A lead is a person who has in some way, shape, or form indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Meaning, instead of getting a random cold call from someone who purchased your contact information, you would hear from a business or organization you’ve already opened communication with. For example, perhaps you took an online survey to learn more about how to take care of your car. If you got an email from the auto company that hosted the survey on their website about how they could help you take care of your car, it’d be far less intrusive and irrelevant than if they’d just called you out of the blue with no knowledge of whether you even care about car maintenance … right? And from a business perspective, the information the auto company collected about you from your survey responses would help them personalise that opening communication to meet the existing needs of the potential client.


Whenever someone outside the marketing world asks me what I do, I can’t simply say, “I create lead generation campaigns for customer acquisition.” It’d be totally lost on them, and I’d get some really confused looks. So instead I say, “I work on finding unique ways to attract people to your business. I create marketing campaigns that provide people with enough reasons to get them naturally interested in your company so they eventually warm up to you or your brand enough to want to hear from you!” That usually resonates better, and that’s exactly what lead generation is. It’s a way of warming up potential customers to your business and getting them on the path to eventually buying. By showing an organic interest in your business, they are starting the relationship (versus you or the business), making it easier and more natural for them to want to buy from you somewhere down the line.


As you now know, a lead is a person who has indicated interest in your company’s product or service. Now let’s talk about the ways in which someone can actually show that interest. Essentially, a lead is generated through information collection. That information collection could come as the result of someone entering a competition to win your product or service, a shopper sharing contact information in exchange for a coupon, or a person filling out a form to download an educational piece of content. These are just a few of the many ways in which you could qualify someone as a lead. Each of these examples also highlights the fact that the amount of information you can collect to qualify someone as a lead, as well as the that person’s level of interest in your company, can vary. Let’s assess each scenario:

  • Competition: If someone goes to the trouble of entering a competition to win your product or service, you can be pretty sure that they – or someone they are close to – really is in your target market, the hard part is finding out which one!
  • Coupon: If someone finds a coupon valuable enough, they may be willing to provide their name and email address in exchange for it. Although it’s not a lot of information, it’s enough for a business to know that someone has interest in their company.
  • Content: While the download of a coupon shows an individual has a direct interest in your product or service, content (like an educational ebook or webinar) does not. Therefore, in order to truly understand the nature of the person’s interest in your business, you’ll probably need to collect more information — you’ll need enough information for a sales rep to actually understand whether the person is interested in your product or service, and whether they’re a good fit.

These three general examples highlight how lead generation differs from company to company, campaign to campaign and from person to person. You’ll need to collect enough information in order to gauge whether someone has a true, valid interest in your product or service, but knowing how much information is enough information will vary depending on your business.