July 31, 2007, 12:00 AM

IRCE 2007: Report from the Conference



Workshop: Marketing Your
Retail Web Site
June 4, 2007


Finding the payoff in search
Harnessing the Power of Search Engines: Mastering the Complexities of Pay per Click and Optimization
Tom Tweedie, director, consumer direct marketing, Day-Timers Inc.
Cory Nielsen, Internet marketing manager, Woodwind & Brasswind
Rahmon Coupe, president & CEO, Your Amigo

See these other reports from
IRCE 2007:

General Sessions

Afternoon Breakout Sessions

Media Center Interviews

Given Day-Timers` category--annual planners--some standard practices of search engine optimization weren`t working, Tom Tweedie said. Yet Day-Timers is achieving search engine optimization success under the metrics it`s determined to be the most meaningful--new customers, online visibility, organic search referrals and the number of pages indexed by search engines.

Cory Nielsen identified challenges to search engine marketing as technical issues, poor site merchandising, competitor impact, increasing costs per click and more. Nielsen manages his campaigns to gross profit return on ad spend rather than conversion. "A lot of vendors can track that as long as you have the back end to do it," he added.

Rahmon Coupe focused on the long tail in search engine marketing. Because online retailers aren`t constrained by physical shelf space, they can carry products less frequently purchased; sold in ones and twos, they add up, Coupe said. The key is to create web pages optimized for long-tail searches. "More content equals more keywords, which equals more potential traffic," he added.


Fine-tuning e-mail marketing
E-mail Marketing: Being Persuasive, Not Offensive
Ryan Hoffman , e-commerce marketing manager, Overstock.com
Vicki Updike, vice-president, merchandising & marketing, Miles Kimball Co.
Mike Hilts, president & general manager, YesMail

With a mature e-mail subscriber base and other issues, sales from Overstock.com`s e-mail program were stagnating. But an overhaul turned e-mail into one of Overstock`s fastest-growing marketing channels, Ryan Hoffman said. Overstock redefined roles within its e-mail department to improve planning and creativity, increased e-mail relevance with better customer segmentation and increased personalization to re-engage subscribers, Hoffman said.

Vicki Updike shared results of three e-mail strategies at Miles Kimball`s Exposures brand. Customers who received e-mails supporting catalogs spent 18% more than customers who got catalogs only. Customers who got e-mail reminders of sales spent 11% more than those who got postcards. Finally, those who received targeted e-mails spent 14% more than those who received non-specific e-mails.

Mike Hilts said that in the formula of the right offer to the right person at the right time, the "right time" is most important. Both inferred signals, such as product renewal schedules, and observed signals, such as browsing behavior, offer cues on when to e-mail customers with offers, he added.


Leveraging loyalty with affiliates
Affiliate Networks: The New Muscle in Web Marketing
Gordon Magee, director, Internet marketing and analysis, Drs. Foster & Smith
Adam Silverman, director, e-commerce, The Wet Seal Inc.
Stuart Frankel, president, Performics Inc.

About a third of Drs. Foster & Smith`s affiliate customers are new, a third are existing customers who would not otherwise have purchased and a third are cannibalized from other channels, Gordon Magee reported. He said a fellow retailer in the University of Wisconsin eBusiness Consortium confirms similar numbers, suggesting two-thirds of affiliate sales are incremental.

Adam Silverman noted that affiliate marketing is resource-intensive. "Focus on partnering with key affiliates aligned with your brand," he advised. With minimal scale in affiliate marketing, merchants must use their time wisely, Silverman said, and expect 5% to 10% of online marketing revenue to come from affiliates.

Stuart Frankel countered what he termed myths about affiliate marketing, such as merchants` view that affiliates are their sales force. "Affiliates work for themselves," he says. "So marketers and affiliates should partner." Frankel also challenged the notion that affiliate shoppers are cheap and less than loyal, offering Performics data showing affiliate shoppers are wealthier, have children in the home and skew older than the average Internet shopper.


Marketing in a Web 2.0 world
New Age Marketing Tools: Is Today`s Hype Tomorrow`s Help?
Boris Wertz, CEO Abebooks
Pinny Gniwisch, executive vice president of marketing, Ice.com
Jeremy Lockhorn, director, emerging media and video innovation, Avenue A/Razorfish

Web 2.0 may be hyped, but it`s here to stay, Boris Wertz said. Web 2.0`s tools and venues can benefit e-commerce by driving increased "findability" of products with richer product data and by allowing merchants to quickly change merchandising and products based on immediate feedback of customer reviews, Wertz said.

Pinny Gniwisch shared how Ice.com is experimenting with Web 2.0 as another way to reach its audience online, including details about its Sparkle like the Stars blog, featuring jewelry similar to that worn by celebrities. Ice.com created links to numerous fashion blogs. "We get 12,000 visitors a week on our blog and we just have hosting costs," Gniwisch says.

Jeremy Lockhorn noted trends in digital media are affecting advertising, including the proliferation of content, fragmentation of ad distribution networks and the fact that consumers are in control of how they consume media--including advertising. However, "people don`t hate relevant ads," Lockhorn said, noting that digital media by their nature have an opportunity to drive more relevant messages.

Workshop: Mastering E-Payments
& Web Security
June 4, 2007


Choosing an alternative
Beyond Credit Cards: E-Checks, PayPal, Google Checkout & Much More
Alicia Berry, director of operations, DVD Empire
Kelly Day, senior vice president, Discovery Interactive
Jay DeWitt, partner, Glenbrook Partners

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