Peter Figueredo

Like other misunderstood newcomers, the use of URLs in direct mail was not too long ago a novelty item that companies liked to trot out with pride for their customers, but had yet to figure out its intrinsic value. “I started seeing [URLs] in direct mail in the mid-90s. It was before the bubble, so everyone was so enamored of the idea of having a Web site, but didn’t quite know where they were going with it,” says Neil Feinstein, director of creative strategy at New York City–based True North Inc., an advertising agency that specializes in direct marketing, print and Web design.

In my June 2006 column, “Mutual Benefit,” I introduced the concept of online cooperative marketing partnerships. This is an arrangement between two non-competitive companies to actively promote each other’s products and services to their customer bases. These partnerships offer a great opportunity to grow your customer file and strengthen your brand for very little money out of pocket. Now, let’s look at six steps to get a cooperative marketing partnership deal started. Step #1: Compile the assets you have to barter with. Every company communicates with its customers differently. Take a step back and look at your organization. What customer touchpoints can you leverage for these efforts?

Would you like other non-competitive marketers to drive highly qualified traffic to your Web site at little to no cost? Are you interested in exchanging customer eyeballs with businesses whose products complement yours? Would you like to grow your online acquisition channel by 5 percent to 10 percent within a year? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should consider structuring online cooperative marketing partnerships. A cooperative marketing partnership exists when two companies work together to promote their products or services. These partnerships can take many forms. Some companies simply promote a partner to their customer base, while other examples are more

Although it's had its share of problems over the past few years—such as incidents of click fraud and spamming issues—affiliate marketing is fast becoming a key part of many e-commerce businesses. According to JupiterResearch's report, Affiliate Marketing Developing a Solid Affiliate Base, when asked about their affiliate programs, 78 percent of merchants with affiliate programs grew those programs in 2004, and 38 percent grew them by as much as 25 percent or more. Furthermore, last year, nearly all of these merchants had at least one dedicated, full-time employee managing their affiliate programs, and only one in 10 merchants who have an affiliate program

To outsource or not to outsource online direct response Deciding whether to outsource online direct response efforts or build an in-house marketing team is a decision every marketer faces at some stage in the development of its online strategy. Some marketers need to outsource immediately; others establish a marketing practice internally before outsourcing; and still others find that building an internal marketing team is best for the long term. Today marketers can select from a variety of specialist agencies offering outsourced solutions for services such as affiliate marketing, media partnerships, search marketing, direct response creative, CRM and e-mail. To start the evaluation process, marketers

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

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