Telemarketing Boosts Response to Security-Camera System

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Only a week into its telemarketing campaign, SeaView Video Technology will need to double its 10-agent staff to keep up with demand for its new video system, a security camera hidden in a light bulb.


SeaView, St. Petersburg, FL, started marketing the product -- known as the SecureView camera -- six months ago using print and TV ads. Its Fort Lauderdale, FL, outsourced call center was used to service field orders. However, at the beginning of September, SeaView's agents began making cold calls as well as follow-up calls to prospects who inquired about the camera. The result was a dramatic increase in sales, said Christy Mutlu, the company's general sales manager.


The company planned to hire an additional 10 agents by the middle of this month.


SeaView received orders for 936 units totaling $280,800 in sales on Sept. 7, a one-day record for the company, which specializes primarily in underwater video cameras. The overall response rate was approximately 25 percent during the first full week of September. Mutlu believes the rate can improve.


Average order sizes have varied, with some customers buying one unit to test the product and others buying more than a dozen, Mutlu said.


Finding the right market has been a challenge for the company because of the camera's multiple applications, according to SeaView owner Richard McBride. The company has marketed to its network of approximately 800 marine-equipment dealers worldwide and has cold-called security firms using purchased lists, Mutlu said.


Because the cameras are compact and, according to McBride, cheaper than other video security systems, the units will have some reach into the homeowner market as well. Government agencies and small businesses may be potential customers.


"It has so many applications, it's a problem," McBride said. "You have to sit back and pick four or five areas."


But SeaView believes it has found an untapped market in schools, which McBride said are hungry for affordable video security systems. He said that because of cost, only about 4 percent of U.S. schools have security-camera systems.


At $400 per unit, SeaView's SecureView cameras can fill the gap, McBride said. The company is initially providing discounts on the product, knocking $100 off the price for those who respond to the telemarketing campaign. The company plans to drop 17,000 mailers to middle-school and high-school principals and will use its inhouse call center staff to handle incoming calls as well as for follow-ups to inquiries.


Telemarketing has added stability to inconsistent sales rates, McBride said. Previously, about 90 percent of consumers who called in response to SeaView's TV and print advertisements only wanted information and did not make purchases.


"We had some substantial days and we had some lean days," McBride said.


But with the initial success of the telemarketing campaign, McBride said he would be surprised if the company had another day of less than $100,000 in SecureView sales.
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