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Five Questions For Jay Aber – President, 247 Canada

_Jay Aber, is President of “24/7 Canada Inc.”: and one of the industries most influential leaders. He is a member of the Board of Directors and the Internet Best Practices Task Force, and Chairs the Emarketing Council for the “Canadian Marketing Association”: He is also on the Board of the “Interactive Advertising Bureau of Canada”: He is the founder and past president of “AIMS”: (Association of Internet Marketing & Sales), Canada’s largest association of Internet sales professionals and marketers. He is also a regular columnist with “Canadian Direct Marketing News”: ._
_As division president, Jay has built 24/7 Canada into the leading permission-based email list manager/broker and Internet advertising sales company in Canada._
*One Degree: Congratulations on the launch of 24/7 Search in Canada. How has the market responded so far?*
The market has been very positive. Many of our clients are first timers, or are in traditional marketing vs. IT, so the fact that we are solid marketers introducing them to search marketing means that there is already a connection or comfort level established. Our clients so far run the gamut from universities looking to attract applications from a wider population and encouraging people to apply on line, to tour companies trying to fill charter flights to the UK, to professional sports teams looking to sell incremental tickets. All have found paid search to be a great way too boost their acquisition campaigns. And with our proprietary Decide DNA technology, we are able to automatically optimize bids, rank and creative to achieve ROI targets across multiple search engines. We’re also helping Canadians take advantage of the Yahoo! Search Paid Inclusion opportunity — another pay per clickthrough search channel that ensures hard to index Web pages and content are listed in the Yahoo! Search (ex-Overture) engine.
*One Degree: Some people (and by that I mean me) have questioned the value of e-mail as an acquisition tool. How do you answer concerns about poor ROI and possible brand damage from ill-conceived e-mail acquisition campaigns?*

That’s an easy one – try doing it right! Choose lists that are well maintained. Produce creative that is interesting and appropriate. And offer your audience something they value. If it sounds simple, that’s because it really is. The question for marketers is whether email is the right channel or whether it can deliver the requisite ROI. Like direct mail, email makes the most sense when you want to communicate a somewhat more complex message that requires time/space to explain (vs. an ad) and where the audience is very specific. Yes there are issues with ensuring emails are delivered properly, but they are all manageable – hire or rent the technical expertise – you need it for your email newsletter and your solo email campaigns. We have seen huge successes from acquisition email for B2B offers, academic institution enrollment, invitations to participate in consumer research, travel offers – you name it. The trick here is to start small and test the list, offer & creative so that you build an email control package — just like you would in direct mail.
*One Degree: When does it make sense for a publisher to use an ad network like 24/7 instead of a dedicated salesforce?*
Another easy question – All the Time! Kidding aside, I believe it’s when having/managing a dedicated sales force and a traffic/IT group is the wrong strategy for the site, especially if a site wants to reduce its fixed costs ( sales people, sales management, ad traffic, accounting). Having a property “repped” by us, means that the only thing that a website needs to do is install ad tags (which we provide) to receive campaigns we sell on their web pages and accept our insertion orders. Our sites do not have to worry about making sales calls, or even getting an audience with a busy online media buyer – (buyers who usually are not the same people who buy traditional media), serving/targeting/trafficking ads, dealing with the complexities of rich media or streaming video, maintaining and training an ad trafficking group, reporting & billing, collecting — none of it. Our sites pay us a commission on sales, so our interests are 100% aligned with our sites — if we do not sell well – we do not get paid — there are no contingency fees at all for the website.
*One Degree: You preach testing creative, copy, and offers whenever possible. Any idea why Internet marketers are often reluctant to test now that they have so much that _can_ be measured?*
I’m stumped by that one as well. I can understand that it is not always possible to vary an offer or make major creative or strategy changes to test, but when studies have shown huge variations in clickthrough rate simply by changing a background colour on a banner, I think running one piece of creative is simply poor marketing. My hunch is that because the Internet is still somewhat unknown for most mainstream marketers, marketers focus their energy on media/site selection and selling/gaining approval internally for an Internet marketing campaign vs. spending time on creative & offer. I am encouraged that many campaigns that I see now have test plans.
*One Degree: You’ve been very active in helping move the industry forward through work with associations, public speaking, writing articles, and even teaching courses. What motivates you to help others understand the industry we work in?*
I have several motivations: First I like to teach and have been teaching since I was in my late twenties, first at York University teaching an Honours Advertising & Marketing course for several years, then co-authoring and teaching the first eMarketing Course for the Canadian Marketing Association. I find that I get some of my best business ideas from the interaction with students and that as an instructor, teaching forces you to be the best presenter you possibly can be. Teaching is also a way to give back to the community and an industry that has treated me very well. I’m also a very curious person, so if I come upon or create an opportunity that I’ve never tried before like starting AIMS or writing for Direct Marketing News or participating in Industry Canada’s Anti-Spam Task Force, I’m in — I want to know what it’s like — how it works. Also, some of the industry work I do does result in business for 24/7.

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