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Jul 04, 2000
How To

How Launched Successfully with a Moderate Marketing Budget (and No TV ads)

SUMMARY: You’ve probably heard that Ybag, which just launched in March of this year, was commended for innovation at the New Media Awards last month. But what we wanted to know was the nitty gritty – how much they’ve been spending on marketing, what’s working, what isn’t... you know the sort of thing. Emma was more than happy to tell us...
Q: Where did you concentrate your marketing efforts prior to launch?

Derrick: Having seen a number of sites launch with a huge marketing push and then fold because they were unable to deliver, we opted for a very soft launch and to date have spent very little on marketing. We commenced our PR in December 99, and our business model was picked up very quickly by the press. Prior to launch we appeared in the business pages of the national press and a number of the trade magazines – since launch we’ve achieved over 50 consumer articles, and at least 20 articles in the trade press.

Q: Where have your online advertising successes been to date?

Derrick: We’ve been banner advertising since April 10th, at the cost of just under £100k so far, and we’ve had some encouraging results. We’ve been able to identify clearly what works and what doesn’t: the most significant successes have been with shopping-specific sites and ISP channels, some of which have been delivering at four times the industry average. Others have been less successful, but we’re now adapting our strategy to target those sites that deliver not just high traffic, but quality consumers too.

Q: What element of your marketing to date are you most proud of, and why?

Derrick: Our initial attack at offline advertising. Again spending less than £100k, we undertook two press test campaigns. The first was a 10-ad campaign in the classified travel sections of The Daily Mail, The Mail on Sunday, The Times, and The Sunday Times. During the course of the campaign traffic increased by nearly 1000%, and the quality of buyers increased considerably – the number of new registered buyers making a request for goods on their first visit rose from 65% to 90%. The other campaign is still running, but indications show that it too is delivering quality traffic. Considering this, we’re likely to continue the vertical marketing approach into the autumn/winter, spending up to £1.5 million. National press and magazine ads will be combined with other, targeted above-the-line marketing. We’re not considering TV ads at this point in time.

Q: Why not?

Derrick: I believe we can achieve a much better ROI from other media. Although TV ads would increase brand awareness considerably, we can achieve this without TV if we’re prepared to be a little more patient. There is a mindshare war going on, but I don’t believe that TV advertising is the only way to gain a place in people’s minds. I intend to make our £1-1.8 million look like £2.5-4 million by targeting our money into two main areas. We don’t rule out TV ads completely, but they’re definitely something for the future.

Q: Given your experience with Ybag, what advice do you have to offer other start-up marketers?

Derrick: (1) Opt for a soft launch – ensure your site is technically set up to manage the traffic, and iron out any creases before commencing a big marketing push. (2) Test, and then test again your advertising media before committing full budgets. (3) Use a mixture of off- and online marketing. (4) Don’t get swept away with the thought that you can’t succeed without a multi-million pound marketing budget – it surely helps, but if you have a quality, original site, taking your time and spending your money effectively should be enough.
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