Reader Question: Isn’t Lead Generation just another form of Display Advertising?

Q: Chris you say “we don’t do ad-supported deals at Founders Co-op” yet the first thing you’ve invested in after Judy’s Book is Cooler Planet? The IAB counts lead gen as ads, why don’t you?
Asked by Niki Scevak

A: Hi Niki, thanks for the question. The IAB can call it what they want, but paid lead generation is to display advertising like running a store is to retail leasing. To make money in lead generation you actually have to take responsibility for finding qualified customers and matching them with buyers; if you don’t do a good job, you don’t get paid. In display advertising, you just rent space to others and let them deal with messaging, screening and conversion; you get paid whether they succeed or not.

Cooler Planet isn’t just a media buy for solar installers, it’s a marketing and CRM partner. We actually talk to their customers before they do, and the quality of the service we offer is an integral component of the overall customer experience. We develop direct relationships with the consumer and earn the permission to communicate with them on an ongoing basis on a broad range of topics. In my experience, display advertising shares none of these characteristics.

Since you know more than a little about this marketspace I’d be interested to hear your views: do you think lead gen and display advertising are really the same?

Ask Chris DeVore a question.