I recently attended LeadsCon 2013, the annual Lead Generation Conference, held March 18-21 in Las Vegas. Exhibitors were mostly Lead Sellers and Aggregators, followed by Internet efficiency tools and call centers, with four additional vendors selling compliance services. The talks were vague with speakers giving tons of self-promotion rather than content. I was generally underwhelmed.
Tightening rules coming this October made its mention a number of times with no real solutions being offered in the conference. What I also found really interesting was the apparent disconnect between the lead sellers and lead buyers. When I interviewed lead buyers, they were, to me, not having fun. There was an attitude of reluctance. “I‘m here under protest, I wish I had other options”, that kind of thing. At Enrollment Resources, we can offer that other option.
I noticed a general trend which disturbed me – speakers and vendors constantly referred to “lead pools” and “data points.” They were referring to real live people in abstract terms. I couldn’t help but think that these “data points” were actual human beings with feelings and vulnerabilities. I started to reflect on the life of a lead; how the single mom was researching for better career opportunities for her life online, filling forms out. How she was actually a topic of conversation at this Conference, a data point, a lead. A weird abstract thought granted, but relevant nonetheless.
I actually started asking these guys displaying and speaking at this conference if they ever reflect on the fact they are dealing with human beings vs. data that is to be monetized. I got blank stares and annoyance in response. I spoke to a conference organizer and challenged him on this point. He said “we like humans, but the problem is humans are not scalable.”
The lead buyers on the other hand, totally got what I was getting at.
Of the content delivered, the major topic was in the area of mobile, with Pay-Per-Call Marketing being the really hot topic. Social media PPC was also prominent. The stat I heard was Facebook completes 5 billion data points, a day. That is, each person on Facebook does something on Facebook 5 times a day. Interesting.
What I also found interesting was the direction of SEO, moving to more high relevance, legitimate content, with those trying to game Google’s algorithmic system being squeezed out. It seems SEO is trending to the traditional PR function of yesteryear. The home run SEO activity it seems is to secure a Guest Blog, write an article and hyperlink inside the article. There seemed to be a consensus that Google’s Panda Penguin penalties for weak websites and practices will continue to increase in nature.
Another hot topic was the relentless intervention of regulators toward the lead providers’ world, with new rules making it tougher for lead providers to do business. For example, on mobile, folks will need to provide proof to regulators that they were given permission to use the cell phone. Google’s recent reorganization of its SEM business model is now going to open mobile advertising up for all advertisers, not just those with advanced skills. This will put tremendous demand pressure on paid mobile. Expect significant cost increases in the months to come.
So, for lead providers, as Desi Arnez said to Lucy “they have some ‘splainin’ to do” (apologies for those too young to get the reference). These guys have several regulators, investigating, suing, and initiating tighter rules. There are Google and friends ratcheting up standards for relevance and content and lead buyers fed up with the lead provider tail wagging the business dog.
If you are tasked with lead generation at your School, you need to prepare to conduct business differently going forward (in our opinion). Expect lead provider lead flow to degrade to some unknown degree over the next while, expect prices to also increase somewhat. We advise to remix your marketing to use multiple tactics to hedge against possible future fall out.
You also need to become your own lead portal. This is where we can help. For example, if your website is converting at 2% and we can take it to 6% then you have hundreds of additional human beings each month you can dialogue with, without having to spend media dollars. You can take control of your own destiny. You will no longer be ‘wagged’ by third party vendors. We can show you how to take control of your own marketing.
Call us at 250-391-9494.