Is there too much focus on quantity of leads at the expense of quality? John Webb, managing director at Nowse, argues that it’s time for brands to re-focus on the overall customer journey.
Lead generation is dead. Brands and publishers have been concentrating on driving high numbers of leads and ignoring quality creating a race to the bottom that benefits no-one. Dennis Publishing is pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in demand generation. To respond to this failure of lead generation, we’ve created a natural approach to customer communication called Nowse.
Brands can now tap into the editorial credibility established by publications like The Week, IT PRO, Auto Express and Money Week. Combined with rich customer data and leading technology, including AI, brands can now access a new, naturalistic approach to demand generation.
For example: editorial breadth gives brands an in-depth understanding of audiences: what they’re interested in; how they’re looking for information on the products and services that they’re intending to buy; and what, how and when they’ll actually purchase. Nowse uses these insights to stimulate and grow demand beyond merely capturing it.
This type of model is made more powerful by the use of AI technology, which can spot trends and patterns. Remarkably AI technology can help the conversation be more human. This isn’t just about decision-tree chat bots. It’s about recognising behaviour and tracking intent and then enabling brands to marry that intent with context. It makes it easier to understand the markers and respond at the right moment. Traditional approaches to lead generation can’t do this.
Conventional approaches to publishing have used technology to drive scale and efficiency in lead generation, but this has come at the expense of effectiveness and quality. The problem is that this sort of mass targeting jams the brands’ sales funnel with poor quality leads that have to be sifted through and qualified. Many are either rejected, or not worked in the first place, resulting in high levels of wastage.
Quantity over quality has a detrimental effect on the customer experience too. It drives customers into old-fashioned, brand-specific relationship systems. In the past it’s been a one-dimensional approach, offering an asset and asking customers to sign-up in return for their permission to be contacted. This has often resulted in a disconnect and a dispiriting experience for potential buyers, which starts to erode trust in the brand itself. We need to rethink capture and convert; it needs to be about more than just finding people. It needs to move them; from apathy to action, from preference to purchase, from another brand to your brand.
It’s time for a new, more humanistic approach, which connects with customers in context. It’s time to rethink capture. It’s time to engage with potential customer where they are, not force them through a CRM system. This will generate warmer prospects and they begin to filter themselves.
Engaging with customers in the right context will make it easier for brands to identify, and then convert, potential buyers. Brands need to connect with potential consumers wherever they happen to be online. People are not static; they migrate across websites. Brands need to move too, to harness this intelligence and nurture potential buyers. It’s not about focussing on one channel. It’s about being present in which ever channels your consumer uses.
We think it’s time for brands to speak to customers where they already are; consuming content and looking for information. By working with forward-thinking publishers, brands can benefit from continued intelligence across the customer journey; from initial interest to conversion.
Traditional publishing has focussed on lead generation, which captures very late in the customer buying journey. It’s time to focus on stimulating and growing demand. This will lead to more engaged, informed and predisposed customer prospects. Beyond simply identifying and classifying leads, we need to enable brands to understand, persuade and move audiences. And spend less sifting irrelevant leads.
The industry knows that lead generation is dead and it’s time to create a new look demand generation. Publishers and brands need to refocus on the customer journey. A natural approach to customer engagement means that brands can focus on quality and grow their businesses.
By John Webb