Lead generation is a discrete wing of interactive marketing, and so the ways in which it uses behavioral targeting are a bit different as well. Active Response Group uses behavioral tracking to enhance its ability to gather qualified leads from its banner network. In a recent campaign for Leo Schachter Diamonds, ARG not only generated hundreds of thousands of leads, but also used precise targeting and an ongoing relationship with the targets to move them into stores as well. ARG CEO Brad Powers explores how online behaviors generate leads.
Behavioral Insider: In the Schachter Diamonds campaign, you amassed 260,000 leads, out of whom 25% responded to a follow-up email once you identified they were male, 25-35 and getting engaged to be married in the next six months. What was distinct about the results?
Brad Powers: The interesting thing about that case study is that we tracked clients via a survey after the campaign to see what was the percentage of folks that actually visited a retail store. [28% of email recipients visited a jewelry store and 14% made a purchase.] We were able to show that we could drive people to retail stores through a series of communications.
Behavioral Insider: Any indication of what does and doesn't work in moving people that final leg to the store?
Powers: It is a question of communication with them. That is one of the nice things about using BT as a means of getting the lead. Because once someone actually raises their hand and says they are interested in product X, you are able to then continually send them information until they opt out of the service. One of the things we also paid a lot of attention to was crafting different messages with the client on age and gender, so we were really addressing the needs of the particular client.
Behavioral Insider: How are you using BT generally to enhance lead collection?
Powers: We have over 300 different clients and probably 600 different sites, and serve about 9 billion impressions per month. We're able to use BT and retargeting, so when someone registers for a particular form or takes an offer or clicks on a banner, or doesn't click on a banner -- we record all of that, and then, based on the vertical they are clicking on, we will use that to retarget additional offers.
In the Schachter case we were using banners to drive folks to an independent landing page in addition to search and other co-registration drives. If someone would not click on a particular ad, we would not show them that ad again. So if someone were to click on an ad, then we would show them that ad again. But when someone clicked and filled out the form, we then marked them and sent them very specific follow-up messages based on their expressed interest in a jewelry category. So we use BT as a means to enhance and fulfill our clients lead generation needs.
Behavioral Insider: What is the key issue for you in using BT?
Powers: Scale. We're fortunate that we have a fairly decent-sized banner network, but in order for it to really work, you have to have tremendous scale because you want to re-see the people again. So it generally is working on about 30% of our traffic, but if we had more scale we would utilize it more. It is something that we deal with in each and every campaign that we work with. But in terms of being able to actually utilize the full power of BT -- it really accounts for about 30% of our traffic.
Behavioral Insider: Are there certain categories that do and don't work well for online lead gen?
Powers: One of our top performing campaigns is for pre-paid funerals. Why that was, I have absolutely no idea. We face different challenges based on certain programs that just don't work for us. The only life insurance that really works for us is for Gerber, and that deals with kids or infants and is a much different process from facing mortality. I didn't think the prepay funeral product would work, but I was wrong. Before that, Prevacid was one of our best-performing offers, and that was very specific to people who suffered from upset stomach or acid reflux.
Behavioral Insider: Lead generation is trying to entice a behavior, usually filling out a form. So is every campaign truly different because of the different verticals involved, and how behavior responses vary according to the product?
Powers: One of the most powerful things that you can do is offer either a free trial to begin the dialogue or as a carrot, or some sort of information that's relevant to that consumer. So we ran for Atkins a lead-gen campaign giving away coupons for a free trial of their shake products. Whereas [in] something like continuing education you are trying to sell the benefit, and you are driving people to a form where they have to fill in a decent amount of information about themselves in order to get contacted by the schools.
Behavioral Insider: How do online behaviors translate into leads?
Powers: It depends on the vertical. For example, with credit cards or continuing education people are investigating. We notice that people will sign up for multiple forms from different companies for the same type of product because they don't just want University of Phoenix. but also School XYZ. For credit cards, it is even more prevalent. We consider credit cards a lead because there is no transaction involved other than signing up. We find people will sign up for multiple credit cards at the same time.... And one of the interesting things about that is, behavior is the same in the prime market as in the sub-prime market, although we have stayed away from the sub-prime of late.