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Direct Response Marketing

Field Reports

1 May, 2009 By: Thomas Haire, Jacqueline Renfrow Response

Q&A Response

By Jacqueline Renfrow ([email protected])

Online Gift Cards Make Dukky's Model Fly

It was 2008 when Scott Couvillon and Shawn Burst teamed up to launch their unique direct response platform, Dukky, aimed at building relationships between brands and consumers. Dukky is a personalized gift card delivery system that drives feedback through social, viral and other measurable online activity. Not your grandma's direct mail coupons, these cards are perceived to have more value to the customer because they are in the form of a gift card and have the customer's name on them. Recently, Response caught up with Couvillon, president of marketing and product development, who says the idea wasn't magical — it just came at the perfect time when those in marketing were looking for a way to increase ROI and lower cost.

What's the story behind Dukky?

SCOTT COUVILLON: We began developing the tools in June 2008 and by October, we had launched target programs. I was working at an ad agency and my partner's background was in direct response in personal URL (pURL) technology. It was the convergence of a cookie-cutter, liberal agency guy and a buttoned-up, direct response guy. Shawn came to our ad agency with the idea and he wanted to hire us. He already had a patent on it and had created a lot of the back-end tool. But after going through his idea, I said, "This is great. I can't believe no one else is doing it."

How does Dukky draw its clients into DR marketing?

COUVILLON: We distribute the gift card for the retailer and, in return, the retailer gets an unbelievable amount of information. The first thing a customer does is go online and activate the card with a pURL. Then, about 40 offers will appear, allowing the customer to click them and show purchasing intent. In other words, if the customer wanted to use a card but did not get around to using it, that does not rule out using a similar card in the future. Typically, that kind of information would be lost to retailers and marketers. Once the cards are active, other retailers are allowed to test additional offers against that customer. Plus, the customer can share offers with friends — it is a direct mail piece that can be sent virally online. Finally, the customer can create a profile and actually customize what offers he or she wants to receive in the future. Customers control what they get from us, and this allows marketers to get out of the less-than-one-percent redemption range.

What does Dukky do for its clients in the DR space that sets it apart from the competition?

COUVILLON: If you compare offers in a coupon form or a gift card form, there is anywhere from a 10-to 30-percent higher chance of redemption from a gift card. By adding personalization to the gift card, the redemption percentages go up. If you're going to spend $1.20 on a mail piece, it's smart to have that card individualized to the customer, allowing marketers to track who redeemed those cards. The retailer can find out which list that customer was a part of and make decisions on which groups redeemed better than others.

What's the most successful campaign you've worked on?

COUVILLON: The pilot test we did last October was for the Clearview Mall in New Orleans. It was a 10,000-piece drop. It was amazing. We had 26 local retailers provide an offer, and some of these offers were small — such as 75 cents off a smoothie. Typical performance for this mall was less than 1 percent. But this offer drove 800 customers into Clearview. We don't usually do drops that small, but the conversion was 8 percent and the average sale was $75 per person.

What was your role at the New Orleans Home and Garden Show this year?

COUVILLON: Our program is a model for shows like the Home and Garden Show. We mailed out 100,000 offer cards from exhibitors. It was a show reminder, and it gave people an understanding of what to expect, as well as giving them money to spend towards the show. For attendees, it gave them a lot of value for the show. Next we hope to do the Detroit Auto Show, giving its 750,000 attendees more reasons to go.

What does the future hold for Dukky?

COUVILLON: The immediate future is our pay-per-placement site, which launched April 14. When people see the value, it's going to open the door to similar products that Dukky can offer those marketing retail. Although we're currently developing for marketers, the next big thing is developing something similar for consumers — the yin to the yang. We'll be launching it within the next eight months.

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