ZenithOptimedia Direct launches telemarketing unit

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ZenithOptimedia Direct has formed a strategic alliance with Teleperformance Interactive to launch ZOD Telemedia, an offering that treats telemarketing as a media source.

The new unit will offer telemarketing services, including interactive voice recognition options, to ZenithOptimedia Direct clients. It will also offer call service management, database management, strategic planning, research and execution.

"Rather than looking at telemarketing as capturing orders, we're viewing it as a vital media source so that it's incorporated holistically in our clients' total media mix," said Joel Feldman, chief operating officer of ZenithOptimedia Direct, New York.

"Because [telemarketing] can have a significant impact on our clients' bottom line," he said. "They spend all of this money to advertise their product or service and to create commercials and you've got to have a marketing media expert pay attention to the last client touch-point in the process to make sure that the inquiry or order was captured properly and that we can now get the maximum order value out of every call that's received."

ZOD Telemedia will service current clients of ZenithOptimedia Direct. The agency would not disclose which clients will use the new service. But its accounts roster includes marketers like Hewlett-Packard Co., Curves International, AstraZeneca, Schering-Plough and Abbott Labs.

Founded in 2001, ZenithOptimedia Direct is a subsidiary of ZenithOptimedia Worldwide, itself a Publicis Group company.

Teleperformance Interactive is a 17-year-old unit of Teleperformance, a Paris-based firm that operates nearly 56,000 computerized workstations across 263 contact centers in 42 countries and using more than 60 languages and dialects. The company is based in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

This alliance between ZenithOptimedia Direct and Teleperformance Interactive is to elevate telemarketing's status beyond just order taking.

"We don't view ourselves as order takers or order processors," said Ted Sloan, senior vice president of business development and marketing at Teleperformance Interactive, "but as telemarketers in the truest sense of the word in that we bring a great deal of scripting and call flow expertise."

His colleague agreed.

"We take a more marketing approach to interactive voice response," said Matt Bieber, chief operating officer of Teleperformance Interactive. "It's not just about the technology of interactive voice response. It's really about the approach to developing the application, including the scripting, marketing-led approach and best practices."

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