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Attract, addict and convert

New marketing consultancy, 121strategies.com has been set up to help companies achieve three goals when setting up a Web site

121strategies.com is out to help companies achieve that one thing that seems to so elusive on the Internet: attracting, addicting and converting. Christel Whelan, managing director 121strategies.com, says that her marketing consultancy can help companies achieve this through a simple combination of logic and common sense.

“The first objective for dot-coms is to attract the customers and build traffic on their Web site,” explains Whelan. “They then need to generate action from their customers once they are visiting the Web site and finally, they need to build loyalty with their clients, to retain them and to get them to come back.”

So how can 121strategies.com help you do this?

Whelan helps customers articulate their objectives and then formulate the marketing strategies required to achieve them. For this service, Whelan charges a consulting fee.

After this process of ‘strategic thinking’, customers that require further assistance or follow-ups on their strategies can be further advised on which agencies they should use. For this purpose, Whelan has extensively researched and created her own Web agency directory. Companies within the directory can be anything from advertising to public relations (PR) agencies and 121strategies.com has been set up to coordinate any client/agency relationships.

“I can advise dot-coms on which to use as a service provider. The company can act as a middleman,” she says.

Whelan downplays the scepticism surrounding e-business and is determined not to let the disbelievers deter her. She refuses to accept that setting up 121tsrategies.com at such a cynical time is a risk.

“It’s normal at the beginning to have ups and downs and people sometimes have doubts about going online,” she says. “But you can’t change the trend. I believe the Internet is definitely the future so I don’t believe it is a risk. I felt I had to make a move in this direction.”

But making dot-coms realise that they need advice in terms of marketing is a challenge. 121strategies.com tries to differentiate itself by focusing on ‘one to one’ marketing – the concept of forming intimate, personal relationships with each and every client.

“I think the concept of one to one is new to the region. Using the Internet as an interactive tool, you go from mass marketing to one to one marketing. This is what I call innovative,” she says. “You talk to one customer at a time and you treat people differently. This is the basics of one to one marketing. In my approach to help dot-coms achieve their objectives, I always have a one to one ‘customer-centric’ approach.”

Whelan says that by taking the principles of one to one marketing as a basic philosophy, 121strategies.com can help companies reassess and improve dot-com marketing strategies. Whelan says that growing customer loyalty should be the basis for a dot-com’s whole business strategy.

She says that at the moment, dot-coms in the region have spent a lot of money in promoting their Web site, but a number of them have not spent enough on the loyalty aspect. This is something she believes they should start fixing right now.

“Only getting the maximum number of customers on the Web site is not enough, it is short term,” Whelan says. “They need to think from the beginning about how to get their customers to come back.”

121strategies.com says essential prerequisites for a successful site are personalisation and customer service. If the necessary software is implemented initially, before the launch of a Web site, Whelan says money is saved because the Web site doesn’t need to be reconfigured later on.

“It is well known that it is cheaper to keep your customers rather than recruit new ones,” says Whelan. “This is even truer with the Net, considering how big the competition is and how easy it is for a customer to swap between one Web site and another.”

In her efforts to drum up business, Whelan has met a lot of dot-com companies and has just recently become the marketing consultant for the Dubai Ideas Accelerator (DIA) in the Dubai Ideas Oasis. 121strategies is now acting on behalf of both DIA and ‘incubees’ that include mydsf.com, divinet, makoob and verscape.

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