Electronic Retailer - May 2011 - (Page 56)

BY SCOTT RICHARDS CHANNEL CROSSING: TELESERVICES Optimize Sales by Harmonizing Online and Offline Efforts One of the obvious advantages of online marketing is that it reduces the cost of a direct transaction. It makes perfect sense: Eliminate telemarketing costs and you reduce expenses that help increase margins. However, as e-commerce has become a dominant form of direct-to-consumer purchase behavior, some marketers may be seduced into thinking it is the only smart way to reach consumers. The truth is many buyers still prefer to transact via the phone, which explains why toll-free usage is at an all-time high. “Marketers should be giving consumers as many avenues to transact as possible,” comments Maria Eden, senior vice president at Mercury Media. “Some people prefer to talk to a live operator and others may still be skittish about giving out personal information over the Internet. Every campaign is different, but a marketer won’t know what their buyer prefers unless they give them options.” The solution is simple: By adding a toll-free number to their website, a marketer can quantify that preference. But there is another major advantage to the telephone: It facilitates dialogue that helps identify objections that can then be addressed, something a trail of mouse clicks alone may not reveal. “The key is to follow the data,” comments Charles Benard, president of Impact Television International, Inc., which produced the DRTV campaign for MoneyMutual, the industry’s largest online cash advance lead generator. “While our target demographic tends to be younger, we noted that a significant sub-group aged 35 to 54 was responding online. I knew from previous experience this demographic likes to respond using a toll-free number.” He adds, “By using different toll-free numbers, we’ve been able to provide an alternative response vehicle for our customers, while simultaneously acquiring attribution data to increase the effectiveness of our marketing.” For example, mining call data combined with click-through rates has enabled Benard to quantify whether the use of a celebrity versus a non-celebrity warrants the investment. Even products that transcend DRTV’s traditional problem/solution model benefit from the telephone, albeit with nuanced best practices. “Many of our products don’t solve a traditional problem so much as fill a want,” observes Infomercials, Inc.’s, Chief Financial Officer Colleen Dall. Infomercials, Inc., markets the Miche Bag and Pillow Pets, among others. “For the Miche Bag, our older demographic wanted to call a toll-free number, but we had to limit the number of SKUs so the consumer wasn’t overwhelmed by choice.” The company discovered that a live operator environment resulted in calls that were too lengthy and expensive. The solution was interactive voice response, which enabled the marketer to control both talk time and costs. “We applied that learning to the Pillow Pet, and gave the consumer five options over the telephone. If they wanted more choices, we directed them to our website.” Both direct online and offline sell-through helped to identify which Pillow Pet variations were the most popular, in advance of their rollout at mass retail. Clearly, the telephone remains a vital order channel for direct marketers keen on meeting their consumer at a destination of the latter’s choosing. “Sure it costs more,” Benard summarizes, “but you have to service the direct response customer in the way they want to respond.” Scott Richards is CEO of Dial 800, specialists in marketing optimization. Dial 800’s tool suite includes memorable toll-free numbers and call routing and tracking that helps marketers glean consumer insight. He can be reached at 1-800-DIAL-800 or at scott.richards@Dial800.com. © Michaeljung | Dreamstime.com 56 electronicRETAILER | May 2011 http://www.Dreamstime.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronic Retailer - May 2011

Electronic Retailer - May 2011
Calendar of Events
Your Association, Your Bottom Line
Industry Reports
FTC Forum
eMarketer Research
IMS Retail Rankings
Jordan Whitney’s Top Categories
Lockard & Wechsler’s Clearance & Price Index
Legislative Primer for the ERA 2011 Government Affairs Fly-In
Guest Viewpoint: Government, Industry and the People... Working Tirelessly Together – to Shoot Themselves in the Foot!
The Motive Behind Motivational
Guest Viewpoint: Protecting Your Brand – Logistics Behind the Buy Button
Penetrating the U.S. Hispanic Market
Guest Viewpoint: A New “Perspectiva”
Member Spotlight
Advertiser Spotlight
Bulletin Board
Advertiser Index
Classified Directory

Electronic Retailer - May 2011