Debullshified #4: The Real Digital Pain / Cost Per Lead / The 5 years test

Hello and welcome to this week’s debullshifying session!

If you, too, are in the UK❄, then you must feel the same urge to debullshify this week, as I do.

😳After all, we all thought it should be summer…

📅 The calendar says it should be summer.

😤We’ve had more than enough winter, so it should be summer…

❓❓❓But is it summer?

MEME of the week

Author’s Note: since this email starts with the world gone wrong, this meme cannot be more on point.

This week we’re taking it easy and talking about Cost Per Lead.

It’s a simple metric and it’s quite literally what it says on the tin, but it’s important in preparation for a more complex conversation on attribution (next week, though).

Cost Per Lead is the moneys you’ve paid to get each lead on board.


Before we continue, let’s quickly verify the terms:

  • Lead: Someone whose details you have, but they’ve given you no indication that they plan on buying from you.
  • Prospect: Someone who has given you some buying signals, a.k.a., done something that makes you believe they’re considering a purchase.


The formula to calculate it is pretty simple:

$ You’ve Spent on a Platform within a Period of Time
Number of Leads


Why do you want to know your Cost Per Lead?

Two reasons:

  • Monitor performance over time: if it costs you more and more to get leads on Facebook, for instance, (a.k.a. your CPL is getting higher) something might be going wrong.
  • Reverse engineer success: if you know that 10 out of each 100 people will become customers, and that each lead costs you $5, you can estimate that if you want 50 customers, you’ll need 500 leads, therefore you’ll need to spend $2500.

If it’s not gonna matter in 5 years, 
it doesn’t matter now.

Think about a moment in your life five years ago. If you don’t remember what exactly it was, look at your phone’s photos.

I’m sure you’ll find a colleague, boss, neighbour, family member, or just a random someone with an opinion who destroyed a week with something they said.


I thought so…

I know we can’t and shouldn’t live in the future. The present is all we have. 

But I also know that despite how hurtful some words may be, we know pretty well what truly matters and what’s just blabber.

We know whose words are really going to affect us, and we also know what’s just a nuisance.

So, can we please start treating nuisance for what it truly is? 

  • Your colleague backstabbed you? Momentary nuisance.
  • Your neighbour blocked your driveway? Momentary nuisance.
  • Your mum questions your clothing style? Momentary nuisance.

You’ll notice those. They are like a mosquito on an otherwise perfect summer night. 

Clap your hands and move on.

That’s quite literally all the effort these things deserve.

Some brands just know how to do it…

Not long ago the cereal brand Surreal did this, to the enjoyment of all marketing people around the world. Just for a moment, we thought, sales people have finally been placed where they belong…

Thank you, Surreal! It’s been surreal…

Nina Alexander
Nina Alexander

Nina Alexander is a Marketer with 20+ years of experience and focus on digitalisation, automation, and AI.

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