If this blog series could be summed up in a single phrase, it would probably be “what you don’t know can definitely hurt you.” (Then again, that might be the theme of all BrandVerity blog posts). But, even if you know what your partners and publishers are doing, that doesn’t always fully fix the problem. This blog post will look at an example we found where a brand has managed to reap the benefits of working with lead gen partners—including increased coverage on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and likely an increase in marketing efficiency—while maintaining nearly total control over brand image.
Case Study: DeVry University and Leapfrog Online
As we saw last week with the University of Phoenix, lead generation sites are fairly common in the Education industry—both for-profit and non-profit. While last week’s example demonstrated a serious case of brand poaching, this week’s shows a lead generation company working with a university to mutual benefit.
Here’s what we saw when we googled “devry.edu”:
The first search ad is for Devry University itself, as is the organic result. The 2nd search ad is what’s interesting. It’s for “Devry Washington DC” with a display URL of “devryuniversitycampus.org/DC”. (Other searches showed similar results for Devry in every major US city).
This page looks like it could be site run by DeVry University itself--it also could be a lead generation site masquerading as DeVry, like we saw with the University of Phoenix last time.
In fact, it’s neither.
A quick check of the site’s WhoIs information revealed that it was not owned by DeVry, but instead by a company called Leapfrog Online Customer Acquisition, LLC, a lead generation and marketing company that works closely with DeVry.
Their site notes that their “clients see results and partner with Leapfrog for extended engagements” with an average tenure of “over 8 years.” While many lead generation companies encourage longer-term partnerships, usually by offering some kind of enhanced, dynamic bidding system for leads, this kind of extended mutually beneficial partnership seems less common.
Based on our monitoring, it appears that Leapfrog manages all of DeVry’s local marketing, maintaining specific lead generation landing pages for all the different locations and programs the school offers. While the Leapfrog pages are clearly intended for lead generation, the main DeVry website is more general-purpose, giving a variety of information about the institution and its offerings.
By working together, DeVry and Leapfrog manage to dominate the paid search results. The only other ads that appear on DeVry’s keywords do not use DeVry’s trademark in the ad text. This may be due to a couple of factors: 1) By working exclusively with Leapfrog, DeVry ensures that no other advertisers have authorization to use its trademark in their ad copy. (As far as I could determine, DeVry does not seem to purchase leads from other lead gen companies. In the research I did for this series, I never saw an affiliate link for DeVry on another website, nor was I contacted by DeVry after entering information into other websites’ forms—including sites that were bidding on DeVry’s core brand terms. And 2) DeVry and Leapfrog may be working together to catch third-party trademark usage and report infractions to the search engines.
By working with Leapfrog, DeVry manages to both exert total control over their digital marketing efforts as well as deploy the expertise of a lead generation partner. For companies that find lead generation a useful source of new leads, this kind of partnership is definitely worth considering.
Do you know of other brands that interact with lead generation publishers in this way? Would you consider doing so? Leave a comment below or contact us at BrandVerity!