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Direct Response Marketing

Putting Online Response Off the Chart

1 Oct, 2009 By: Doug McPherson Response

i1When Doug Garnett, CEO of Atomic Direct in Portland, Ore., began working on a campaign for a hardware company called Kreg, the timing was perfect.

Kreg ( sells products to both professionals and do-it-yourselfers (DIY), but it hadn't been selling its wares online when it hired Atomic Direct for some DR work. Kreg built a micro-site (a specialty page to capture buyers from TV) dubbed and posted it on an infomercial.

"We were able to get a clean look at the impact of DRTV, and it worked quite well," says Garnett, a member of the Response Editorial Advisory Board.

This is a fine example of how marketers are converting TV viewers into online buyers. But as advertisers continue their march into the great digital domain, they sometimes find themselves tugging to make offline and online campaigns meet in the money-making middle.

Measuring Response in Online Campaigns

Clearly one hurdle marketers are facing is how to measure the online impact from a DRTV campaign. In fact, Garnett himself calls it one of "the hardest problem" areas. Specifically, he says it gets tough in the crossover from DRTV driving Web traffic.

i2"We all use micro-sites, but many consumers don't use the micro-sites. Instead, they type in the product name or company name in Google or Bing and follow the links," he says. "So they end up at the corporate Web site. When consumers don't use the micro-site, the best you can do — and not many people are doing this — is to use regression analysis over a longer period, say three weeks to three months, to estimate the portion of general Web site traffic that's driven by your media."

So how many TV viewers actually use micro-sites? "It depends on the quality of the micro-site name," Garnett says. "With a good name, we've seen as much as 40 percent to 60 percent of the DRTV-driven response that can be tracked. With poor names, it can be 5 percent to 10 percent, or lower."

"Good names," according to Garnett, are: » Short — 15 characters or less » Memorable — And like the company or product name, but without risk of error typing it in » Unique — "Dupont15" isn't unique, and just adding "TV" to the end hasn't proven very effective

i3Another measurement tool is the offer code, a word or number that consumers enter to get a special deal. "This raises as much discussion in the industry as vanity 800 numbers," Garnett says. "This approach asks the consumer to do our marketing for us. And that never pays out. Our job is to figure out how to measure. Their job is to buy the product."

Some marketers add personalized URLs to direct mail so every recipient has his or her own URL for response. "It's interesting, and there are probably some useful times to implement this," Garnett says.

Some companies are emerging to help with tracking, one of which is RingRevenue, a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based firm that offers pay-per-call tracking. Company founders realized that many Web sites don't list phone numbers because there's no good way to track which site a call came from. So RingRevenue tracks calls all the way to purchase, so the site that drove the sale can get credit, according to Rob Duva, RingRevenue's CMO. He adds that it also allows sites to offer more complex products that consumers may research online, but are more comfortable buying over the phone.

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About the Author: Doug McPherson

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