With the whole industry waiting for tomorrow’s announcement, I wanted to offer some thoughts on balancing opportunity and regulation - two constants we will continue to navigate as leaders in this space.
DNC.com’s 2023 Annual Florida Summit provided valuable insight into exactly what the FCC ruling is and how it will affect every business in lead generation. But boberdoo has clients that generate leads in every vertical you can imagine, so I have a slightly different perspective. This ruling will not affect several lead generation companies drastically, and some will not entirely. Take our client who generates cosmetic dentistry leads and routes them to local offices. The dentists are not loading the leads into a text campaign or an autodialer; they are being contacted directly by the office manager. The FCC ruling will not affect this client’s operations much in this case. This is cited in section 39 of the Combatting Illegal Text Messages FCC Fact Sheet in section 39 - “Further, callers and texters may avail themselves of other options for providing comparison shopping information to consumers, e.g., manually dialed or non-prerecorded or artificial voice calls or texts, email, or information displayed directly on the third party website.”
Of course, many businesses will be affected quite dramatically. Companies that primarily sell aged leads or arbitrage between 2 lead generation companies/marketplaces will be hurt the worst and need to adapt. The key to success is getting as close to the lead generator or the direct buyer as possible. This is where ping post and ideas like dynamic consent come into play to efficiently facilitate the communication of a consumer’s needs to the service provider(s) that can best help them.
There has been a lot of talk about dynamic consent and what it is. Dynamic consent is the ability to display potential matching buyers to the consumer during the lead flow. It allows the consumer to choose what company(ies) will get their information, allowing for that 1:1 consent. And while most of the decision logic in routing leads today occurs on the post (best revenue scenario, best price, round robin, etc.), that logic will have to move up in the flow to help companies determine what companies to display to the consumer. It will be vital for software to be able to handle new challenges like duplicate companies appearing in the list and more advanced sorting of buyers to determine what companies are displayed to the consumer. There will be a whole new set of variables to optimize around in lead generation, and with anything new, brings opportunities for optimization.
There is also the question of when the potential partners will be displayed to the consumer. Will they be presented before PII is collected in the middle of the lead flow, or will the potential buyers be displayed after the lead is submitted? Both offer pros and cons, so lead generators need the flexibility to AB test multiple paths to find the optimal one for their traffic.
What about exclusive vs non-exclusive leads? There is a lot of talk about how non-exclusive leads may go away because of the 1:1 consent requirement. I see the opposite. Lead generation companies return to their core competency - matching consumer requests to the companies that best serve their needs. Instead of just optimizing around a singular conversion event, lead generators will have to evolve to present the best potential matches to a consumer to increase the likelihood of not just the consumer converting but also selecting multiple options to compare along the way.
Like all things, ping post must evolve to meet the changing demands of consumers, regulators and (soon-to-be) buyers. One thing we have been working on at boberdoo is the concept of renegotiation in the ping post flow to handle things like post rejects, lead scoring, and other things that may come up in trying to deliver the post to a buyer. I feel the frustration of a lead generator that works hard to drive a real consumer to a landing page, only for that consumer to enter 5555555555 as the phone number or the end buyer to post reject the lead because of a duplicate. But if that generator could return a response to the consumer to get them to fix their phone number or say, “Sorry we could not connect you to your choice, here are other companies that will work for your business,” and present new options to the consumer, there may be the opportunity to improve the entire experience for all parties involved.
Another consideration is dynamic pricing based on whether the partner was selected exclusively by the consumer or with other competitor companies. What about customizing the consumer experience based on whether the potential matching buyer(s) even require 1:1 consent? I see no reason why the user experience of a lead that gets matched to a company utilizing an autodialer and outbound text campaign and a lead that gets matched to a different company that is manually dialing the number and sending an email campaign should have to be the same. There is also the possibility of ping post evolving to bid with different prices if the lead converts as a data lead, inbound call, or click to the buyer’s website. Or even allowing the consumer to control that contact method (gasp)!
The point above is that the whole industry, the lead sellers, the lead buyers, and the technical solutions that support them will have to evolve to meet these new regulatory challenges. By optimizing processes to facilitate transparent communication of consumer needs while protecting privacy, we can transform compliance into an opportunity for improvement. Our shared goal remains matching each lead to the partner best equipped to serve them. If you would like a walkthrough of dynamic consent and how it relates to your business, let's get on a call.
I want to end with a similar disclaimer I am sure you have heard from others. I am not a lawyer, and I strongly encourage you to discuss these matters with your legal counsel. These thoughts are based on the information we have at this time and will likely change as regulators clarify their positions.