Leads or Data? Whats the difference?

Being in business in the information age means there is a lot of data being collected, disseminated and transferred between companies.  As a media company we get various requests for different types of data.  We have clients that request investor data, debt data, mortgage data, homeowner data, you get the picture.  We also get requests for investor leads, debt leads, mortgage leads, homeowner’s leads, etc. Now you may be thinking that I am having a senior moment or that I forgot to take my meds or maybe I took too many of them because what’s the difference between leads and data and that is the question of the day.  What is the difference between a lead and data? Do you know? Many don’t. Because I get calls from people asking for leads that want data and I get calls from people asking for data that want leads.

Okay I know you are on the edge of your seat with your eyes glued to the monitor attempting the dangerous feat  of trying to read faster than your brain can compute because this is some exciting stuff were talking about. So let’s get serious for a nano second and break it down.  Data in itself is raw information. It is a collection of facts based on a variety of demographics.   I’ll give you an example, lets say you sell health insurance so you call me and say you want a list of all homeowners in Los Angeles that have a new born baby.  So no problem I go into our consumer database and I input calif, and the three digit code for L.A. into the program and I select new member – infants 6 months or less and confirmed homeowners and in a few seconds it comes back and tells me that there are 6705 records of confirmed homeowners with a new infant under 6 months old.  I give you a price and you purchase.  You just purchased data.   So now you call me back a week or so later and say you have started a new service and your company is now selling debt negotiation services and you need debt leads.  So I call one of my service providers and tell them based on my clients needs I need 50,000 leads a month and I need first name, last name, homeowner?, employed?  Debt amount? Behind in payments? Phone number and email, and I get a price for you  and I come back and tell you we can deliver every day during the business week, you ask me where are these coming from and are they fresh. I advise yes they are fresh they come in daily are from forms on various debt relief sites that are traffic driven by search engine marketing, email marketing and banner ads.  Someone goes to the site and fills in all the necessary fields and bam you got yourself a lead.

So the difference between a lead and data is data is simply collected information from various sources.  Leads are generated through marketing campaigns and information is gathered by asking questions of the person in question.  The more questions that are answered the more valuable the lead becomes.  Sometimes you can use data to create leads as well.  For example you can take the raw data of the homeowners with an infant and, send them a direct mail piece, email them, or any other type of direct contact.  The information you gather is self reported and has become a lead.

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About Joe Melle

Joe Melle has founded and ran several successful businesses, and has had an interesting career in direct contact media, call center operations, sales operations, customer service operations, customer retention, and quality assurance; he has written over 140 business articles, previously served as a part time adjunct professor for a university teaching business, marketing, and management courses to both graduate and post graduate students.Email Me