Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Direct Marketing Success Story Pt. 5

JDS: How has today's technology helped you?

Peter: It helps us tremendously. We try to hire the best people no matter where they live. So this requires us to communicate with these employees through online and other technologies that weren't around when I started my business. For example, technology allows us to rapidly communicate ideas, strategies, results, etc. both internally and with our clients, which results in us running our business and our clients' direct response media campaigns more efficiently. New technologies have also enabled us to create a proprietary media-targeting platform that allows us to track, analyze and optimize results in real time, which gives us a leg up on our competitors.

JDS: How have things changed in marketing since you started, and how has it stayed the same? What do you think the future holds for marketing your company?

Peter: There's been a definite shift from offline marketing to online marketing over the last five years. I see the online portion of our marketing efforts continuing to grow. The media industry is undergoing profound changes. There's been a dramatic shift in the way marketers are advertising their products and services over the last 10 years. When I first got into the direct response advertising business it was generally thought to be a medium where people would sell slicers and dicers on late night TV. Today, marketers have seen the way that advertising can be measured on the Internet and now they are looking for this same type of measurement in their offline media, such as TV, radio and print.

In addition, the average tenure of a CMO is now only 23 months and they are under increasing pressure to deliver a ROI from their marketing efforts. So marketers are now looking for the type of measurable advertising programs we can offer through direct response marketing. Koeppel Direct's positioning in the marketplace has also evolved over time. We started off as a direct response television media buying agency. Now we've branched into offering our clients multi-channel direct response media buying, including TV, online, radio, mobile and print, in order to efficiently reach consumers through a wide range of media options available to them in today's more fragmented media environment.

JDS: What are your future goals for your company?

Peter: I feel that we are well positioned to capitalize on the trend of clients demanding more of a return on investment from their marketing expenditures, which should translate into continued growth for Koeppel Direct. However, there will always be new challenges that we will face, such as TiVo's affect on consumers viewing of commercials, Google's impact on the media business and consumers gaining more control over the media they consume. So we are constantly assessing theses challenges and adapting our business strategies to address these types of changes in the marketplace.

JDS: How educated do you think you have to be to start and build a business? Do you think you need a college education to be successful? Or do you think any average person can start and build a business in today's world, if they work hard and are persistent?

Peter: I don't think you necessarily need a college education to be a successful entrepreneur. There are many examples of successful entrepreneurs who didn't attend college or dropped out of college to start their company. Both Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg, who started Facebook, dropped out of Harvard and Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed College. And all three of them are billionaires today. I went back to school to get an MBA because I didn't have a formal business background and I thought it would provide me with the basic business knowledge needed to effectively run a business. I also thought it would allow me to be considered for certain jobs that require that type of degree. A good business education can be helpful, but many people have built great companies without a college degree.