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Web response involves a Web microsite that is set up speci cally to receive customer responses to promotions. A microsite differs from a regular company Web site in that it is constructed with a particular group of promotions in mind. The setup cost is much lower. A major company Web site, like www.marriott.com, costs millions of dollars to create and maintain. (This site, by the way, is one of the best on the Web.) Every company needs a main Web site, although most do not need a site that is as complex and powerful as the Marriott site. What we are describing in this chapter is a microsite that can be set up for a one-time fee of $3000 and maintained for $400 per month or even less. This microsite has a database associated with it on the same server. In fact, the two are really part of the same system. As an example of such an email connecting to a microsite, Figure 7-1 shows an email that I developed after one of my speeches. It was sent to all the attendees who gave me their business card during the speech.
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Figure 7-1
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Any data entered into the microsite are stored immediately in the database. Also, the database provides the lookup table for the PIN codes that may be contained in the outgoing email or direct-mail promotions. There are editing procedures stored in the microsite software that keep erroneous data from being entered. As a result: U.S. zip codes are always numbers, and Canadian postal codes are letters and numbers. Phone number area codes always match the address. Email names given by customers are always correct because the responder gets a reward that is distributed by email. The site does not accept erroneous product codes. Dates, ages, and incomes are always within reasonable limits. For example, customers ages are not listed as being over 120 years, and birth dates are not later than today. Data are converted to the proper case, usually upper- and lowercase. Finally, the microsite always has a seamless link to the company s main Web site.
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T h e C u s t o m e r L o ya lt y S o l u t i o n
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Table 7-1 Comparative Media Results
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Mail Incoming costs Data entry Cost per 100,000 Time in weeks Information gained Possible errors Interactivity Personalization $0.35 $0.60 $95,000 3 Medium Moderate None None Email $0.00 $0.60 $60,000 1 Medium Moderate None None Fax $0.15 $0.60 $75,000 1 Low High None None Phone $0.70 $3.50 $420,000 0 High Low Very high High Web $0.00 $0.00 $0 0 Highest Very low High High
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The beauty of Web response is that the customers do all the work. The cost savings are tremendous. Table 7-1 gives the relative costs per response. With mail, email, or fax, it is necessary for a data entry clerk to read and retype the information in order to get it into the company s order ful llment and database system. There is always an error rate. Some companies report an error rate as high as 30 percent, and lots of data are not captured email name, phone number, or correct address, for example. The time delay is signi cant. To keep costs down, data entry is done in batches. As each batch is completed, it is sent electronically to the ful llment and database system. In these systems, there is a limit on the amount of information that you can ask for and reasonably expect to get. The telephone is by far the best of the ve systems. Until recently, most call center operators typed their data into an internal software system and sent the responses to the client s ful llment system in batches. In modern database marketing, the operators have access to the Web and can type the data directly into the client s ful llment and database system through the Web, so there is no delay. Products can be sent out the same day. Operators can make suggestions and cross sales. They can answer questions and coax a customer into buying more. You pay a lot for phone service, but, when it is done well, you get a lot for it. For most companies, it is still the best possible customer response system.
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