Lead generation is a marketing term that refers to the creation or generation of prospective consumer interest or inquiry into a business' products or services. Leads can be generated for a variety of purposes - list building, e-newsletter list acquisition or for winning customers. A lead is a sign-up for an advertiser offer that includes contact information and in some cases, demographic information. There are two types of leads in the lead generation market: sales leads and marketing leads. Lead Generation is not a new form of gaining new business, but it now has a new approach. Rather than sitting at a trade show table for hours on end, or sitting up a display in hopes that targeted consumers will complete a form, you can have leads generated and sent to you using the technology of the Internet.
In recent times, there has been a rapid increase in online lead generation - banner and direct response advertising that works off a CPL pricing model. A GP Bullhound Research report states that the online lead generation is growing at 71% YTY - more than twice as fast as the online advertising market. The rapid growth is primarily driven by the advertiser demand for ROI focused marketing, a trend that is expected to accelerate during a recession.
For marketers that are looking to pay only for specific actions, there are two options: CPL advertising (or online lead generation) and CPA advertising (also referred to as affiliate marketing) In CPL campaigns, advertisers pay for an interested lead - i.e. the contact information of a person interested in the advertiser's product or service. CPL campaigns are suitable for brand marketers and direct response marketers looking to engage consumers at multiple touchpoints - by building a newsletter list, community site, reward program or member acquisition program.
In CPA campaigns, the advertiser typically pays for a completed sale involving a credit card transaction. CPA is all about 'now' -- it focuses on driving consumers to buy at that exact moment. If a visitor to the website doesn't buy anything, there's no easy way to remarket to them.