• August 1, 2005
  • By Colin Beasty, (former) Associate Editor, CRM Magazine

Learning the ABCs of Marketing

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Frontline Educational Products faced the old marketing saying: If only 50 percent of your marketing works it's just a matter of determining which 50 percent. The company, which provides reading programs for children ages three through eight, needed to lower its cost of marketing and improve its assessment of what lead generation and marketing strategies were working. Until 2002 Frontline was a direct response company that advertised primarily on radio and TV. Having an easy-to-remember 1-800 number was key, so Frontline purchased 1-800-YES-READ. In doing so, however, the company lost the ability to track where leads were originating from and what medium, radio or television, was working best. Following 9/11 and the resulting economic recession, Frontline's campaigns began to take a dip in the polls. Not surprisingly, the company's cost per sale grew too high. On the radio its cost per lead ranged between $25 and $35, while its close percentage averaged out to 25 percent, generating a cost per sale of $125 to $150. "That's expensive," says John Lant, president and CEO of Frontline. "If your product sales are two hundred fifty dollars, that only leaves one hundred to cover overhead, cost of goods, and everything else." This, at a time when Frontline wanted to generate leads online and transfer them to an outbound telemarketing company. Frontline selected Omniture's SiteCatalyst Web analytics program to measure, in real time, cost per lead for online campaigns like keyword buys on Google and Overtune, email campaigns, and affiliate programs. Despite limited IT resources the implementation went well. "We don't have a technical staff here," Lant says. "We have a part-time IT guy who's also a student. He worked closely with the folks at Omniture. The implementation was smooth and didn't take us long to put together." Frontline also uses SiteCatalyst to test the effectiveness of its outbound campaign creatives and the campaign landing pages. Lant can run an email campaign and evaluate what creatives "are pulling the best," he says, and make changes. Frontline can launch a new campaign and target thousands of recipients who are directed to two or three different landing pages, each of which carries a variation of their offer. Frontline can monitor and manage the effectiveness of campaigns, making changes within hours of launching one. Lant believes this access to real-time analysis fosters data-driven versus gut decision making. The company has seen a 75 percent reduction in its cost per sale--more than $1 million in annual cost savings. Frontline's Internet business averages a cost of $30 per sale. With radio sitting at a plump $125 to $150 cost per sale, Frontline is seeing a $100 improvement that "drops straight to the bottom line," Lant says. "Using SiteCatalyst to manage our Web site has been so successful people want to know why we don't go one hundred percent in that direction, and simply scale the Internet like radio and television," Lant says. "While it isn't that easy, the Internet has become an important piece of our marketing strategy, and the most profitable one." The Payoff As a result of using Omniture's SiteCatalyst, Frontline Educational Products has:
  • seen a 75 percent reduction in its cost per sale, a $1 million annual cost savings;
  • built a third marketing medium with the Internet;
  • noticed a $100 improvement in cost per sale with the Internet over radio.
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