Bowl Game Boosts Online Inquiries

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Insight.com, Tempe, AZ, received almost 70,000 Web page requests during last month's Insight.com Bowl, a 1,000 percent increase over page requests from the previous year, when it was called the Copper Bowl. Unique visitors to the www.insight.com site during the game totaled 19,000 -- 10,000 more than last year.


Insight ran a number of commercials during the game promoting the site and the "Your Choice" sweepstakes. People could enter the sweepstakes at the site for a chance to win either $10,000 worth of brand name computer products or $10,000 cash. The sweepstakes is part of its month-old service that allows consumers to customize outbound communication from Insight tailored to their own computer needs. The service allows a consumer to request e-mails on subjects that are of interest to them such as new product information and close-out and weekly specials. The e-mails also contain links to product information and the customer's Insight shopping cart.


Brian Burch, senior vice president of marketing at Insight, said at this time there are no exact numbers on the amount of people who signed up for the service over the weekend but that it was in the thousands.


As it did in 1997, Insight is reporting that traffic to the site on the days following the game has remained high and is once again expecting it to increase throughout the year.


"Web traffic has continued to run at extremely high levels since Saturday evening," Burch said. "We expect this surge will result in an overall sustained increase in our average daily Web traffic, as we experienced last year."


Burch said Insight experienced very good sales on Saturday and Sunday but can't tell whether or not all of it is attributable to the bowl game. He believes there are a number of reasons for the increase in activity including the growing comfort level of consumers regarding e-commerce.


"Being that we were the only bowl game on after Christmas gave us a lot of visibility," he said. "I believe that we were also able to communicate clearly to people something unique about Insight that would be beneficial to them. There are also a lot more people on the Web than last year and people are finally getting used to and more comfortable with participating in e-commerce."


Valerie Paxton, vice president of corporate communications at Insight.com, said its primary customers are a "few hundred thousand" small- to medium-sized businesses in the U.S. According to Paxton, Insight.com markets its products to this audience via telemarketing, making the Bowl game the only major advertising it does to an audience other than those businesses.


"This is the one and only mass awareness campaign that Insight does throughout the year," Paxton said. "It is the one exposure to an audience outside of our targeted audience. The goal of sponsoring the bowl game is to raise awareness of Insight and Insight.com to other audiences, and having our name on the sports pages, on TV and on the field is effective in doing that."


"The bowl serves as a way to introduce you to a new audience, and at the same time reinforce your position with those that already know you," Burch said. "We want to start to speak more to the electronic customer, and marketing to this audience is a good way to reach them."


Larry Chase, author of Essential Business Tactics for the Net, said whether it's your primary audience or not that you are marketing to, contacting them in other ways besides the Web will likely increase their response rates.


"When you hit them online and then in print or by fax there is a definite increase in response rates," he said. "If you grab them and stay in touch with them until you get them in the sales cycle it will payoff eventually. For computers the cycle may be a couple of months. If you are not marketing to your customer base they may not make a purchase for a while, but if the company does their homework and lures them in, it will payoff."
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