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Publisher Turned Vendor: Summit Offers Lead Gen Solutions

Service automates leads across any platform.



By Matt Kinsman
10/30/2009

Publishers are scrambling to figure out lead generation and one of their peers is offering to help. Summit Publishing has spun off a new company called Mediadroit that offers a service called LeadWise which is designed to generate leads across a variety of ad formats, sizes, positions and technologies.

Summit e-media vice president Dave Newcorn and sales/training vice president Jim Chrzan are overseeing Mediadroit. The difference with LeadWise, according to Newcorn, is that it leverages the publisher’s circulation base so that readers do not need to fill out a new lead gen form as they move between products (assuming they already exist in the database). “We noticed that lead gen was always very platform-specific,” says Newcorn.

LeadWise is integrated with lead management platform AccelaWorks. “I think AccelaWorks is the finest lead gen platform around, but it was never designed to be integrated with the circulation database of a publishing company,” says Newcorn. “The problem is, if someone registers for a Webcast or a white paper, you’re making them fill out forms when they may already be in your database. That’s bad.”

The roots for LeadWise go back to a digital edition that Summit created in-house. “We’d been asked at that time by other publishers if we could license that technology but nothing ever came out of it,” says Newcorn. “However, we realized it’s not the format that’s special with digital magazines but the leads. You could apply them to any format.”

How It Works

LeadWise features a WYSIWYG ad portal that allows advertisers to submit, preview and approve HTML-based creative without having to know HTML. The ads can run on any Web site or e-newsletter and be served up through the publisher’s content management system.

Publishers can then run ad-hoc reports showing how many unique leads they’ve delivered to the advertiser across multiple campaigns over any time period or look up leads for a given user. They can also filter unwanted leads (such as competitors) and restrict the field by date range. Sales reps can have one place to check their ad campaigns with separate data for each newsletter, Web campaign, Webcast, etc.

Client Experience

Restore Media, a Washington, D.C.-based publisher serving the building restoration and renovation market, started using LeadWise in June.

“Sales leads in our business are key, we’re kind of a direct response business,” says Restore CEO Mike Tucker. “Most of our clients are small and offer high-end custom-type products. We already had a database of about 300,000 readers and show and Webinar attendees. Selling high quality leads is the next step for us.”

Restore currently generates about 800 trackable sales leads per month and the goal is to boost that number to between 1,500 and 2,000. Much of its lead gen efforts revolve around its newsletters—which include four monthlies.

“We may do a newsletter on high-end windows  that features 20 different companies,” says Tucker. “We have databases on our sites with listings of companies that build certain types of products and we have databases of old homes and products we’ve featured in the magazines. A user can go in, find an old fashioned lock set and actually see the photo, get information on the company, go to the Web site or order a free catalog. If the consumer orders a free catalog, that’s hooked up to the LeadWise system.”

Restore currently gets 400,000 visitors per month and launched three new microsites repurposing its evergreen content. It plans to add three more by the end of the year and Tucker wants to weave LeadWise through the sites.

So far lead generation hasn’t translated into direct revenue for Restore. “We’re just starting to educate advertisers about it,” says Tucker. “If lead gen can help us sell more advertising and demonstrate a high quality of readers for the next year or two, that will be fine. There is a model where you can charge for leads but we’re not there yet because of the industry we’re in—construction has been really hurt by economy. In two or three years that might be possible.”
 
Revenue Model

Pricing for LeadWise starts at $1,500 per month and goes up from there depending on the number of magazines, Web sites, newsletters and databases. Where the power of lead gen shines is not through the ad server but through sponsored links through the CMS, according to Newcorn. “If you have a section of your Web site devoted to a given topic and put in sponsored links with videos and white papers, LeadWise will wrap around it.”

Newcorn doesn’t advise publishers to start pricing per lead yet. “Don’t do any lead guarantees and don’t do cost per lead,” he says. “If the circulation people have done their jobs, you’ll get a lot of great data.”

By Matt Kinsman
10/30/2009







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