Don’t Confuse Lead Source and Acquisition

Don’t Confuse Lead Source and Acquisition

Don’t Confuse Lead Source and First Touch

Sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the forest for the trees. We might be working on a near-term task and lose sight of the big picture. For example, Lead Source and Acquisition often fall prey to the forest-tree conundrum. Think about the questions that you want to answer with your data.

While Lead Source is supposed to answer the question, “how did this lead first interact with us?”, we may get it confused with, “how did we acquire this person’s information?” A Lead Source is just that, its beginning. The Acquisition, on the other hand, records where the person’s information was first acquired by our marketing efforts.

Consider the scenario where a person is searching the web and finds our website. They look at a number of pages, and then register for a webinar. The Lead Source in this scenario is “Organic Search” and the Acquisition is the name of the Webinar program that first acquired the lead.

Another scenario might look like this: a person clicks on link on a website that mentions us and lands on our website. Sometime later that person finds our resources page, and fills a form to download a whitepaper. The Lead Source in this example is “Website Referral”, and the Acquisition is the name of the program tracking the whitepaper downloads.

Lastly, there could be a scenario where the Lead Source and the Acquisition align. For example, a person clicks on a LinkedIn banner, lands on our website, and registers for the webinar. The Lead Source would be “Paid Social” and the Acquisition would also be the name of the paid social program tracking clicks to the banner.

When deciding where in your database to store information, always ask yourself, “what question can I answer with this data?” Sometimes it’s easy to get confused about the true purpose of a field (the forest) when we are trying to solve today’s problem (the tree).

Over the last 20 years, Bob has built, managed, and advised marketing teams of technology companies, including Arbortext (PTC), Brocade, CA Technologies, LLamasoft, GXS, HAHT Commerce, Intuit, QAD, Sybase, and WorkForce Software. Bob thrives on solving business problems with marketing technologies and will not quit until a suitable solution is found.

  • Nate Hall

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    June 30, 2017

    Great article, Bob! Was just wondering why I couldn’t use acquisition program diligently for lead source reporting, and this explains it perfectly.