A Story From Yesteryear About Reader Service (aka Bingo) Cards
According to Wikipedia: “a reader service card or bingo card" was a reply card inserted in a magazine and used by readers to request free samples and literature from businesses who advertised in the issue. Many advertisers were listed on the reply card. Readers circled the advertisers they were interested in and mailed back (or faxed back) the card to the publisher which then provided their advertisers with the appropriate leads. In 1933, Thomas Register began publishing Industry Equipment News (IEN). IEN became the first publication to include a "bingo reply card.’"
Not surprisingly, the “leads” advertisers would get from the magazines were a mixed bag. There would be, assuming you could find them, some real prospects. There would also be students, competitors, professional sample shoppers … even prisoners.
Sound familiar? The more things change the more they stay the same. While the move to digital makes it faster to generate leads, it doesn’t make the leads better.
The variety of today’s “leads” are an even worse mix of “not qualified leads” than those coming from IEN magazine. At least IEN readers were, for the most part, mostly qualified “birds of a feather." (That is they are more qualified than today's random web visitor by the fact that they at least subcribed to the publication that contains the bingo card.)
I recently wrote a blog called How Much Does a Lead Cost. One point I made in that blog is that it is ludicrous to generalize about how much B2B leads should cost. One analysis documented the following:
“The average cost per lead across all the companies surveyed is almost $200 ($198.44). Admittedly, that’s a useless statistic, as these figures vary quite dramatically depending on industry, company size, etc.” Another source noted that leads cost between $35 – $100. People actually read this stuff and believe it.
There are two charts in that blog that show how much a high quality, sales qualified lead should (or at least probably will) cost, and why. Guess what. Leads cost more than you think, but probably a lot less than you are paying. This link takes to a blog on the topic that includes a video.
Back during the bingo card days marketers were thrilled to get a list of “leads” and distribute them to sales. Marketers today receive lists of “leads” from content aggregators, web forms and hand raisers who score enough points in marketing automation to apparently warrant attention. The problem is that these are all sources of relatively unfiltered, unqualified leads that should never be sent directly to sales (and, of course, I am not talking about commodity and/or low prices offers here).
High quality B2B teleprospecting and telequalifying are key to turning the garbage into gold. For every 100 low-level leads that are passed to sales from one of the methods listed herein, just 3 – 5 of them are worthy of a sales rep’s attention. How many leads do you think a sales rep will follow-up on to get 3 – 5 real opportunities? Not many. PointClear associates see this in action every hour of every day.
I can’t predict what the process will look like 20-years from now. I can guarantee, however, that there will be a new snake oil offered that people will buy. Why, because it has been going on for years.Bingo. Leads are hard.