Q&A: Tarik Dekkar, Americangreetings.com

Share this article:
Tarik Dekkar
Tarik Dekkar

Tarik Dekkar, VP of online marketing for Americangreetings.com and its online subsidiaries, on changing strategies

Q: Your background is in e-commerce and multichannel marketing. What trends have had the biggest impact on your approach?

A: I started in offline and saw a rapid decline in the offline world. Online direct marketing is cheaper, and you get instant results. When I got into online in early 2000, I noticed a lot of it didn't have a direct marketing approach but more of a mass media approach, blasting e-mails out and so on. Because it was cheap, there was no optimization or customization of offers or messages.

Q: AG recently made changes to its site, adding targeted landing pages to increase conversion rates. What impact did that have? 

A: I removed the mass media approach and looked at segmentation and customization when I started here two years ago. No two customers are the same. We did a lot of customization, and it had a huge impact on our business. If someone comes to our site and all they've been looking at are funny cards, I'm not going to show them a sympathy or religious card. 

Q: What other improvements would you like to make to the company's site? 

A: The improvements that are the most challenging are integrating all the channels with mobile and social as these continue to grow. In paid search, we can optimize it all, but in Facebook, they don't have the level of customization to the extent in tracking that we have in more established channels.

Q: How has continued weakness in the retail sector impacted your team? 

A: Maintaining retail stores, which we no longer have, which we sold, is difficult. At Circuit City, when I took over direct marketing, there was no integration with retail. Direct marketing allows you to customize a discount. Not everyone needs a discount. Some people need $10, some need $50 off, and this can help you manage your margins. To get a customer to buy something, you have to go the extra mile and differentiate yourself.

The big challenge for us on the Internet is more that people now can just post a birthday greeting on someone's Facebook wall. We don't have the same challenges retailers do, but we have to adapt. It's not about an e-card anymore; it's about the greeting. We have an iPad application coming in November, an iPhone app in January and a birthday calendar launching in November on Facebook. We want to be wherever the consumers are.

Share this article:
You must be a registered member of Direct Marketing News to post a comment.
close

Next Article in Multichannel Marketing

Sign up to our newsletters

Follow us on Twitter @dmnews

Latest Jobs:

More in Multichannel Marketing

Wine.com Uncorks New Digital Marketing Opportunities

Wine.com Uncorks New Digital Marketing Opportunities

The online wine retailer's strategy incorporates different flavors and depths.

93% of Companies Are Ineffective at Cross-Channel Marketing

93% of Companies Are Ineffective at Cross-Channel Marketing ...

Companies point to a lack of resources as the most common reason for lackluster marketing integration, a study says.

Metal Mulisha Races Towards Customization

Metal Mulisha Races Towards Customization

The motocross apparel company boosts mobile and Web conversions through product recommendations and personalized search.