Field Reports1 Oct, 2003 By: Thomas Haire, Michael Kokernak, Digby Orsmond Response
TruStar's Trudeau Takes a Stand on FTC Case
Managing the Media Mix
As choice in TV channels grows, so do the challenges of which ones to use. "An important part of our media strategy is to start with a small test then gradually build out successful media categories," explains Tim McAndrew, Time-Life's European broadcast director. "As a result, our DRTV spots are seen in a wide array of programming."
DRTV in Europe, however, will always be a complex business. Managing media buying in several European countries requires building relationships with many TV stations, as well as being aware of changes to programming. The recent launch of several hundred digital channels presents many opportunities for targeting the right niche - at which Time-Life has become an expert.
Because of this, the company has become an icon that many European DRTV operations now look up to. This has come about not by luck, but instead by sheer hard work and sticking to a DRTV business model.
Digby Orsmond co-founded ARM Direct in 1984. Now acknowledged as one of the busiest U.K. DRTV ad agencies, ARM Direct provides DRTV media buying and ad production, and more recently has added direct response radio and press. Orsmond is also a member of Response magazine's Editorial Advisory Board.
Nober Forges Key Partnerships to Enhance inQ's Business
Steve Nober is president and CEO of Van Nuys, Calif.-based inQ, a company offering live-chat upsell capabilities for direct response vendors on the Web. Recently, Response was able to chat with Nober about his background and what's coming up for the company, which has made a splash in the DRTV market since first targeting it earlier this year.
Response: How did you come into the DR industry?
Steve Nober: I started a computer service company in 1987 and sold it to a public company in 1995. I continued to run this company until the end of 1999, and then consulted with some public and private companies for 2000 and 2001. In early 2002, I re-engaged with Dennis Cagan (the chairman of inQ), who owned a computer parts company that did some solid business with my old company. Dennis introduced me to Christian Hunter, CEO of Bargain.com, who was looking for someone to take over running inQ. He was eager to find someone well qualified, someone who had some solid b-to-b experience, and who could leverage that experience into growing inQ.
Response: Can you describe your job duties with the company?
Nober: On the highest level, I am responsible for executing our business plan and to continue raising our shareholder value. We have a great board of directors and I work with them as much as possible. I work closely with operations, managing net-reps - our version of TSRs - scripting, conversions and an overload of data we use to keep operations running efficiently. I also help inQ seek out new partners. We are aggressively looking for additional partners who have loyalty/continuity programs that best match our clients' Web customers' needs. I work closely with our business development team as we manage a healthy pipeline of potential new clients. Finally, I spend much of my time with our finance group, managing our cash flow, expenses and labor. We're working hard at hitting our 2003 projections and forever tweaking our 2004 and 2005 numbers.
Response: What types of services does inQ offer?
Nober: inQ breaks the mold of static banner advertising with a live technology that increases conversion while interacting with the customer in a seamless environment. We design the customer-friendly live chat skin so that it appears as a seamless part of the underlying Web site by matching the site's look with thematically appropriate upsell programs and products or the affiliate's own proprietary programs or products. We have live online chat, post-confimation page, outbound confirmation call (OCC) and our newest program is E-mail confirmation chat (ECC), which helps companies monetize their confirmation E-mails by using our live chat program via a live link they insert in the E-mail.
Response: What successful DR products have you worked with at inQ?
Nober: inQ has worked closely with many of the larger consumer membership companies like Aegon/Quest, United Marketing Group and General Electric (GE). For many of our clients, these are great value programs that their customers can take advantage of and most offer some incentives - such as a free trial - to sample the offerings and have millions of members in their programs. Many of our larger clients are using our live delivery system to script and upsell their own programs. There are many good examples of taking our live chat to a client's Web site, where we offer a continuity program to its customers. We are working very hard on developing new partner relationships with companies like Netflix, which has a great DVD rental program. We will be bringing this to many of our clients' Web sites in the next few weeks.
Response: What are your plans for the future at inQ?
Nober: We will continue to aggressively develop our frontline technology to further drive our clients' conversion rates higher and to enhance the customer's experience in working with inQ's programs. Also, we are looking to partner with key providers so the breadth of our offerings can be best suited with the wide range of Internet commerce sites. We have some great marquee clients who will be rolling out custom versions of our live delivery systems.