Is it Lead Source, or is it Acquisition?

In our previous post, Bob Gallagher explained some of the key elements required to properly assign a Lead Source value to incoming Leads. But many marketing pros still struggle with the difference between a Lead Source and its Acquisition program. Simply put, a Source describes where it was born, and the Acquisition program is where it got a name.

Any company that wants to accurately measure their marketing performance—especially those that use Marketo to manage their marketing processes—wants to know and track Lead Source and Acquisition program, because these values tell them how new leads come into the system, and what programs cause those people to engage.

Deeper Dive

By its very definition, a Lead Source value is set when a lead is first discovered, or born, and it should never change. Think of it as the lead’s birthplace—there can be only one.

As a side note, think of time that you may have seen a Source value of “Email” or “Email Blast”. This should be impossible because in order to send the email, you had to have the lead already, so its source is something else. It is more likely that the Sources for those leads would be “List Purchase” or “Sales Generated.” But I digress. Lead Source values should be written once, and then locked to changes. They should also come from a succinct set of values, and assigned by a global program.

Now we get to Acquisition or how the Lead was acquired. Lead acquisition is probably one of the most important metrics for marketers because it tells you which programs are performing or not. Yes, many times the Source and the Acquisition stem from the same marketing tactic, but they are not the same thing.

For example, consider a scenario where a person goes directly to your website via its URL. The lead’s Source would be “Website Direct”. It’s important to note that when they hit the first page of the website, they are assigned a cookie and a Source value, but we still do not know their name or email address.

Then they may navigate around your website until they come across that juicy whitepaper that they decide they just can’t live without. They fill out a form and voila, your Web Asset Program, which is managing the whitepaper’s form, gets credit for Acquiring the Lead.

Knowing the difference between Lead Source versus Lead Acquisition is important for today’s marketer, because in the end, we all rely on our metrics to make the best decisions today for revenue won in the future.

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At Digital Pi, we use technology to connect revenue to marketing efforts. We fuse marketing strategies, processes, data and applications to make marketing technology solutions work for clients' businesses.

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