E-Commerce

E-commerce Link: Enhance Your On-site Search
May 1, 2004

For a more efficient approach to Internet sales, consider advanced search technology Imagine you run an online store selling home furnishings. A customer comes looking for a couch and is disgusted to find that a search for “sofa” dead-ends with “no results found.” With a few clicks, he zooms over to your competition and does his shopping there. The problem, of course, is that he accidentally typed “soda” in the search query. Not your fault, but definitely your problem. Enhanced on-site search technology can nullify this kind of random yet disastrous error, making your on-site search feature work the way your customers expect it

Trigger Happy
May 1, 2004

Triggered campaigns let you send e-mail, build relationships and make money even while you sleep With its silver bullet mantel long since sullied in the spam gutter, e-mail finds itself in the unfamiliar position of underdog. Discredited for prospecting thanks to plunging open rates and handcuffed by Can Spam legislation, e-mail as we once knew it is dead. Long live e-mail. But while e-mail has devolved into a lousy way to get a foot in the door, it’s become an excellent way to keep a foot there. Using e-mail to stay in contact with current customers can reap great rewards. You can parlay the

E-Commerce Link: Shop Around
April 1, 2004

How to write and manage an RFP for e-mail deployment If you’ve made the decision to look for an e-mail deployment solution, you need to ensure you get the best deal from the best provider. Regardless of whether you want to license software, use a self-service application service provider (ASP), or select a full-service provider, it is a good idea to use a request for proposal (RFP) process. Using this process you can survey suppliers, solicit competitive bids and evaluate potential vendors in a consistent manner. Your RFP document should outline specific information about your organization, the services you need, and the specific requirements

Fulfillment Special Report: Godiva.com Sweetens Gift-giving with Personalized Greeting Card
April 1, 2004

Giving a gift is a personal gesture that can convey many different sentiments. Expressing the right sentiment is important to both the giver and the recipient. Few companies understand this need better than Godiva, a marketer of premium chocolates for whom gifts make up the majority of its business. Naturally, the top selling seasons for Godiva are holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. But the chocolates purveyor also is looking to grow its share of market in what Beth Brown, the firm’s interactive director, calls “everyday gift occasions,” such as birthdays and thank-you gifts. One strategy the company has implemented to

Global Update: IFAW Uses the Web to Reach the World
April 1, 2004

Seeking to end the slaughter of white-coat harp seals on Canada’s eastern shores, a small group of citizens gave birth to the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) three decades ago. The nonprofit has since become one of the largest global animal advocacy groups in the world with more than 2 million supporters and offices in 13 countries. International direct marketing is not new to this nonprofit. Each year, IFAW drops 12 million to 24 million mail pieces worldwide. Now, its “online division finally is catching up,” says Cassandra Koenen, IFAW’s manager of marketing and online campaigns. Until recently, the organization’s Web site had

Surrounding a Market
March 1, 2004

A Powerful Blend of Direct Marketing Science and Market Research Drives The Hartford’s AARP Insurance Program. Every seven minutes, a U.S. adult turns 50. For AARP, a nonprofit membership organization that advocates on behalf of Americans age 50 and older, that translates into a little more than 200 new potential members a day. And for The Hartford, a 190-year-old investment management and insurance firm based in Hartford, CT, it also means a steady influx of new names for prospecting. Due to The Hartford’s relationship with AARP as the exclusive provider of discounted automobile (and homeowner) insurance to the association’s members, it has more of

Creative Corner: Problem > Solution?
March 1, 2004

Position Your Offer as a Solution When you get down to it, everything we do in direct marketing is based on coming up with a solution to a problem. The way we sell our products and services is to identify people’s needs and wants, and then position our offerings as the fulfillment of those desires. When I think of problem/solution marketing, NetFlix immediately comes to mind. What’s the problem with Netflix? Nothing. As far as I can tell, it’s the perfect Internet-driven direct marketing business. In fact, it’s a solution to a problem. What problem? It goes back to the birth of the Internet,

E-commerce Link: Generate Traffic Without Getting Run Over
March 1, 2004

10 Steps to Reduce Risk in Online Affiliate and Pay-for-Performance Relationships. For the past few years, there’s been an ongoing battle over which path marketers should take when seeking to acquire customers online. In the beginning, marketing departments told CEOs that online advertising was the golden goose, citing the millions of eyeballs ready and waiting for their company’s message. That goose never laid a golden egg, and those eyeballs certainly weren’t always translating into open wallets. In the late 1990s, a new generation of online marketing that “made sense” emerged: Direct marketers took hold of the power of the Internet, and “affiliate marketing” and

Outsource Solutions: Web Analytics
February 1, 2004

Track Your Traffic In “Web Analytics: Getting Down to Business,” Diana Cirillo and David Flint of research and advisory firm Gartner wrote: “It has long been said you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Nowhere is this truer than on the Web, where examining what works and what doesn’t directly influences the bottom line.” Unfortunately, the Web allows you to measure and test everything, even information that has no relevance or actionable data to be learned from it. For example, tracking hits has gone the way of the dodo bird, giving way to metrics such as conversion rate, navigation paths and revenue. Before

5-minute Interview with Brad Shapiro, Date.com
February 1, 2004

Date.com, an online personals site, never wanted to be an e-mail marketing bad guy. But it found out one day that it was. “Our privacy director went to a conference,” explains Brad Shapiro, Date.com’s vice president of marketing and sales. “He introduced himself to the guy from the [Federal Trade Commission], who basically told him: ‘Your company is on my watch list for spam complaints.’” Date.com, which relies heavily on e-mail prospecting, knew it needed to act quickly and decisively. Shapiro spoke with Target Marketing about this process. Target Marketing: What were the first steps you took to right your image? Brad Shapiro: It was about putting