TheServiceDepot.com, which has labeled itself “the one stop for all of your service needs,” is planning a $15 million marketing campaign to coincide with its June launch.
The site offers extended warranty service plans, online technical support, trouble-shooting and warranty registration. It also offers a Computer Vault where consumers can save serial numbers and policy numbers. In the event of catastrophe or robbery, the consumer will have this information saved in a password-protected environment. Additionally, it provides e-mail reminders to customers when it's time for a maintenance update.
To get the word out to consumers and service providers, the site’s marketing efforts will include a direct mail, online, print and public relations push.
Since the site is targeting virtually all consumers ages 28 to 55, advertisements are expected to appear across a wide spectrum of trade journals as well as within some of the major consumer books such as Time and People. The ad buys will likely target a number of magazines that focus on computer shoppers, home offices users and do-it-yourselfers.
Banner placements, tie-ins, a referral program and affiliate offerings are all in the works. The site will seek to tie in with obvious matches such as Consumer Reports Online and Kellybluebook.com.
E-mail marketing will likely come later in the game, according to Ed Hamowy, vice president of communications for TheServiceDepot, New Hampton, NY. “We’re not going to do e-mail until we do some advertising.”
The site has been building its list from site registrations — the soft launch version is currently up and running — and through purchases from list vendors as well the staff members’ own industry contacts.
To reach service centers across the country, a 70,000 direct mail piece is being sent out. The piece solicits them to become an authorized TSD service center. It explains that if they meet the site’s requirements, they can start receiving referrals.
From a customer service standpoint, TheServiceDepot.com offers features that are not currently available on the Internet, said Hamowy. For example, the site will offer extended warranties for products purchased on the Web. “Ninety percent of stores offer an extended warranty product. On the Internet, only 10 percent offer them. What do you do when the manufacturer’s warranty runs out? Replacement costs are high.”
TheServiceDepot.com will be able to place a link on a wide variety of sites looking to use its warranty service. “In many cases, we will have [sites that don’t offer extended warranties] link to our site,” said Hamowy.