|Jon Lisbin gets to knows downtown Tokyo like the back of his hand
For Jon Lisbin, the key to success in Internet marketing is putting your finger on the right answers by making sure you ask your customers some very important questions.
“Know thy Customer” could be the personal mantra for this east coast MBA emigre’. Arriving in Seattle just in time to plunge into electronic marketing at the inception of the World Wide Web, his early posts were at Seattle’s ShopNow and WKP. Jon achieved his first major milestone by pioneering one of the Net’s first online affiliate programs (prior to Amazon.com), for FreeShop.com (now Aptimus), growing a commissioned sales program to over 80,000 members.
In January of 2001, Jon accepted the role of Marketing Director for NetReflector, Seattle’s leading provider of custom online survey solutions for industry leaders like Microsoft, BP Amoco, Dow, Lucent and ESPN. NetReflector’s Web-based survey techniques and technology include a full menu of survey management services for gathering online feedback from clients and employees in real time. While the product proved ideal for large marketers, Jon perceived a growing need for a simple, low-cost survey method for smaller companies that could be administered remotely as a turnkey, ASP-delivered service. Enlisting the help of co-founder Greg Brown, Alertus, one of Seattle’s brightest new Internet stars, was born.
Seattle24x7: What has intrigued you the most about Web-based survey technology?
Lisbin: Technologically, what’s intriguing is the superiority of online surveys to paper surveys. Data is collected and reported in real-time. Other advantages include features to reduce bias, increase response rates and improve the respondents’ overall experience. When you are asking your customers and clients for feedback you are involving them with your company, opening the lines of communication, and winning their loyalty.
Seattle24x7: What are your plans for Alertus and who is your ideal user?
Lisbin: We built Alertus to be used and interpreted by Web marketers, not market research professionals.This is reflected in the tool’s simplicity and ease of use, the survey questions we crafted, and the straightforward reporting. Web site usability is still in its infancy and we believe there is still an opportunity to “set the standard.”
Our vision is to have an Alertus SiteSurvey on every Web site. We cannot see why a site manager would not want to gather feedback from Web visitors. The “ubiquity” term, although overused in the height of the dot.com era, still applies. That’s why we are offering a service that appeals to both large and small Web sites.
We plan to target the top 10,000 most visited Web sites. These publishers have sufficient traffic to gather valid data, spend millions acquiring customers, and need to pay more attention to their front door. Our plans are to raise a round of Angel funding to kick-start our marketing efforts, but we are also prepared to grow the company organically.
Seattle24x7: You have also founded Pointit.com, a seach engine pay-per-click (PPC) management company. Why?
Lisbin: Several things prompted me to start Point-it.com. While I was the VP of Marketing for NetReflector, I managed their Search Engine Pay-per- Click (PPC) campaigns, which consistently saw a 3:1 or higher return on investment. As the sole marketing person on staff, it didn’t make sense for me to be spending several hours a day bidding on keywords and managing these PPC campaigns. I also didn’t feel I had the time to learn all the nuances of campaign optimization to maximize the PPC opportunity.
That prompted me to search for a company to outsource PPC management. When I couldn’t find an affordable and reputable company to do this for me, I decided to launch Point-It! Fortunately, things worked out so well with NetReflector, when I established Point It!, I retained them as my first client.
Seattle24x7: Where do you find the confidence to be starting up two new companies in the current economic climate, and after the dot-com downturn?
Lisbin: Just a glutton for punishment, I guess. Actually there are a lot of advantages to starting up a company in this tough economy. Labor and overhead is generally more affordable. There is a much larger pool of available talent to help us execute our plans. Also, since things are slow we can spend more time developing business ideas, plans, and procedures; the opposite of the dot.com rush to market mentality. Last, but not least, I don’t have to worry about laying myself off.
Seattle24x7: Best of luck, Jon. [24×7]