Oct 23, 2000
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In last week's issue Wasserman told us about LivePerson's international sales and marketing tactics. This week we asked him to share details of his US domestic marketing and sales support activities.
Q: You once told us it's hard to find good targeted B-to-B lists in the US CRM and online marketing market. Is that still the case?
Wasserman: I think getting a good strong B-to-B list is the next marketing goldmine. Outbound lead generation has been a focus for us. It's still hard on the email side; easier if you want to do telemarketing.
We've been developing our own opt-in lists through advertising, conferences, networking at events ... from a multitude of sources pulled together into a database. We note activity lifecycle on each contact in our database -- working with us; contacted but not interested; etc. So we can follow up with mailings and contacts.
We're working with iMarket in terms of developing outbound telemarketing lists. They use a list that originates with Dun & Bradstreet, but it's fairly complicated, take a lot of learning to use. The deeper you get into the database, searching on more and more fields, the costlier each lead gets for you. The only real way to use these things is just to test, test, test. Otherwise you'll start wasting dollars on data sorts that aren't relevant.
Q: How do you decide which publications to advertise in?
Wasserman: We go into verticals whether online or in print. My strategy when building brand was you want to be prominently in the key Internet trades. People read these and they read the top one or two vertical trades for their industry. So if you're in insurance you're going to be reading the top insurance trade. So this is the strategy we've taken. The financial services market is important to us so we've done things like advertising in American Banker.
In CRM we've gone into some of the magazines, and gotten ok response from some of the online newsletters. But so many have popped up that it's actually hard to distinguish between them.
Q: What about the Wall Street Journal?
Wasserman: We've not done any ads in newspapers since last Winter. I think those ads can be great in terms of brand development and visibility within the financial community -- but they are not as effective for lead generation. At this point in our life cycle we're already comfortable with where we are in terms of brand awareness.
By the way, when you're advertising in newspapers if you're not spending significant dollars the impact is lost!
Q: When we first spoke with you last Winter, you said you spent the majority of your marketing budget offline; and, at the time you felt this would continue. Has anything changed since then?
Wasserman: We're probably going to wind up switching more dollars into direct response channels. We're doing another direct mail campaign this week. Depending on the success of that we'll either continue to mail it or revise it.
Email newsletter ads have been a good source of leads for us. Banners haven't been as effective. My only disappointment is I'd like to see more HTML. I think most business readers can download an HTML newsletter and I think it's much more effective than text. I'm getting so many newsletters and there's so much email coming in, that the layout needs to be designed so it's visually easier to get information. It doesn't need to be creative, even an HTML newsletter that's all text can be formatted to make it easier to read.
We are hoping to launch our own newsletter soon. It will probably be a combo of online and print. People's email boxes are getting so inundated that it's nice to have a physical thing to grab in their actual mail box.
Q: There seem to be a zillion people popping up all claiming to do similar things to your service. How are you differentiating yourself in the marketplace?
Wasserman: Our real differentiation is our ASP model. It's easy to implement; it doesn't require any hardware or software; no internal IT work; no ongoing maintenance.... You don't need to put six figures down to start or hire any consultants to integrate it. The license fees are in the few hundred dollars per month range. People can put this down on an expense report and not go to the board of directors to get the budget for it. I think companies find they need to move quickly, get a good solution and have it be cost effective. That's what we give them.
Q: Are you interested in partnering with anyone?
Wasserman: We're always interested in working with complimentary services via an ASP model. If there are other companies providing similar solutions that would be of value to our clients, it would absolutely be of interest.
We've announced a partnership with HearMe. After the first of the year we'll be incorporating voice over IP into our service offering. It's still a little ahead of its time, but the bandwidth is coming!
Anyone interested in partnerships should contact our VP Business Development Brian Gonzalez -- email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 415.490.0281.