Minolta Corporation is using a new technology called e-response to keep better track of how many leads are generated by promotional campaigns and which dealers the leads are sent to.
Produced by Interactive Marketing Group, Allendale, NJ, the technology allows Minolta to view campaign results taken over the Web and telephone in real time. It involves using what IMG calls active server pages, specially designed Web sites that are programmed to prepare and run reports based on specific campaign variables. Prospects who prefer to respond to promotions through the Web will actually enter their responses directly onto these active server pages when they call up the promotional Web site listed in their promotion materials. Meanwhile, call center agents work with these pages when taking responses from prospects who prefer to answer by telephone.
“The thing I like is that we get information instantly,” said Nancy Gehring, national program marketing manager for Minolta. “And the other thing is that leads are automatically dispensed. Before it was very hard to get the database up to date. It was hard to know who all the leads went to. Some of them could have gone to dealers who no longer carry our product.”
Minolta, Ramsey, NJ, a subsidiary of Minolta Ltd., Japan, has been using IMG for inbound telemarketing and other services for seven or eight years, but it is in the last year that the optical and imaging equipment company has begun using the new real-time campaign tracking technology.
In one recent campaign for Minolta copiers that was conducted using the new technology, 33,000 mail pieces were sent to prospects in five dealer areas. The mail pieces invited prospective customers to choose one of five videos they would like to receive. The selected video, along with a tub of popcorn, would then be hand-delivered to the prospect's workplace by a Minolta sales representative. The piece was dropped in August, and prospective customers could respond through e-mail, the telephone, or the mail, said Gehring, adding that the majority of Minolta's sales leads come in over the Internet.
The promotion resulted in 252 leads as of Oct. 27, when Gehring stopped tracking it. While the response rate might seem small by consumer products standards, Gehring noted that each lead was a sales call for a copier that costs approximately $30,000. Dealers had the option of receiving the lead in real time on their computer or, if they preferred, through fax or other methods.
Because the information was so trackable, several dealers have been able to report sales that resulted directly from the promotion, including one who reported that he converted 61 leads into 7 sales and another who converted 46 leads into 3 sales. The amount of leads, coupled with the results reported back by the dealer, will aid Minolta in convincing other dealers to participate as the company tries to expand the promotion nationwide.
The speed with which the company receives the information means that in the case of promotions that include a series of mailings, campaigns can be modified while they are in progress, said Peter DeCaro, telemarketing and telecommunications director for IMG.
“All work is viewed by clients in real time — clients can react based on this,” DeCaro said. “They can analyze data and decide what to do next, hour by hour, minute by minute.”
Next on the agenda for IMG is enlisting clients to a test using off-site transferring, said DeCaro. Using off-site transferring in connection with the product would mean that call center agents could transfer customers to a company representative working off site, who would also be keyed into active server pages. The off-site representative would be able to build on information that the call center agent had just entered in the first phase of the customer's phone call.