In this CAKE Spotlight, we’re excited to feature a performance marketing leader, Michael Ferree of Lead Generation World.
Michael Ferree has spent over a decade in the performance marketing industry as both a buyer and a generator of Internet leads. He is well respected in the lead generation industry for his leadership on the LeadsCouncil, writings distributed on industry blogs and publications, and his presentations on the topic of lead management, call center services, and online marketing. Michael is the host of the Lead Generation World podcast where he speaks with leaders across the performance marketing industry. He has a deep passion for helping companies succeed within the lead generation and performance marketing industry. As the founder of Lead Generation World and LGW Jobs, he continues his passion for connecting companies and individuals together and helping them navigate the lead generation ecosystem.
To listen to his podcast, visit his blog here.
Below Michael shares more about his background in the performance marketing space as both a lead generator and buyer, best practices for succeeding in lead generation, and predictions for the future of performance marketing.
Tell us about your background in performance marketing and what inspired you to start Lead Generation World?
I entered the lead generation industry 15 years ago as a lead buyer for-mid size mortgage and insurance companies. We purchased approximately 300-400 leads per day across the two verticals and because of that large volume I quickly realized I had a target on my back. I also quickly realized that the lead generation companies that contacted me, and that I ultimately partnered with, did not always deliver on their promises. In fact, they all had the same sales pitch, but only a few really delivered on providing a quality product. I also spent a portion of my career on the other side of the table. I managed the marketing for a lead generation company as well as founded my own digital marketing agency that focused on the solar industry and knew the challenges with finding true partners that understand how to work leads. It is my belief that the catalyst for industry growth is the promotion of best practices and networking opportunities. Out of that belief came the Lead Generation World (LGW) conference series.
What is the focus of Lead Generation World?
My goal is to provide an affordable community event that is hosted by industry professionals, not just another event company. Lead Generation World (LGW) provides an opportunity for lead buyers to learn about best practices that will help them be more successful with generating, buying, and closing leads. LGW is not just for buyers though! We have dozens of sessions and networking opportunities for lead sellers and service providers as well. We bring the entire community together with the intent of strengthening the industry as a whole. We love the fact that we keep our registration fee hundreds of dollars less than other conferences, we will never host a conference in Las Vegas, and limit attendance to a number that is more conducive to quality conversations.
What is the connection between affiliate marketing and lead distribution? How can affiliate networks benefit from implementing a combination of both?
Lead distribution is the multiplier of revenue for affiliates and affiliate networks. Being able to increase your distribution by expanding your network from both the lead generation and the brand side of the table is an invaluable tool for revenue generation. Additionally, affiliate networks need to look further down the funnel and expand their distribution capabilities by implementing smart rules and filters. It is my opinion that the closer a network can get to the end brand, the better off they will be for the long run. Lastly, lead distribution platforms effectively provide intelligent ways for networks to match the right leads to the right brands. The better they can do that, the more valuable the partnership becomes between networks and brands.
As a former lead generator, what are some best practices you can share when it comes to generating the right kinds of leads for your buyers?
I do have two core beliefs I tried to live by when I generated leads. The first is to commit to a partnership with your clients. Truly invest and optimize campaigns that increase, not only the campaign click-to-lead conversions, but also the lead-to-sale conversions. To be successful, you must be invested in the success of your clients. Secondly, and along the same lines, promote transparency. Don’t hesitate to share web properties and the content that generates the leads you sell. Also, strongly encourage your clients to share conversion data with you and actually do something with it! Don’t sit on the data. Use it to optimize campaigns where you can!
And as a former lead buyer, what mattered most to you in terms of the types of leads you received?
As a lead buyer I understood that lead quality would sometimes ebb and flow like the ocean tide. When a company showed a real intent to optimize their campaigns and its lead quality dipped I would not simply shut them off. It is also important for buyers to show a level of commitment to the partnership and be willing to work through challenges that may arise. I am certainly not advocating for losing money over a partnership, but when a partner has shown that they are willing to work with you, it is important for you to reciprocate with the same consideration. The most successful lead buyers and lead sellers are ones that truly value and respect their partnerships.
How do you see the performance marketing industry evolving over the next few years?
There are a lot of nuances that can be elaborated on when answering this question, so I will forego the nuance and provide a general opinion. Over the next few years, I expect the maturity and sophistication of lead buyers across all industries to continue and increase. Transparency will increase, which will continue to build trust in the marketplace. I also predict that a new conference will continue to help bring the community together and subsequently help the industry grow and be more understood across the world, not just the United States :).
To get the full scoop on Lead Generation World, and the two conferences taking place in London and Denver, visit the website here.
Other content you might be interested in:
- Blog: How to Run a Successful Lead Generation Program on CAKE
- Vlog: How to Control and Improve Lead Quality
- Whitepaper: Better Together: Adding Value to Your Affiliate Program with Lead Distribution