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RealTime IT News

The e-Marketing Zone

Seattle.internet.com headed for Renton last week to catch up with TouchMarketing.com Founder and CEO Guio Barela to find out more about the latest trends in e-Marketing and the role the subsidiary of Multiple Zones is playing in the e-Marketing zone.

Barela, who has over 30 years experience within the hi-tech and direct marketing industries (including serving as vice president of supplier relations for the Tandy Corporation), founded TouchMarketing.com in August 1999.

According to Barela, the name of the game is to teach clients to think about the following: How do I get my customer's attention and how do I keep them. "TouchMarketing.com is all about being customer-centric vs. other campaigns out there that are mainly product-centric," says Barela.

So instead of printing thousands of catalogs or sale announcements, Barela suggests to companies that there is more value in identifying specific customers and providing them information via email. One of TouchMarketing.com's first clients was, in fact, its parent company Multiple Zones - the mail order computer and accessories seller best known for its MacZone and PCZone catalogs.

With TouchMarketing.com's help Multiple Zones has been able to reduce the number of mail-order catalogs it sends out from 50 million to 30 million.

Things begin to get real interesting, when companies can begin to track the response of their customers. TouchMarketing's software includes a sophisticated traking system that allows companies to check which customers open the email and to which links they respond.

According to Barela, the advantages of using the Internet for marketing are generally lower costs, the ability to target specific customers and the possibility of two-way communication between businesses and customers.

As regard communication, TouchMarketing.com's software provides a template for an e-newsletter. The e-newsletter editor only has to plug in text. TouchMarketing.com's own e-newsletter even features a link that leads users to a live chat with the newsletter's editor Marketing Manager Stuart Hanson.

Barela is also excited about the possibilities for introducing audio and video into emails.

So how do the companies get the emails in the first place? Barela recommends using what is called a double opt in. After a user provides their email on the company's website. They are asked agin if they are sure they want to receive an email.

According to Barela, there are other ways to get emails. However, the key is to always offer the customer an incentive to provide their email. "The best station to listen to for customers is WIIFM (What's In It For Me)".

One example Barela provides is a restaurant. "What if a form was provided to guests at the end of the meal that would ask them to provide their email". "The form could state that in return they will receive an email with a list of specials and an attached coupon".

As Barela sees it, it is really all about getting intimate with the customer. Radio and TV campaigns talk to the audience at large. Barela doesn't believe that his services are out to replace the broadcast and print media. "It is really a complimentary service".