Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Perhaps it is fitting that on voting day I announce a very important appointment at Synergixx.  Today we inagurated Synergixx's new President.  I am proud and excited to have, Scott Swanson, one of the most outstanding members of our industry and my long term friend, accept this position.  Effective today he is the new President for our growing company.  Below is the press release we have sent out!


November 2, 2010

Scott Swanson, President
Synergixx LLC
Synergixx LLC introduces Scott Swanson as President of Synergixx

Sewell, NJ – Synergixx LLC, a leading company that provides high quality, results-orientated campaign development and sales driven inbound telemarketing to the direct response industry has announced the promotion of Scott Swanson as President of Synergixx.

Charlie Fusco, CEO of Synergixx, said about the promotion, “Synergixx is going through an expansion phase both in its campaign development and in-house sales center and we feel Scott’s operational background will help direct and implement this growth. Scott has the experience, knowledge and the ability to take Synergixx into new areas of business while maintaining our company’s ‘clients’ satisfaction’ emphasis. I couldn’t ask for anyone better to take on this very important challenge.”
As President, Scott’s primary focus is to strategically maximize Synergixx’s revenue while enhancing customer experience.
You can reach Mr. Swanson at scott@synergixx.com or at 800-951-9032.

Congratulations Scott!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Insider Radio Tip!

If you haven't been combining radio and web marketing NOW IS THE TIME!

Check this out!

The percentage of U.S. adults that have visited a radio station’s website in the past month rose to 17.7% in 2010, up from 12.8% in 2006, according to the Media Audit. The study of 80 markets also finds that nearly three-quarters of radio website visitors are considered heavy or moderate listeners, listening to radio for almost three hours per day on average.

The findings demonstrate the sales value of station website advertising when bundled with on-air audiences. According to the study, 88% of monthly radio website visitors have made one or more e-commerce purchases in the past year, compared to 63.1% of heavy radio listeners. What’s more, 36.7% of radio website visitors make twelve or more online purchases in a typical year — 61% higher than heavy radio listeners. “Advertisers looking to bolster awareness, online transactions and website traffic could do well by combining radio spots with radio website ads, rather than advertising on radio alone,” the study concludes.

The adult alternative format indexes the highest among monthly station website visitors – 33.8% of adult alternative listeners have visited a radio station website in the past month, followed by alternative (31.6%), sports, (29.4%), news/talk (27.1%), rock (26.9%), public radio (25.8%), hot AC (25.8%), classic rock (25.7%), contemporary Christian (25%) and dance CHR (24.4%).

Ask me how to make Web-Radio work for you!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Where Did All My TV Calls Go? (and where has Charlie been?)

Hello again!  I've been gone a while because the direct response industry has been one wild ride this year and every spare moment has been dedicated to helping my clients maximize sales dollars.  My job is certainly not done yet - this year promises to hold more ups and downs!  But for this moment let's talk TV...

The last two weeks in TV land (last week especially) have delivered SOFT, SOFT results for TV infomercials.  October, affectionately known as Red October, historically delivers up and down results. This year my industry counterparts agree that results are about 20% lower than even past Octobers.  People are not calling as much and those who are calling are not as easy to sell.  We can blame the TV infomercial ads, media rates, politcal races, the "recession" and several other contributing factors except that blame doesn't add to our ROI.

The real focus needs to be on how to ride out SOFT results without leaving money on the table.  Here are a few tips/tricks that may help your campaign get out of the "red zone" and into the "green zone".

1. Creative - change it up!  Slight tweaks in your CTA and product offer can help drive in the extra calls you need to weather lower response times.  There are ways to test tweaked creative without adding to your production and dubbing costs too much.  Similarly, make sure you choose the right media to test your tweaks.  TWEAKS: try FREE SHIPPING, an EXTRA BONUS GIFT, HARD offer to SOFT OFFER, BOGO, add in your 800# more frequently.  Or be daring and cut your half hour show down to 3 or 5 minutes and expose your core message to a new audience with a better CPM!

2. PUMP Your Agents Up - your profit model may not support higher sales commissions to sales agents long term, however, they could keep your continuity pipeline filled short term.  A call center SPIFF per order goes a long way to self-motivate agents to go that extra mile.  A well thought out SPIFF can temporarily boost close rates 3%-5%.  Work with your sales manager to develop a SPIFF program that works to fill in the CPC, CPO, or ROI deficits you're experiencing.  A poorly executed SPIFF can actually work against you so plan it well.

3.  Same Day Recovery - if you're using a Live Agent center check into their ability to do Recovery Calls in real time.  If they can dedicate the agents to this program quickly draft a Recovery Script.  They should target customers within an hour of their initial inquiry.  The script should have two parts:  a new attempt to close the initial sale and a drop down option that makes the decision to purchase easier for the customer (ex. pay plans, trial offer, reduced order size, sample sizes).  Adding an effective Same Day Recovery program to you inbound center can add another 5%-12% to your daily orders.

4. 24-Hour Outbound Calls - if you are not set-up with an outbound center that can call your customers back within 24 hours - you need to be.  Sales are made on inpulse.  Time kills desire.  Your outbound phone script can imitate your Sales Recovery script.  Make sure the customer list that is passed to the outbound center is scrubbed for Same Day Recovery connects.  Again, expect to capture another 2-3% in orders from a well run outbound campaign.  If you think you do not have enough daily leads to support an outbound campaign - think again.  There are centers that specialize in limited-lead base campaigns.

5. Micromanage Your Web Hits - you should be converting between 10%-22% on your average website driven by TV traffic (even more on some offers).   The easiest way to maximize sales on your website is to make email capture your first priority to allow for remarketing.  Check the legal regulations on email remarketing.  But aside from email captures there are several "technical" tricks your web specialist can add to your page that keep your customers engaged initially and even afer they leave your page.

Bottomline, don't leave money on the table no matter what time of year!

Cheers for now... let's talk soon!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

How Do You Socialize?

I recently came across this article on "10 Small Business Social Media Marketing Tips".

Check it out!  This article breaks down how to get started using social marketing methods to drive your business.  Good stuff!

However, it does not really cover two important points about social marketing.  In order to get the results you desire when "socializing" you have to master technique and have tenacity.  Here are two points I would ad to the great information in the article above.

1. Accountability!  How do you decide if the time put in equals revenue recieved back?  To determine if you are increasing your business, client base, or revenue stream you will need to track and chart your social makreting efforts just like you would a TV, Print or Radio campaign.  Come up with a number that represents how much you have invested in the social marketing campaign (hourly rate, % of a salaried employees time, cash outlay to hire a pro).  Then come up with a charting mechanism to log followers, comments, downloads, views, or even better phone calls from your social marketing efforts.  Track the activity that is generated from your tweets, posts, blogs and be sure to set a time for a review of the data.  You should anticipate about 30% of a full work week to be spent driving a social media campaign.  You should allow for 3-6 weeks before deciding how the campaign works for your business.  A big mistake many make is to judge their social media results too quickly.  The trap is thinking the internet is instant - remember that the internet is driven by people.  By tracking the response to your efforts you will be able to determine your Revenue Over Ivestment (ROI) and understand what drives your customer base better.

2. Content!  You must be able to generate creative, compelling and constant content to be successful.   Social media is about engaging the virtual audience and this requires material that is worth their virtual time.  Are you engaging through text, images, videos, interactive games, blogging, discussion boards, contests, ect?  Are you posting material that is both entertaining but effective at linking to your key messaging?  Are you able to seed the virtual world with enough content that it spreads virally and quickly?  In order to manage a social media campaign as a meaningful way to drive more cutomers to your business you must have a very creative person/s that can spend a large part of their time "socializing"

Read the article.  Consider these two points.  Then do something social... follow this blog, make a friend on Facebook, log in to your LinkedIn account, or watch and comment on a video on YouTube.  If you want social marketing to work for you then you have to work to be social.

Let's chat again soon somewhere in Cyberspace...

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Reality Revolution!

Thanks to one of my producers for stumbling across this article on reality shows and passing it along!

The Reality Revolution
It's a quick read and filled with thought-provoking ideas.

I generally mock 90% of the reality shows and actually have called them a "fad".  Yet, I must admit that their popularity (and influence) cannot be denied.  It feels like a new reality show is popping up everyday.  My big take-away... viewers are desperate for seemingly 'authentic' content.  Gone are the days of laugh tracks and formula-based sitcoms and soaps.  Just as Facebook, Twitter and other social sites have revolutionized our world by providing unlimited, customized and 'authentic' content at the click of a button, reality shows are doing the same.  We have an evolving appetite for 'authentic' entertainment and while some might argue reality shows to be the "cheap all-you can eat buffet meal" - America is gobbling it up.

SIDE NOTE: 'Authentic' - I feel needs to be in constant quotes because I wonder if it really exists anymore.  

Keep a close eye on how reality shows evolve over the next 8 months because they will have a great impact on how we market to consumers and maintain healthy brands in a culture that seems less and less loyal to any brand.

Currently, I'm working on a reality show,  I'm creating the content and the machine.  Will it be the groundbreaking show that I envision?  I hope and then again... most shows can be fixed with big hair, tanned abs and a little yelling so we can always make it work, right?

Stay tuned.

Monday, May 3, 2010

5 Things I Found Interesting In Our Changing Advertising World!

Thoughts I had on things I read...

THING #1: JellyBelly Jelly Beans (one of my favorites) have joined the anti-aging revolution!  In 2008, Superfruits were identified as one of the Top 10 Global Consumer Trends, according to DataMonitor.  Beverage companies, cereal manufacturers and most certainly supplement manufactuers have driven this trend successfully - and now so have Jelly Beans!  Now you can get the "power of antioxidants" in a jelly bean with 100% natural flavors like Acai, Blueberry, and Pomegranate.  While I don't really believe these tatsy treats will help with my anti-aging crusade I'm definitely looking forward to sampling!  And why not - if I have to eat sugar why not let it be "healthy for me"?  The point is that we cannot ignore consumer trends EVEN if they come and go because just like FAD DIETS there is a large segment of your consumer group that responds to trends feverishly.  What other trends were started in 2008 that could help you boost sales in 2010:
  • Go Green! - how can your campaign or product save the planet?
  • Go Social! - how have you incorporated Twitter, Facebook and other social media into your marketing?
  • Go Mobile! - how can text messaging and Apps increase your customer loyalty?
  • Online Video! - have you made your product or service accessible online in :60 video clips to drive sales?
  • Sell  Services! - have you tried turning your product into a service rather than a widget?
I can help you strategize new ways to revitalize your product if you are willing to try something different next quarter.

THING# 2: Chocolate is always in style!  According to Nielsen, dietetic chocolate sold in 2009 showed a 3.6% increase with a $172 milion in sales.  What does this say to us marketers?  Embrace niche marketing!  As DR marketers we are taught to cast the widest net possible.  However, the increase in dietetic chocolate shows that people who are restricted tend to respond more intensely.   If you've been selling a product or service that addresses the masses try testing a niche campaign where you solve a specific problem.  My favorite niche markets right now include: bladder control, Mom nutrition, discounted shopping opportunities, hunting, and religious products and services.  My insider information says these are catagories to watch this year!  How can you customize your product or service to increase sales in new areas?  Let's brainstorm together!

THING #3:  People need to laugh.  Laughter is the best medicine.  In difficult economic times people will more easily release their hold on spending dollars if they are entertained.  This has been proven through the wildfire spread of certain online videos.  The more entertaining a video, the faster it spreads  across the internet reaching consumers that would otherwise never be exposed to your product or service.  Perhaps it is the lower production costs required on the internet that makes some marketers bold enough to enagage in customized online video campaigns when they will not spend money testing humorous concepts on traditional radio and TV campaigns.  Look at campaigns like FreeCreditReport.com for an example of a comedy driven DRTV campaign that really drives response. Can you "make fun of" your product or service without damaging the brand.  Check out www.iclicknation/2008/11/rules-for-spoofing/ for rules for making a Spoof video of your own.  The other trick is finding terrestrial advertsing methods that allow you to test new concepts under the radar.  By way of example check out www.emailsbycrazypeople.com as a place to buy online ads - the longer they read the more chance they'll click!

THING #4: Life Coaches... does everyone have one but me?  www.lifecoach.com When I first went to this site I was amazed as it really never occured to me that people would pay to have someone else tell them what to do with their life.  I became curious about the Life Coach industry after discovering that 4 of my friends had become Life Coaches themselves and are actually making some decent money at it.  Upon further investigation I predict this newest phenomenon to be the next big product marketing roller coaster since the Self Help Book revolution started.  Mark my words:  Life Coaches are the in-thing and have the potential to be as highly profitable as any multi-level marketing company ever was!

THING #5: Consumers want their 15-minutes of Snookie-Fame.  For those of you following the Jersey Show Reality Show you will automatically understand the Snookie reference.  And for those who have never seen it (like me) you must know about this woman who is all over the news and in magazines.  She is proof that consumers are craving new and authentic content.  The amount of product placements that have surfaced around this fast-tracked reality star show marketers that consumers are willing to accept a new kind of celebrity endorsement.  This is great news for marketers!  Consumers are being groomed to believe they have what it takes to be a 15-minute celebrity and they crave it.  YouTube contests, Facebook contests, testimonial collections, and sampling events can all be used to provide consmers an opportunity for their own 15-minutes of Snookie-Fame. Use this to your advantage!  Look to guerilla marketing and a clever promotion to help you accumulate priceless footage of your product being used 'reality show style' and build a stable of believable testimonials too!  Make sure you take advantage of radio and TV stations as they are dying for great content and can help you in many ways.

More to come...

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

You Need More Than Just a "Great Offer" These Days...

It's been a while since I've had the opportunity to write anything in this blog universe... been swamped trying to sell products in a time when "buying" is the last thing on the consumer agenda.  It's a daily grind: managing media, pushing close rates, perfecting productions, driving web hits, and analyzing the details of it all takes more focus than ever.  Oh boy- all this sparked a new kind creativity in developing sales methods... so here's a few notes on different things we are doing to make sure that our advertising is more than just "Great Offers".

1. Re-Write your call center script!  In the past three weeks I have re-written half a dozen inbound and outbound sales scripts.  The goal?  Higher sales conversion and higher AOV.  The method?  Encourage larger orders by speaking to the customer's sense of values and bargins in our current economical environment.  The script has to be delivered conversationally.  The script has to be peppered with "check-ins" to make sure that skeptical buyers stay focused on making a buying decision rather than being aloud to think about how much they are spending.  The key? K.I.S.S. - Keep It Simple Short!  A script re-write is good for a 3-5% increase in sales!

2. Real Time Outbound!  With close rates down across the industry Outbound Call Centers have plenty of leads coming their way.  Time is of the essense.  Try calling your customers back within an hour or less of the first time they called in.  Not only will you see a higher close rate on outbound calling but you will see full sized orders more often than reduced priced orders.

3. Change Up Your Offer!  Now more than ever consumers have a definite opinion on what a "Great Offer" really is.  If you are running a Risk Free Trial - try testing a Buy One Get One Free offer.  If you are giving away a Free Gift - try giving away a Big Discount and a Free Gift.  If you are promising a 30-Day money back guarantee -try a double your money back guarantee.  If you rely on soft offers - switch to a hard offer.  Try the same advertising with three different offers.  Many of my advertisers are seeing that some markets respond better to one offer than the other.  Figuring out what you can "give up" on the front end of your advertising is easy when you model out how it looks on the back end of the advertising.  Currently, I have 3 campaigns running with a minimum of 4 Offers each.  This will make your call center work harder and your media buyer buy smarter.  But it's worth about a 5% lift!

4. Change how you buy media.  Traditionally, advertisers go for the most cost-effective media (or the best CPM's).  I have been looking at media schedules from a completely different perspective lately.  Where are the most people located that will BUY from me as opposed to just CALL me?  Looking at it this way, I am purchasing media that is less cost effective on a CPM basis but is out performing lower cost media for two reasons: 1) I am reaching a more "buyer-ready" market 2) I am playing to the call center's strengths so calls come in when the call centers have the best sales staff available.  Customers are more motivated to buy and sales reps are more motivated to sell.

5. Stop buying traditional media without  "non-traditional" add-ons!  These days we are forcing our radio stations to include podcasting, short forms spots, web links and other value added elements to enhance the traditional media.  This can be done in print and TV as well.  Online video placement, audio streaming, endorsed-web campaigns, social media optimization... you need to incorporate these mediums into your campaigns.

6. Stop making commercials and start making entertaining content.  Consumers are tired.  Consumers are stressed.  Consumers would rather laugh than listen.  This lack of listening is why many advertisers are seeing a decline in their respose rates.  I am working on several campaigns to cusotmize their sales message into entertaining and content driven programming.  Invent a spokesperson, create a social following, encourage consumers to talk about your product, and feel free to feature your product in very different ways.  Traditional advertising laws DO NOT APPLY!

If you are looking for a quick way to spark your sales- call me for a quick chat and I'll give you some more tips.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Duke and The Doctor Are In The House!

Synergixx has just secured an exclusive relationship with the fantastic Hosts of America's #1 Health Talk Show - Duke and the Doctor!  This radio advertising package combines their strengths of educating the audience and getting them excited about your products with Synergixx expertise in converting calls to orders and using radio to insure TV success!

If you have a health related product and want to see how it works in a 1/2 radio format, Live Endorsement format and customized radio placement format - all for one low price - with value-added bonuses - then call me today and see if this is the right fit for your product!

Natural Products/Housewares/Response Expo - See You There!

Fisrt Quarter Proves Time Does Fly! 

For those of us in the direct response world 1st Quarter is an important time in our business.  It's sets the pace for our year in more ways than one.  So, if Jan/Feb are any indication of the 2010's pace - hold on to your seats!

Between launching new shows, testing new media, reacting to new legislation in the merchant processing world and attending a Mega Event in New Orleans we DR Marketers have been busy.  And while many believe 1st Quarter to be weaker than in the past others are buzzing about the new opportunities.

At Synergixx we have amazing opportunities for our clients and are always creating new ways to sell your products so be sure to check in with us for more information if your're looking for a way to pump up your 1st Quarter Sales!

Get ready now to meet with Synergixx at some amazing industry events!

In terms of New Opportunities I encourage everyone to check out http://www.expowest.com/! I'll be at this show for 2 days on the 11th and 12th of March looking for the latest and greatest in products, spokespeople and new revenue opportunities.  I'll also be catching up with current clients and industry experts getting the real scoop on what's really makng money on the world of Natural Products - and it is more than just pills and potions I assure you!  I'm a 13 year veteran of this show and can honestly say you will be glad you visited.  If you want to "talk shop" in Anahiem give me a shout and we can chat over wheat grass or whatever the newest health craze tonic is...

For those of you headed to the Windy City on March 14th for Housewares - make sure you say hello to Scott Swanson who will be in town.  There is so much happening at Synergixx that can help your business so find him in the halls!

Mark your calendars now!  Response Expo in San Deigo is coming up in May.  Not only is this show being held on my birthday but it'll also mark Synergixx's 10 Year Birthday too!  It's great networking.  Keep an eye out for an invite to Synergixx's Birthday Bash invitation!

See you soon!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Remember Sales Basics When Managing Your Call Center Script!

Here are a few notes to remind us all of what we already know is true!

Many of you send calls to a call center where you hope that Live agents answer the phone and "Nail-the-Sale".  You hope this because generally a Live agent can sell MORE per call than an Interactive Voice Response System (IVR)- and that's what you want - MORE REVENUE PER CALL.  So, let's look at some basic selling techniques we all know - but may have forgotten.

We know that personality will improve your sales performance: People like to do business with people they like. DOES your sales script have personality?  DO your phone reps like your product.  There are a few tricks to make both of these answers YES.

You've heard the terms 'expectant attitudes achieve excellent results'. 'Think positive.'  'Expect to make the sale.'  'Weasel words are a waste. Don't beg (weasel) for a sale!'  DID you know that many front-end offers set your telemarketer up to BEG for a sale from your customers.  The LIVE agent may read the script verbatim but will lose out on the sale most of the time IF the offer sets up the BEG!  Begging offsets great call response many times.

'Consistent calls create consistent cash: Take and make more calls. Stay in your seat longer.'  Many marketers send too few calls to a call center when testing LIVE agents and settle for less than optimized performance at the IVR level because they are afraid to lose money on agents that aren't up to par.  Building a sales team extension of your company may "hurt a little" the first few weeks but a little stamina on your part should lead to "Consistent calls create consistent cash!"  Try not too spend more testing media on your product and less on your LIVE agent center.

'Making decisions makes dough.' Decisions are emotional, so sometimes it is tough for your customers to make the decision to buy your products or services. Remember that a LIVE agent can do what an IVR cannot - think on their feet!  Use this aspect of the LIVE agent and make sure you don't give away all the goodies in your commercial.  Customers are calling in because they had an emotional response to your ad.  Give your LIVE agent one surprise bonus that the can use in the sales script to keep that emotion going on the sales call - this pushes average close rate numbers over the top!

Have you heard the phrase: 'Three times scores three points!'  In a LIVE agent sales center you can put this phrase to good use - especially in boutique shops.  The initial call in to the LIVE agent (1X) with you ideal script pitch, a manager's special for No Sale customers to be pitched within 1/2 hour of the initial pitch (2X) and a Free Sample / Catalog / Video that can be use to set-up an outbound call shortly after (3X).  More and more I am seeing marketers capture only an email address and then later send their NO SALES customers an email.  In my opinion, you didn't use your Inbound Sales Script to the fullest in this case.

If you have a sales script that is 'floundering' call me at Synergixx and I'll show you how to reel in sales gold with it!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Check Out This Narly Video! And Join Me in NOLA!

On February 1st the Electronic Retailing Association descends on New Orleans and hundreds of direct marketers from all over the world will spread like a virus through the city.  On the 3rd at 4:30p many savvy direct marketers will gather in one room to hear a discussion called    Viral Marketing: Real World Word-of-Mouth Tactics (http://www.eragreatideas.org/content/education.php#viral) at which I will moderate a great panel of experts.  The purpose?  How do we sell more product using viral marketing techniques?

While I won't ruin the surprises we have in store for those attending I will share an example of viral marketing that provides insight into the topics we will cover.  Please watch this video for a 1:38 and then read below: Guy Has Glasses Tattooed On His Face

I'm sure watching the video was no where near as painful as getting that tattoo but I winced the whole way through anyway.  This video is only one of RayBan, as in the popular brand of sunglasses, newest video releases.  Some might say that with 4.5 million views on YouTube alone it is the most successful to date for RayBan.  Even though not all of RayBan’s videos were this big of a hit; “The Kiss”, “Human Zoo” and “Streaker” for example, RayBan is text book example of how online video can reach millions.

Did they sell any sunglasses?  No one has the real answer because without an 800# or unique URL the effect is sales are hard to pinpoint.  But I'd be willing to bet they sold at least 5 pairs of $100 RayBan sunglasses.  (Conservatively:  4,500,000 views X .001 click to video rate X .001 purchase rate).  And we haven't considered yet that the video was uploaded to more video portals than just YouTube so my conservative math is just way too conservative.

  1. Did the video increase the brand recognition?
  2. Did the video have the same effect as a :30 or :60 second TV video?
  3. Did the video reach an entirely new audience that traditional advertising would never hit?
  4. What is the life-span of the effect, if any, this video had on RayBan customers, existing or potential? 

Here is what we do know!  RayBan online video viral marketing has a sort-of-WTF feel to it.  So, you know you have to pass this type of video onto at least 3 of your friends, if not post to your Facebook page.  You know they will make the same faces you did while watching the video so how can you resist passing this along?  Go ahead, pass this viral video along - I'll wait...

...Then join me in New Orleans for answers to the questions I just posed.  And as a free bonus, if you're sitting in the audience you'll get a special tool that "cures out of control viral marketing".

See you there!