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Watkins Manufacturing gets a handle on marketing spend with AdTrack’s Web solution

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By Nina Barrett

Challenge: Watkins Manufacturing, producer of HotSpring Spas, the No. 1 selling brand of portable hot tubs in the world, was supporting its global network of dealers with a mix of direct response television, print advertising and Internet banner ads, among other channels. But, said Marketing Programs Manager Susan Strible, "We were spending that advertising money without any idea how it was performing for us."

Solution: Watkins followed up a referral to AdTrack, a 26-year-old Cedar Rapids, Iowa, company with a Web-based umbrella lead-fulfillment solution called Customer Acquisition Management (CAM). Dan Rogers, AdTrack’s VP-corporate development, said he locates CAM’s effectiveness in its unique capability to "intercept the lead, no matter what the source." While most companies handle lead management with a patchwork of internal tracking and outsourced fulfillment, AdTrack centralizes the whole process under one roof. All data on incoming leads are captured on a hosted Web site that can pinpoint their source. Leads are then electronically profiled—including those that may be valid but not yet ready to buy.

"So many clients just go for the low-hanging fruit and only pursue the ones that are ready to buy," Rogers says, "but our attitude is, you bought and paid for that lead; you might as well develop it." CAM then distributes the leads to the appropriate dealers and continues to track their status throughout their follow-up. The tracking system is supported by additional professional services, including fulfillment, in-bound and out-bound telemarketing services and print-on-demand brochures and direct-response mailers.

Results: Watkins’ Strible said dealers have responded enthusiastically to several features of the new system, including the elimination of cumbersome paper tracking systems and the fact that conversion rates are immediately apparent. "It’s inspiring to them to be able to see that the more follow-up they do, the better their outcome with the lead," she said.

But the bottom line, Strible said, is that Watkins now knows exactly which parts of those advertising dollars are effective and which are wasted. "AdTrack," she said, "has given us a direct way to associate a sold-spa with the specific ad buy that generated it."

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