Lead-Generation Strategies Under Marketing And Federal Scrutiny

Some 47.1% of marketers believe lead quality from third-party lead-generation campaigns is declining, partly due to leads being oversold and provisioned through unethical lead collection.

With a report by the CMO Council released this month that analyzes the growing use of low-cost, unverified leads from questionable, offshore, commodity list providers, marketers will be forced to rethink strategies to bring a higher level of compliance to lead-generation marketing,

The report -- titled Are Garbage Leads Trashing Your Brand -- also examines the risks for B2B brands and aims to assist marketers in evaluating lead-generation vendors and determining quality leads. The insight comes from executives at IBM, Medallia, Pitney Bowes, ServiceMax, Eplexity, Digimarc and others.

Measuring lead quality is difficult, but not impossible. High-quality or medium-quality leads tend to convert 20 times more than low-quality leads. So the CMO Council created a list of questions to ask lead-generation vendors. For starters, the report suggests asking whether the company’s Privacy Shield is certified. Other questions are: Does it have a Security Incident Response Policy? Can you show lead authenticity?

Demand generation impacts the brand’s reputation, so marketers should not take a chance, says Craig Stacey, VP of marketing and demand generation at McKesson.

There are three ways irresponsible leads can put brands at risk, according to the report, which cites NetLine, a B2B content syndication and lead-generation network.

For starters, there is a financial risk that leads to fraud and fines. Then there are legal risks that lead to non-compliance with privacy, terms and conditions, and data protection. Finally, a brand’s reputation is at risk from content that misses the mark and gives a poor user experience.

It’s possible to measure the quality of a lead, says Matt Tredinnick, senior director of global product marketing at Pitney Bowes Software and Data Solutions. The company uses the BANT+C qualification system, which stands for budget, authority, need, timing and contact permission.

IBM’s lead-scoring system relies on artificial intelligence (AI) to drive the scoring. The AI engine looks at campaign attributes, how leads came in, tactics employed, landing-page activity, demographics, interactive history, and other factors. It compares this with historical data in order to determine a score.

But grabbing more data from the leads can also put the brand at risk both financially and legally. While GDPR protects European Union citizens, lead-generation processes are under federal scrutiny in the U.S., with the FTC recently bringing charges against a telemarketing agency for lead fraud.

All this, the study says, means that brands must ensure that their lead generation efforts -- both in-house and with a third party -- comply with the law.

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