September 04, 2006

Four Questions with Angie Brown, VP Marketing, PC/Nametag

This week, I am pleased to welcome Angie Brown to our "Four Questions" segment.

Angie is Vice President of Marketing at
PC/Nametag, a leading catalog and online seller of meeting registration supplies, including nametags, ribbons, lanyards and tote bags. With nearly fifty employees, Angie expects the business, led by Nick Topitzes, to grow by more than fifteen percent this year. Angie's job is to nurture an environment where talented and skilled employees can attract, develop and keep customers forever. Angie has been at PC/Nametag for more than twenty years, but did miss some time while earning her MBA. Amazingly, Angie has three children starting college this fall as freshmen!

Let's get to the questions!

Question #1: Internet marketing changed how marketers measure effectiveness, especially when catalogs are included in the marketing mix. How should a marketer evaluate whether her marketing activities are driving new customers to the website, or are driving repeat traffic?

Measuring the effectiveness of marketing activities has gotten more complex in the multi-channel environment. On top of that, the customers that we want to cultivate and grow are the customers who are operating in more than one channel. Studies show that the best customers are customers who operate in more than one channel. We need to nurture customers who order from the paper book, order off the web site and contact the call center when they have additional questions. Matchback analysis is one tool that helps analyze customer activity. This is especially useful when you do not talk directly to the customer when the customer places orders. Matchback analysis takes the orders within a specified time period and matches them back to an activity, such as mailing the customer a catalog. This type of analysis has pitfalls, since the marketer decides what the rule for matching a transaction with an activity will be. Here is an example of a rule: Any sale from a customer that is received within eight weeks of a catalog drop to that customer is matched to the catalog mailed. Is eight weeks enough time or too much time? The decision greatly affects the results. The process needs to be tweaked over time.

Question #2: In what ways can an online marketer improve customer loyalty? Without a lot of personal interaction between website and a customer, or a catalog and a customer, what does a marketer do to improve the relationship between company and customer?

Customer loyalty can be enhanced for online customers in several ways. First, customers are more likely to return and make future purchases if the process is smooth and the customer gets what they wanted when they wanted and how they wanted. This gets a ... "but of course" response but often this is not the experience that customers have. Give each online customer a customer service point of contact. When orders go awry customers want their issues handled immediately and the best way to do that is with a phone call. How many times are you on a web site and you want to call the company but you can't find their phone number? Customers appreciate working with consultative experts. Establish your company as the expert in your niche. Make it easy to reorder. Send me emails that say "Last year you ordered ...". Send me emails and make me offers for products and services I really want and need. Don't just fill my inbox with emails.

Question #3: Are there any business to business (B2B) marketers that do a good job of marketing to you, and are there tactics that these marketers use that you believe are effective?

Hmmmm, this question has puzzled me. I cannot think of any. Maybe this represents an opportunity?!

Question #4: Who do you look to in order to stay networked on the latest trends in business-to-business Direct Marketing? How do you continue to learn, and how do you continue to improve your marketing skills?

I stay connected to trends in several different ways. First, my co-workers are a rich source of ideas and information. They read something and pass it on. New employees are a good way to learn new ideas. They've had different mentors and experience. Ever time anyone in our office attends an outside conference or seminar, they must make a presentation to interested people about something they learned at the conference. Secondly, I look for variety. I don't always attend the same meeting every year, I look for new conferences. Journals and magazines, over time, become repetitive. I try to subscribe to new ones, to get more variety.

Thank you, Angie, for participating in this week's Four Questions segment!

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