Johnston & Murphy Pushes Feet Online

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Footwear maker and retailer Johnston & Murphy will soon undertake its first pay-for-performance online marketing initiative as part of a new focus to increase Internet sales.


Handled by online marketing services firm Performics, the deal is designed to push adult males between 25 and 54 years old to the company's Web site via links placed on relevant third-party online locations.


"They're looking for us to help build their online business, to help them acquire new customers and to really enhance their presence on the Internet," said Kate Bergin, vice president of marketing at Performics, Chicago, which was previously known as Dynamic Trade.


As part of the open-ended deal, Johnston & Murphy, Nashville, TN, will use Performics' i-Connect service, which will place the footwear brand's link on shopping sites, search engine directories and portals that tend to skew toward men.


Consumers who click on these links will be taken to the Johnston & Murphy site, where they can shop for footwear, apparel and accessories. Performics will get a cut of sales.


"There's no hidden fees," Bergin said. "That's a very important selling point to our clients."


The deal with Performics complements Johnston & Murphy's plan to ramp up its online profile this year. In business for 151 years, the company has more than 100 retail and factory stores that sell upscale footwear for men. It also boasts a catalog and a presence in 3,000 specialty and department stores.


Johnston & Murphy joins a roster of more than 100 clients that use the 2-year-old Performics' performance-based model to drive online sales. The client base includes Eddie Bauer, Spiegel.com, jjill.com, josabank.com, Hammacher Schlemmer, Orvis, proflowers.com, Peapod.com and Discover Financial Services.


Performics offers its clients linkage with targeted partner sites, search engines and e-mail list aggregators. Its pay-for-performance model requires marketers to pay a commission for a sale or customer lead.


"We create a custom network for each client based on their target audience, their goals and their types of offer," Bergin said. "Then the clients approve the plan and we move forward."


Bergin said the pay-for-performance model is not getting the attention it deserves, although it is becoming an important component of online media buys.


According to Forrester Research, Cambridge, MA, pay-for-performance accounted for 39 percent of online buys in 2000, cost-per-thousand was 38 percent, and a hybrid of the two models totaled 23 percent. By 2003, pay-for-performance is expected to account for 51 percent of all online buys, hybrid deals should account for 31 percent and cost-per-thousand is expected to fall to 18 percent.


While selling footwear online is not easy, Johnston & Murphy has the advantage of brand recognition and experience in remote sales courtesy of its catalog.


Johnston & Murphy's site is not only a channel for existing offline and online customers. It also serves as a customer acquisition tool.


"They're looking to build their online business very effectively," Bergin said. "They know there's opportunity. They know their target's looking to buy online."


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