No Such Thing as a Free Lead – By Darryl Mattox

by Jenae Reid on April 11, 2017

Because there’s no such thing as a free lead, we’ll explore how long-term success is achievable through an integrated marketing strategy that combines earned and paid media.

We’ve all heard the saying: “There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Well, the same holds true for lead generation. FeedFront issue 38 coverThere is no such thing as a “free lead”. Every lead has a value, whether coming from paid media (TV, print, PPC, display, etc.), or from earned media (SEO, social media, etc.).

In fact, leads generated from an integrated marketing strategy, a combination of paid and earned media, tend to be the most cost efficient leads.

On its own, earned media has proven not to be an effective lead generation source. The idea of “if you build it, they will come” has not been a reliable marketing strategy. However, when used in conjunction with, and as a complement to, paid media strategies, it becomes a much more powerful approach for lead generation.

With the prevalence of social media over the past few years, many schools and companies have shifted their primary marketing strategy to their Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube pages. Looking at the higher education sector, our data shows over 35% of inquiries and 43% of enrolled students have come from digital media sources.

Social media offers a variety of businesses an opportunity to experience a greater presence and exposure to their target market—with a low (or no) cost. Unfortunately, the message’s impact often falls short of the marketer’s expectations. For social media to truly be an effective lead generator, it needs to be paired with paid media.

Most consumers consider social channels to be a resource for information and/or confirmation. It is paid media that performs the heavy lifting when it comes to generating sales. The converse is true, when paid media is integrated with a strong social and web presence it becomes a much more effective strategy with increased results.

A paid media marketing strategy without earned media, or vice versa, is like buying a smartphone without a data plan. It works and has plenty of wonderful features, but most won’t function, and its effectiveness as a communication tool is limited. If you want to achieve long-term results from your marketing efforts, you need a strategic plan that integrates both paid and earned media sources.


Darryl Mattox, Gragg Advertising’s President/COO, a full-service direct response marketing agency and Premier Google Partner.

This article appeared in issue 38 of FeedFront Magazine, which was published in April 2017.

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