Marketers experiment with emerging media channels

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New York—It’s no surprise that many marketers are increasing spending online and that the beneficiary is often search marketing, but that isn’t the only media channel in the spotlight.

Marketers that participated in a panel discussion Wednesday at BtoB’s NetMarketing Breakfast commented on several online tactics they are using or experimenting with that have proved effective in generating leads.

Avaya is using podcasting and short message service (SMS) tactics in its marketing plans. “We have started podcasting cautiously,” said Renee Rodgers, VP, “We’re using that more as a teaser to our campaigns to offer premium content,” she said. “We’re using SMS tactics in APAC [the Asia-Pacific region] right now, and we’re cautiously optimistic about bringing that here.”

Eighty percent of Avaya’s marketing activity centers on the Web, and it has increased its online budget 33% this year, Rodgers said. It is also experimenting with word-of-mouth research and planning, she said.

Ernst & Young is experimenting with “branded entertainment,” said Michelle Lee Puleio, assistant director-national marketing. It began using rich media to pull people in by asking a question regarding a business challenge and giving users the ability to respond. That led to a “full-blown videogame,” which was launched recently, Puleio said.

The game, posted on Ernst & Young’s site, has four levels of play and is tied to a sweepstakes. “If you want to be eligible to win, you have to register,” Puleio said.

Verizon is employing click-to-chat on its Web site, garnering about 500 click-to-chats per month on its business DSL product, with a conversion rate of about 10%. “They often close that customer sale online,” said Brian Price, executive director-online marketing at Verizon.

Verizon combines new technologies with traditional offline media. Price said direct mail is driving 40% of traffic to the company’s microsite.

Geoff Ramsey, CEO of eMarketer, cautioned that “not every new technology will make you rich,” but encouraged companies to experiment with new tactics.

—Carol Krol 
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