GOOGLEGEAR

... GOES OFFLINE IN SEARCH OF A MORE EFFECTIVE DIRECT MARKETING CAMPAIGN

GOOGLEGEAR's OFFLINE TREK LEADS TO GOLD

Challenge: 

Googlegear, a leading Internet retailer specializing in providing computer components and peripherals at competitive prices, is continually seeking unique and creative avenues to drive people to its Web site and build customer's loyalty. Until recently, the company focused all of its marketing efforts on online promotions, from viral emails to merchant listings and partnerships. While the company's online promotions have proven successful - Googlegear was the seventh most visited site for computer hardware as of April 1, 2000 - Googlegear was eager to add new initiatives to its marketing mix, which might benefit its customers. Further, the company, which gave away thousands of free scanners earlier in the year, recognized the value of offering complementary gifts to consumers as an incentive and brand builder and wanted to build on this strategy.

Solution: 

To complement its online campaigns, Googlegear teamed with Planet Portal to implement its first offline marketing campaign. As part of an incentive, Googlegear distributed a PlanetPortal WebRemote Control to online buyers who requested the device during a five-week period.

PlanetPortal's WebRemote Control is a colorful device, available at any Internet discount computer store, that attaches to a PC, enabling users to instantly access their favorite Web sites. Just like a TV remote control, the device's one-click buttons connect to the sites, information and shopping that interest consumers most. Users can also program the buttons themselves, customizing the WebRemote Control to fit their specific online needs.

In addition to the WebRemote Control, online users also received a pack of five customized WebCards from various companies, including Googlegear, Proxicom, Thomson Financial, The Wall Street Journal Interactive and Giggo.com. 

The customized WebCards are designed to provide users with four unique avenues to tap into exclusive promotions, cash advance offers and discounts on the Internet. Similar in shape and feel to a credit card, consumers simply swipe the card through the device's unique WebCode reader and are instantly driven to targeted messaging and unique content on the sponsor's site. Further, each card is designed with three additional buttons, which link customers to different URLs on the card sponsor's Web site. Each button is tailored specifically to a sponsor's target audience.

These cards can be glued in magazine advertisement inserts, included in direct mailers and offered at point of purchase, and they provide an excellent opportunity for a marketer, including a vice president marketing, to track the origin of a Web site visit.

 

Results:

Phil Yeh, internet marketing executive, was surprised by the positive and quick response to the campaign. He realized early on that users of all Internet backgrounds were enthusiastic about the device. Following are some of the results Googlegear has experienced since it kicked off the campaign on March 13, 2000. Please note that these numbers are based on the five-week period between March 13, 2000 and April 17, 2000. We expect additional results over the next few weeks.

REQUEST RATE HIGH

Customer interest in the PlanetPortal WebRemote Control device was higher than Googlegear expected. PlanetPortal allocated 20 percent of its beta devices to Googlegear, which filled the requests for its allocated devices within five weeks of the March 13, 2000 debut. Overall, 30 percent of Googlegear's customers requested the free device. As of April 17, 2000, 41 percent of the WebRemote Controls had been delivered to end-users. The attach rate of the delivered devices is 34 percent. Compare this to direct mail campaigns, which typically point to three percent response rates as successful.

WEBREMOTE CONTROL USAGE

The top five buttons selected on the Googlegear series WebRemote Control included: Email, Weather Channel, Computers, Entertainment and Bank.

Googlegear experienced additional success, as a default site under the Computer button of the WebRemote Control. The top three selected default sites under the computer button, included:

www.googlegear.com (58 percent)
www.pricewatch.com (19 percent)
www.computers.cnet.com (4 percent)

WEBCARD USAGE

On average, 3.6 URLs were visited per attached user. Overall, consumers swiped any one of the cards an average of 3.3 times and viewed 6.5 URLs. The three customized buttons, which link users to different URLs on the sponsor's Web site, proved to be a significant role in usage among all sponsor WebCards. The company cards affected most by the buttons include Googlegear and Wall Street Journal Interactive, followed by Proxicom, Giggo, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and Thomson Financial.

Googlegear WebCard Success

Regardless of the day of the week or the gender of the user, the Googlegear card, which was swiped an average of 1.54 times per user, ranked highest in popularity among card users.

Fifty-three percent of the action on the Googlegear card was due to its three custom buttons: limited time offer, free scroll mouse and computer bargains. The limited time offer button had a slight edge over the free scroll mouse button, with computer bargains coming in third.

Again, the goal of the campaign was to illicit loyalty from Googlegear customers.

Wall Street Journal Interactive WebCard Success

Fifty-percent of the usage on the WSJ Interactive WebCard was due to the buttons. These included, in order of use, Home, Tech Center and Trial Offer.

 

Proxicom WebCard Success

Forty-seven percent of the usage on the Proxicom card was due to the buttons. These buttons include Internet solutions, Performance and Industries.

Giggo WebCard Success

The three custom buttons proved to be a success for Giggo as well. Thirty-eight percent of the action on Giggo card was due to these buttons, which included, Your Car, Home and Your Loan.

Thomson Investors Network WebCard Success

Thirty-three percent of the action on the Thomson card was due to the buttons. In order of usage, the buttons included: Options, I-Watch and Thomson RTQ.

COST EFFECTIVENESS

The resultant price-per-Web site visit (from either cards or button) was half of what Googlegear normally spends. It cost them on average $.45 per visit versus typical expenditures, which range from $.30 to $2.00. The cost of advertising to drive a user to a site was reduced through the ease of use of the WebCard and WebRemote. Again, these results were derived from a five-week period from March 13, 2000 to April 17, 2000. The cost-effectiveness is expected to change as more end-users receive and install the WebRemote Control.

Googlegear Analysis & Summary:

Following are some of the key points that Googlegear has learned from its campaign with PlanetPortal based on data collected between March 13, 2000 and April 17, 2000.

Offline advertising complements its online campaign.
The WebCard and its customized functions showed promise in attracting users and building loyalty through ease of use and virtual functionality. 
Default buttons on the WebRemote deliver positive results by driving users to predetermined sites.
Limited time offers and giveaways work well with the WebCard as incentives to drive users to a site.
People who had little computer or Internet experience could use the device and showed interest in being able to do so.
Interest in the product was immediate. Thirty percent of customers requested the device when it was offered for free. This is high when compared to direct mail campaigns that usually point to three percent response rates as successful.
The actual attachment rate versus the proposed rate was surprisingly high. From this they learned that customers were finding the device as easy and convenient to attach as it was designed.
The cost of driving users to a website was cut in half using the WebCard or WebRemote. 

Cumulative Usage Graph:

With time, card and button usage are growing at a faster rate than the growth in new users.