the way we like to think about it.
So a managed marketplace required LendingTree to have multiple verticals. You have to be able to talk to a consumer. Maybe they come in as a mortgage lead, maybe they came in as a credit card, but it required you to make investments in a very large series of customer financial verticals. And so, we set out and invested probably a billion and a half dollars in a lot of these businesses like insurance and credit card and personal loan. The list went on and on and on. Now we can take a consumer into a logged in experience, we can buy them once, and set about earning their trust. We then push them the right product or service rather than waiting for them to come and pull it.
What’s really important here is the idea of brand. LendingTree is a massive brand, right? You’ve developed that trust by building a massive brand. How important is brand in lead generation?
I would say, as you want to evolve out of lead gen 1.0 or advertising arbitrage, you have to begin to build that brand.
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