Oracle Europe Dials Up Teleservices Leads Via E-mail Marketing

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Oracle has been relying heavily on e-mail marketing campaigns to fuel telephone sales of its Suite, a software package designed for small and medium-size companies.

The campaigns use targeted e-mails and Web sites designed to get consumers to either call Oracle or arrange for an Oracle representative to call them.

Using new technologies to aid the old direct marketing methods has netted some interesting results. Through its campaigns, Oracle has been drawing an average of 40,000 Web site visitors yielding 1,500 qualified sales leads. Its current campaign began in February and wraps in June.

The program consists of a personalized e-mail, which is sent to people in the Oracle database that sales representatives have identified as hot prospects. The e-mail is an invitation to click on a unique URL that can personally identify the prospect when clicked on.

The secret ingredient to uncovering sales leads is customization, said Kathleen Morrissey, marketing manager for Oracle's European Direct Marketing Division in Dublin.

"We're targeted rather than going bulk. Targeting and pre-selection of who we want to e-mail is important for success. E-marketing is really direct marketing and like with direct marketing, we want to be tightly targeted."

The personalized e-mail messages have gotten a 25 to 28 percent response rate.

When a prospect arrives at the home page, they are welcomed by name and all of their information, such as their phone number, is flowed into the proper fields. This way if a customer wants more information, the site automatically says, "We'd be happy to get back to you. This is your phone number. If it isn't, please provide your correct number," said Morrissey.

An important feature of the Oracle site is a feature that lets people register for Oracle online Web seminars that promote Oracle's suite of products. This helps push the product as well as update its database of customers, said Morrissey.

Oracle is currently using technology provided by NewWorld Commerce, Seattle. NewWorld Commerce's e-marketing campaign generation and management solutions are designed to improve clients' Internet marketing programs and rapidly build loyal online communities. NewWorld Commerce has now packaged this product and is calling it NewWorld Direct. It will be available next month.

Creating an interactive user experience on the site is the main goal of NewWorld's product. "Our product uses e-mail to invite them to a site where they receive traditional marketing call-to-actions like refer-a-friend programs, they can press the 'call me' button and participate in contests," said Morgan Pierce, vice president of sales and marketing, NewWorld Commerce, Dublin. "E-mail is 5 percent of the marketing practice, 95 percent is tracking and interactivity [on the Web site]. E-mail is just the invite because e-mail doesn't really solicit interactivity."

The content of all of the communications, including the Web site, is translated in as many as 20 different languages.

Oracle' s Direct Marketing Division sells Oracle technology products via the telephone to prospects in 30 countries. More than 250 telesales resources initiate over 108,000 outbound phone calls to customers on a monthly basis.

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