Brand Management and Lead Quality

There was a time as Internet Marketing exploded on the scene that many schools began using as many networks and affiliates as they could find in order to try to cash in on the ever-growing population of internet savvy potential students. Many schools are now finding that when it comes to reaching the best potential students, less is more.

I am always amazed at the many ways that various marketers find to cheat the system and continue to send in poor quality leads and get them through unnoticed. The latest of many marketing tactics pushing these low quality leads is what I call "lead brokering".

Lead Brokering tends to manifest itself in two ways:

  1. An affiliate gets on board with as many small sources as they can so that when one source hits a budget cap, they farm their leads off onto someone else. Regardless of whether the lead was meant for that school originally or not.
  2. An affiliate continues to get removed from various programs for poor lead quality, but they find other sources that are willing to farm their leads back into schools through other sources in return for a small piece of the monetary pie.

So how are you, as school supposed to manage your efforts and bring these situations to light when you are juggling multiple vendors, affiliates, and networks? The truth is, when your primary business model is all about the students and their experience at your school, it is very difficult to manage this complex process at all.

My recommendation is to enter into an Agency of Record agreement with an established agency in the interactive marketing field. This will allow you to bring all of your vendors under one umbrella and manage the process so that lead brokering and other nefarious tactics will surface because you have the same pair of eyes managing the pipeline. An agency with an established reputation in the career education field will have already built relationships with the larger vendors that provide quality leads for your money. So not only will you have those larger vendors working for you, but this will also allow you and your agency to not rely on the smaller one-off situations that may be trouble down the line.

If you find an agency that has the ability to channel all of your vendors, manage your various budgets, and has an established Compliance Department to monitor any issues that may arise, then you can concentrate on changing lives, one student at a time.

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