High iQ | Article

man sitting outside with a laptopDiamonds are said to be a girl’s best friend. Melanie Griffith brought her best friends to this year’s Oscar ceremony. The movie star inspired the creation of a pair of custom-designed, diamond-studded sheer black pantyhose, which she inaugurated at the Academy Awards broadcast. The Hanes hosiery, worth $20,000, features custom-cut, 10-point diamonds in an ankle bracelet design hand sewn into the stockings.

Hanes actually made two pairs of these bejeweled pantyhose. The manufacturer created an on-line sweepstakes to give the second pair away. Visitors could register for the 30 day long sweepstakes at Griffith’s Web site, OneWorldLive.com. Of course, there were prominent links to the Hanes site, too.

IQ.com was the ASP that made that sweepstakes sparkle on the Net. Its pop up windows offer an outsourcing solution for any company marketing on the Web, through a wireless device or on interactive TV. The ASP’s goal is help its buyers capture, convert and retain their customers through e-marketing and customer loyalty campaigns.

IQ.com developed a platform a quarter million lines of code — and created a tool set so its customers can private label their on-line marketing and loyalty campaigns. The tool set allows buyers to implant their offers into banner ads. Interested surfers click on a banner and immediately a pop up window appears with an offer. Possibilities include sweepstakes, surveys, lead generators and coupons. Responses change as the customer drills deeper.

Sweepstakes Sweep The Web

All the information from each campaign returns to the client’s data base in real time. “The data helps the marketing department understand consumer activity,” says Richard Mandeberg, iQ.com’s CEO and President.

The company, headquartered in Saratoga, California, was founded in 1997. Mandeberg predicted companies that were holding sweepstakes and offering coupons in the bricks and mortar world would migrate to the Web with the same time-tested strategies. And he believed they would want to do it now, without taking the time to reinvent themselves electronically.

Mandeberg posits the Web is a more accurate tool for marketers than the world of paper slips, because there is a measurable return on investment. IQ.com’s software allows the ultimate customization. If a woman responds, she can get one answer while a man, answering the same query, would receive a more masculine response.

Its programmers built templates to allow this customization. It takes into account that 18 year olds shop one way on the Web and 50 year olds have a totally different orientation. “We help our customers isolate their responses,” says Mandeberg.

He asserts his customers are more apt to “hit a bull’s eye” with iQ.com software. He reports an Internet Ad agency, received only a 0.6 percent click through rate in its e-marketing campaigns before switching to iQ.com’s pop-up windows. Now the agency is enjoying a 30 percent response rate.

Some clients hire iQ.com to actually create their marketing campaigns. Others want the ASP to host their sites. “We offer bulletproof services high bandwidth and high access,” Mandeberg explains.

Why The ASP Model Works For This Market

The CEO believes the ASP model is attractive to his iQ.com’s clients because of the speed of implementation. “Our clients want a quick turnaround,” he reports. He says iQ.com has had customers up and running in just 24 hours. The longest implementation time was 90 days; this buyer required more complicated customizations.

In addition, writing code themselves is expensive. IQ.com has 1,000 man hours of labor in its platform. And then there’s the integration and infrastructure costs the buyers don’t have to worry about. His customers “want a minimal reliance on IT,” says Mandeberg.

IQ.com also offers training for its ASP clients. The ASP encourages its buyers to ask for help when they have a question about its tool set. Training is often a service level agreement (SLA) for its buyers.

Currently the company has its own sales force. Customers also see its application on other sites and surf over to its site to sign up. IQ.com also offers its products to Internet marketing companies like 24/7 Media, AdForce and LinkShare in a VAR arrangement.

It is growing quickly. In just eight months, the client roster jumped from 4 to 40. You don’t need a high IQ to know the company has found its niche.

Lessons from the Outsourcing Primer:

  • The ASP model works for companies in a hurry. IQ.com had one customer on-line in just 24 hours.
  • Marketing on the Web can be tailored very specifically. This improves response rates.
  • Traditional sweepstakes and giveaways are more powerful on the Web because the return on investment can be clearly traced.
  • Training can become an important SLA for ASP buyers.

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