Motivation Online Finds $200 Offer Not Too Motivating

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Motivation Online, a company that offers employee performance applications to improve productivity, found its recent direct mail offer designed to drive traffic to its Web site (, less than productive.

The call-to-action piece was sent to a highly targeted list of 3,500 directors of sales and marketing as well as other high-level executives who implement employee incentive programs on Jan. 15. The offer was a 20,000-point spending spree (valued at $200) on its Web site redeemable for merchandise items from such high-end companies as Eddie Bauer, Spiegel and The Sharper Image. To receive the offer, the executives had to register at the site.

"The $200 point-spending spree did not generate any leads to the Web page registration," said Eric Webb, vice president of marketing for Motivation Online, Hoffman Estates, IL. "So I'd have to say, at this point, the spending spree amount wasn't enough or isn't the correct offer at this point."

The company is continuing to test other offers in preparation for a larger mailing of no more than 10,000 pieces later this month. At press time, they were planning to test a small 200 to 500 piece "informational teaser" about the site.

The $200 offer mailing was in no way a failure, said Webb. Instead, it illuminates the true value of testing. "As you're rushing to market, you have got to make sure that you test to make sure you're hitting them with an offer they respond to."

The reason the offer may have been ineffective is the fact that $200 is a drop in the bucket for this site's target audience -- which include CEOs and other high-level decision makers. "We may have to offer $1,000 or $10,000. That's just something we'll have to work out," he said.

The site, which is currently seeking venture capital funding, is laying the foundation for a larger campaign in the future. When the funding comes through "we'll have a good idea of where we need to go and who we need to talk to," said Webb. "I don't want to throw a bunch of money out there. We're testing the waters first."

But as other Web sites continue to push highly publicized ad campaigns into every possible marketing medium, some members of the company are getting impatient. "The biggest problem you have is everyone else in the organization is jumping and saying 'we need to get leads and get our name out there,'" he said. "But, you can get your name all over the place [and the consumer will have] no real idea of what your position is and what your message is, and six months later, [the same people will] say you spent all this money and you didn't do anything for us."

The initial drop was coordinated with the company's attendance at Call Center 2000 late last month. One of the primary purposes of the piece was to drive traffic to the company's booth. In that respect, the mailing was successful, said Webb.

In April, the site will begin running print advertisements in trade publications. It is also investigating the use of banners and Web site sponsorships. The lists used for the mailings were purchased from trade publications as well as industry trade shows.

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