A 'Social' Butterfly1 Jun, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response
Susan McKenna's career evolution, from brand to direct response, has made her a leader in the E-commerce world. As that evolution continues, she believes social media might really be the next big thing.
Making the Web Work
What's worked best in an online marketing space, not only for Borba, but also for McKenna's own business and past employers?
"I've found that pay-per-click works best," she says. "E-mail is a close second. E-mail response is better, but the conversion — from a dollar amount — is less than on a PPC campaign. I get more people responding and interacting with my brand from E-mail. But my revenue dollars will be much higher from my pay-per-click campaign. Pay-per-click is probably the best direct response tool online."
This means, for Borba, "The primary channel is pay-per-click and E-mail marketing," McKenna confirms. "Search engines and social networking are big components of what Borba does online. They are less about paid placement or paid advertising, like E-mail or PPC. But it takes a lot of time and effort to make them work."
Under McKenna's direction, Borba's online marketing plans also included banner ads and some affiliate marketing programs. At the same time, Borba is beginning to explore the mobile space.
"With the banner ad campaign, Borba only runs on cost-per-acquisition (CPA)," McKenna says. "We worked with networks that usually buy remnant space. Actually, online, there's about 40 percent of space still available on any given site."
She adds that most Web publishers continue to charge for banners on a cost-per-thousand basis, but she sees change coming. "It'll be like the music or entertainment industries fighting online music sharing and movie sharing," McKenna contends. "They're going to fight it because they make a lot more money with a CPM campaign. The smart publishers are using CPA campaigns because they are willing to stand by the context of their audience."
McKenna is a believer in the affiliate space, and says Borba's efforts were successful during her time there. "Affiliate marketing can be very powerful," she says. "But it's a numbers game. You have to have thousands and thousands of affiliates. To me, affiliate marketing was one of three partner programs. The others are online resellers — for instance, Borba works with Victoria'sSecret.com, Beauty.com and so on — and strategic partners. Strategic partners are not necessarily measured from a commerce perspective, but in that they drive traffic to my site and give me residual value. For example, PersonalShopper.com has a community of people who are of interest to Borba."
McKenna gets excited when she talks about exploring the mobile space and vendors she's been in contact with. "I was working with a company called ShopText at Borba," she says. "We'd been talking to them for more than a year. It's a great company with a really unique mobile and text concept. There's another company called Gumiyo that Borba is exploring ideas with. Gumiyo takes inventory and puts it online through the mobile platform. From a tech standpoint, it's a different company than ShopText. ShopText is specifically for direct marketers."
McKenna says that the mobile space is moving into a commerce mode. "It's not about marketing, it's about commerce!" she exclaims. "PayPal mobile has transactions now, ShopText allows transactions. It could be really huge."