Performance Anxiety: Xerox Angles for the Best Online Leads

Xerox's Office Systems Division relies heavily on the Internet to provide qualified, targeted leads designed to turn into profitable customers. OMMA's Lynne Russo Whylly spoke with Kristina M. Zlateff, manager of office online advertising at Xerox, about the value that online lead generation brings to her group.

What advancements have been made in recent years to make online lead generation more effective for Xerox's Office division?

KZ: Our online environment gets more sophisticated every day, and how we speak to our customers has definitely been refined over the years. Some capabilities such as day-parting, frequency capping, and targeting by title, domain name, and SIC code weren't available a couple of years ago. Also, there's more volume, so more reach.

What benefits do you feel online lead generation offers over offline methods?

KZ: The online prospect is more finely qualified than a direct mail prospect. Also, with direct mail, you have 15 seconds to get customers to open the envelope before they put it down. With online, there's more opportunity because the ad units are always running. In addition, Web visitors self-identify their interest by going to a certain site and a certain area within a site, so you can target your ad based on the right touchpoint. A query made to find out where to buy a product or requesting a quote or a product demo qualifies customers as higher-ranked leads than with direct mail. And once customers click through to our Web site, they're three times more likely to pursue Web actions that we consider conversion.

What are some of your best practices related to lead generation?

KZ: Having an integrated marketing approach is really critical for success, as well as understanding the difference in strategic approach by type of site. If we have multiple campaigns online, I lay out all the site activity that's running and see where we're experiencing a halo effect from one site to another. Then I use investment dollars to get as targeted as possible to generate the best return on investment.

How are your strategies and tactics different from what you might have done just a couple of years ago?

KZ: Our target audience hasn't changed, but the publisher sites themselves have more and different inventory to sell you today. They're also more open to a dialogue with regard to new developments on their Web sites and how that might provide an opportunity for you to reach out and talk to your audience.

Do you use strategies such as co-registration, affiliate marketing, or data co-oping?

KZ: Our use of co-registration has increased in the last two years. We feel it offers a better quality experience because people are already signed up to receive a certain type of communication from the vendor, so you are perceived as much more trusted. The number of ad-unit opportunities have increased with better real estate based on more dimension and interaction than the standard online environment. For us, co-reg will typically reach two to three times more audience than a standard campaign, and outperforms click-through rates by as much as 10 times. It generates a higher response, as well.

Which lead-generation metrics are key for you?

KZ: Our primary objective initially is exposure, so the impression base is critical. Then we look at a quantifiable or measurable action - collecting data as minimal as customers' e-mail or mailing addresses, or even conducting live chats - something that provides an opportunity for a future follow-up with that individual. We compare internally how one medium works against another, and the cost per vehicle.

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