Is Lead Generation a Panacea for Media Fragmentation?

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needle_in_haystack_small.jpgADOTAS EXCLUSIVE — No: but it’s close. We’re all wary of “cure all” remedies or solutions that claim to be the “silver bullet” the market has been waiting for – and more power to us all for being healthy skeptics.

When it comes to media fragmentation and its disruptive impact on the traditional advertising model, it’s becoming increasingly clear that online lead generation comes close to fording the widening gap between brand marketers and consumers. The not so “secret sauce” is online lead generation’s deceptively simple direct marketing approach. Marketers “just ask” consumers directly about their interests and preferences then provide consumers with exactly what they want. In this way, online lead generation eclipses media fragmentation and connects consumers, brand marketers and publishers in a way that no other online marketing approach can achieve.

The fact that online lead generation continues to be one of the fastest growing sectors in online marketing means that many consumer brand marketers are seeing the benefits. But still, many brands are not using this approach to its full potential, and especially in today’s tough economic climate when marketing budgets are under intense scrutiny, online lead generation’s performance-based pricing model – meaning you should pay only for leads that deliver results – can help you reach the right consumers at the right time.

The disruptive impact of media fragmentation also continues to leave even the most advanced and savvy marketing teams scratching their heads. A major cause for this confusion is that very perspective – the fact that the majority of publishers and advertisers continue to see media fragmentation as disruptive. But for consumers, the growing plethora of media options targeted to their unique tastes and preferences means more options, choices and more of what they want. With so many different ways to consume information on the Web – blogs, Web sites, news sites – how do publishers and advertisers find the consumers they want to reach?

Every day it seems there are headlines in the marketing and advertising trades touting the next greatest, newest, flashiest marketing solution that automatically delivers the right ads and offers to consumers. Automation solutions certainly have their place, but they have their limitations when it comes to one-to-one targeting. So what’s the solution? It’s easier than you think.

While industry hand wringing continues about how to reach those fickle consumers who follow a wide array of media, marketers have forgotten a simple principle – just ask consumers directly: What do you want?!!

That’s where online lead generation comes in to bridge the media fragmentation gap and help consumer brand marketers reach the right consumers wherever they may be online – whether on a news site, a vertically focused health and nutrition portal, or an online community for new and expectant parents. Research shows that consumers want, information, ads and offers from their favorite brands and products.

My company polled consumers on how they prefer to conduct their online research for consumer packaged goods (CPG) information. The data indicates the majority (27%) favor e-Newsletters – followed by search tools (25%), general savings and shopping sites (14%) and branded product sites (also at 14%). This information lets marketers of consumer packaged goods know that e-newsletters are the way to go to reach their target audience.

In another recent consumer poll, consumers were asked about how they prefer to conduct their travel planning and research and 72% responded they use the Internet as their primary resource for researching travel information and special offers. The poll also found that 60% prefer to learn about travel offers through online resources they select or sign up for, including e-newsletters, electronic vouchers/coupons and promotional web sites.

The key is to introduce yourself, make that online hand shake, get to know individuals by asking them about their preferences, and there you have it – a one-to-one profitable customer relationship that you can build and maintain over time.

The end result is a win-win for everyone. Brand marketers reach their targeted audiences. Consumers get ads and promotions for products and services that match their stated preferences and interests. And last, but not least, online publishers gain new revenue streams while enhancing their audience’s user experience by bringing individuals the ads and offers they want.

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