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800 and com – Or Lose Money_.pdf

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					                                                       DIRECT RESPONSE INSIGHTS                          BY KENNETH R.P. OSBORN




                                                       800 and .com – Or Lose Money!




                                         t             This past fall, Bengals receiver Chad
                                                       Ochocinco introduced a new breakfast cereal
                                                       to the marketplace, OchocincO’s. It seems the
                                                       pro ball player wanted to have the charity
                                                       Feed The Children benefit by including a plea
                                                       to donate to the non-profit on the cereal box.
                                                       Unfortunately, according to the Cincinnati
                                                       Enquirer, a typo on the cereal box sent callers
                                                       to a seductive-sounding woman instead of
                                                       Feed The Children. The box displayed the
                                                       telephone number 1-800-HELP-FTC. The
                                                       correct number should have been 1-888-
                                                       HELP FTC. The 800 number that appeared
                                                       on the box belonged to a sex line—something
                                                       Ochocinco was ironically unaware of when he
                                                       tweeted his 1.3 million followers with the
                                                                                                            Scott Richards of Dial 800 stated, “While
                                                                                                         anecdotal, this regrettable mishap illustrates
                                                                                                         the fact that so often when people hear “toll-
                                                                                                         free,” their brains go on autopilot and they
                                                                                                         assume “8-0-0.”
                                                                                                            Ochocinco is not the only one to learn the
                                                                                                         true impact of this phenomenon. Just ask Ryan
                                                                                                         Seacrest of “American Idol.” How many times
                                                                                                         have we heard him repeat the prefix of the toll-
                                                                                                         free numbers used during voting? He practical-
                                                                                                         ly pounded it into our heads, yet a large amount
                                                                                                         of the callers still dialed “800” to place their
                                                                                                         votes for their favorite Idol contestant.
                                                                                                            According to Richards, “If a marketer is using
                                                                                                         anything other than 800, say 866 or 877 or the
                                                                                                         newly introduced 855, they should expect that 10
                                                       message, “Start your day with a lil’ suga!”       to 25 percent of their incoming leads would
                                                                                                         make a mistake. And those mistakes can result in
                                                                                                         lost calls and consumer frustration.” No matter
                                                                                                         the size of the campaign, this can cause a tremen-
                                                                                                         dous effect on results. With large campaigns, this
                                                                                                         can mean the loss of millions of dollars.

                                                                                                         Domain Principles
                                                                                                         Now, let’s consider the web. The same goes
                                                                                                         there. Using .net, .tv, etc., is a big mistake. Just
                                                                                                         like the autopilot for toll-free meaning “800”
                                                                                                         in the minds of callers, “.com” is the autopilot
                                                                                                         response for the Internet browser. A marketer
                                                                                                         can post .net in his or her end-tag, yet a good
                                                                                                         portion of the viewing audience will still go
                                                                                                         to .com. If the marketer doesn’t own the .com
                                                                                                         domain, he or she will not get the visits and
     PHOTO BY PIXLAND/THINKSTOCK




                                                                                                         the resulting sales that would have occurred.
                                                                                                            And, there’s more to this than just the prefix of
                                                                                                         the phone number or Top Level Domain (TLD)
                                                                                                         being used (.com, .net). There’s the considera-
                                                                                                         tion of simplicity and recognition. On the call
                                                                                                         center side, there are repeat dialers that can be
                                                                                                         used. It may be common sense, but isn’t it easier
                                                                                                         to remember 800-300-1000 than 877-893-6371?
                                                                                                         Plus, as Richards also explains, “The sequence of

30                                 electronicRETAILER | February 2011

				
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