Challenge: Improve customer touchpoint efficiency.
Solution: Enhance video capabilities.
Results: Immediate customer contact vs. the previous nine-week lag from product introduction to customer training. With 10 percent of the customer database already opted in to video training, customers have doubled their sales of Phoenix A.M.D. International Inc. products and services, such as extended warranties. Phoenix credits both this direct marketing tactic and its increased direct sales presence with its customers' improved sales results.
For the 300 customers of Phoenix A.M.D. International Inc. who've joined the company's members-only video training site, something may seem very familiar about what they're viewing. Then they figure it out; it's the man talking on the "Phoenix Tube" video. He's someone they regularly see in their furniture showrooms, talking to them about how to sell extended warranties insured by Phoenix.
The video host is often Albert Marrache, president of the Bowmanville, Ont.-based home furnishings protection and service company. That's because Phoenix is very hands-on with its 2,500 B-to-B customers, says Phoenix IT Manager Yavuz Yildirim.
Marrache and Phoenix Vice President Dawn Rowe regularly travel throughout North America to teach home furnishings retailers techniques for selling products and services from Phoenix.
But the in-person training doesn't always immediately follow the release of new products and services. The lag time for sales visits can be as long as nine weeks. Mailing burned CDs took a long time, and a skipping, clunky video platform delivered a one-size-fits-all experience.
So Phoenix decided to improve its virtual presence and speed up the training process, Yildirim says. In June 2010, Phoenix hired Noblesville, Ind.-based Imavex to provide its video platform and Tempe, Ariz.-based Limelight Networks to deliver its video content.
Yildirim then spent the next couple months building the membership site internally, from content to Web design and from membership registration requirements to privacy settings.
Phoenix built video emails with links to the registration page, had sales representatives call to alert customers to the emails and had direct sales representatives mention the videos to customers.
By August 2010, Marrache and Rowe were virtually entering furniture retailers' sales offices whenever Phoenix A.M.D released a new product.
With the new platform, dial-up customers in the mountains of Virginia and fiberoptic users in urban areas each receive consistent streaming video. Video emails are now possible, as is accommodating the 5 percent to 10 percent of members who view Phoenix Tube on iPads, iPhones and smartphones.
"This really did allow us ... to concentrate on the content itself," Yildirim says, "rather than splitting our hairs to figure out how to deliver it."
Now, with more than 150 videos viewed at a rate of 50 per week, training on new products and services is immediate. Phoenix even has time to create videos answering customers' most frequently asked questions, then send them out in a video email. (While Phoenix mainly offers extended warranties, the most recent e-blast concerned bedbug infestation prevention and advice for retailers on how to educate end consumers about the situation.)
"This wasn't just about marketing," Yildirim says. "This was about improving service that we provided to our clients by educating them; by allowing us to train them and educate them faster."
Nevertheless, Yildirim says, this enhanced direct marketing effort and complementary direct sales effort helped in a more concrete way. Sales are up for Phoenix, and retailers have doubled sales on Phoenix products and services since June 2010.