Dec 12, 2000
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Infogate, a free information service offering users customized streaming news feeds (including stock quotes), reaches more than one million users and has consistently been rated by Nielsen//NetRatings as the stickiest site on the Internet for at-work users.
We contacted Infogate's spokesperson Adam Wolf to learn more about what makes the product so sticky; how their infamous CEO in the Shop Window campaign did this Summer; and what advice Infogate has for other financial service marketers.
Q: What makes Infogate so sticky for individual investors and traders?
Wolf: Infogate offers users a customizable ticker, which will display quotes for the stocks or mutual funds of the user’s choice directly on their desktop, uniquely framing the bottom of their screen, so that they may continue with their daily work. The ability to monitor your positions via free quotes, without having to go to a website, is very powerful. Additionally, users can set the product to notify them via a flashing alert on the desktop, when a certain price target is met and the product provides links to online brokers so that action can be taken immediately and a trade made.
Similarly, the ability to receive customized feeds of Reuters news is a key value-add. Again, the user tells the system what company or industry they want to follow, and Infogate will let them know when news about that topic happens.
Q: Who are your current marketing partners?
Wolf: We market the product through affinity marketing relationships with major financial services brands. Currently we have such relationships with Salomon Smith Barney (SSB), DLJDirect and Wit SoundView, with several others coming on board in the coming months.
Q: Can you give us the details of a marketing campaign you used to increase downloads and subscriptions?
Wolf: Over the summer we rented out a display window on the upper Westside of Manhattan and had a live demo of Infogate running in the display window. Marketing staff worked the street in front of the window to encourage pedestrians to step up to the window to play the “Infogate Challenge,” an interactive contest we developed that allowed users to see use the product and speak with a company official.
Pedestrians were able to sign-up and register for the Infogate service on the spot and were give information sheets and give- away items with the website address emblazoned on them, including instructions on how to download the product from the home or office.
To raise this successful promotion to the next level, we wrapped it up at the end of the summer by putting our Executive Chairman, Clifford T. Boro, in the display window on his own for and entire day. Dubbed “CEO Survivor,” the event was a phenomenal success.
Traffic at the window increased significantly. In terms of quantitative results, the event was an unqualified success. During the two days following the CEO Survivor event, we saw a 116% increase in visits to website; a 66% increase in page views; a 50% increase in unique visitors; and a 169% increase in downloads of the product.
Additionally, we received tremendous media coverage, including a Reuters wire story, a cover piece in American Banker, and coverage in Ad Week, Media Week, Crain’s NY Business, two segments on WCBS News radio; and a host of other publications.
Q: Is there one marketing strategy Infogate used which didn’t work?
Wolf: Not every campaign will be as effective as you would like. For Infogate, some of our early advertising campaigns had customer acquisition costs that were higher than we would’ve liked. You learn more about the process every time you try something new. And with each new avenue or campaign we pursued, we were able to cut the cost of customer acquisition.
But our far better and more cost-effective method of customer acquisition is through our sponsorship agreements. We are continuing to aggressively pursue those types of
Q: How do you monitor your product’s success?
Wolf: Infogate is very closely monitored in several ways. At the end of each day, we produce detailed usage reports of how many people downloaded the product, installed the product and used the product. We can also tell how long each user stayed online with Infogate, how many stock quotes or story headlines they clicked on. In total we know on a daily basis how many new users we have acquired and how much time they are spending using the product.
Q: How can financial services or product marketers use Infogate to reach prospects?
Wolf: Sponsors of Infogate offer their users a downloadable button on their website, which enables the user to download the product via that sponsor. If, for example, a Salomon Smith Barney client sees the Infogate download at the Salomon Smith Barney website and wants to receive free stock quotes and news, he/she may download the product through Salomon Smith Barney. In return, SSB’s logo will be present on the user’s Infogate toolbar, with links to areas of Interest at the Salomon Smith Barney.
This gives SSB a persistent, yet unobtrusive connection with their customers. This, of course, gives Infogate another user and helps to build our expanding base of more than one million registered users.
Q: Do you have any other general advice for marketers of online financial products or services?
Wolf: Make sure you’ve thought out your business plan thoroughly before you even contemplate any marketing expenditures. Once you’ve thought that through and have vetted it with reputable business people outside your company, sit down with experts (your internal staff as well as outside advertising, marketing and PR people) and realistically set objectives as to what you want your marketing efforts to achieve.
After you’ve taken these two steps, let the creative juices flow and come up with some clever ideas to help bring your aspirations into reality. This is the time when you really get to roll-up your sleeves and get to work.
One final point -- doing all these steps thoroughly and investing the time and resources is of vital importance, but it may all be for naught if you don’t have the right product. Stay focused on your potential customer-base. Constantly monitor their interests and what they want. Find out how your product or service can answer those needs and if it can’t, alter it to do so or find another product.
Effective marketing can be a vital component to a product’s overall success, but it’s only one aspect. The whole company must stay focused on the big picture in order to be successful and translate its vision into reality.
Adam Wolf can be reached at 212-801-1215 or via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org