Angie Hicks at Online Marketing Summit: “We’re Direct Marketers”

Angie Hicks, the co-founder and namesake of Angie’s List, said she thinks of her company as a direct marketing machine. Speaking at ClickZ’s Online Marketing Summit in San Diego this morning, Hicks noted that “we’re direct marketers at heart. If it doesn’t perform, it’s out. We’re constantly measuring effectiveness, and overall lift.”

Hicks noted that the 250 city company has made its own transformation from phone-based to the Internet, which now accounts for 90 percent of its usage. But as builds a national brand, and seeks premium home owner as members (who tend to be older) the company still relies on offline marketing. While it is doing some pay per click advertising, “The majority of our spend is offline, she said.

TV accounts for the biggest share of Angie’s spend. In two weeks, the company is launching a major new TV campaign. But the medium has its own frustrations. “TV is the least measureable medium,” she lamented. In the new campaign, “we’ll segment it out, and test its efficiency.”

5 thoughts on “Angie Hicks at Online Marketing Summit: “We’re Direct Marketers”

  1. Angies’s List is not accurate or fair.
    I need some wide spread Good Press to counter the bogus press on Angie’s List.
    In my experienced opinion, Angie’s List is lousy at providing useful or accurate information on their popular website. They allow users to post information without verification. Blatant lies can only be refuted by service providers in a manner that is ineffective and makes the service provider sound like a whiner and excuse maker. Also, it is easy for an unscrupulous person to post made up reviews to slam a good competitor. Why would this be the case for a company that purports to be a facilitator of good information to help consumers make informed decisions? Follow the money! Angie is making lot’s money by both selling subscriptions to home owners and advertising to service providers. Is she getting her bread buttered on both sides?
    How do I know? I am a victim of the Angie’s List scam. My company, while not perfect, has completed 100% of our contract obligations (over 3000) for 100% of it’s clients (over 1200) in over 26 years of business. Has some of our staff made some mistakes and at times lacked judgment? Of course they have, as it happens on occasion in every company that has staff and clients. What I do promise is that we always have and will finish every project in a way that is fair if not in our normal exceptional fashion.
    My company has only 4 Angie’s List reviews and all happen to be C/D in ratings and two of those ratings are by someone who was never a client. That poster just said that they called us and didn’t like what they were told. As this alleged caller, never left any contact information with us (name or phone number) it is impossible for us to respond to intelligently. Another poster says we charged her too much on a project that we under charged her by 40% of the market rate. The 3rd poster was a real client whom posted in the middle of her kitchen remodel at the normal point of maximum discomfort. While we understand the emotional rollercoaster of most remodeling clients we feel she was unfair in not following up with how the job finished. We also have written proof of the inaccuracies of her allegations but didn’t feel it worth the expense to pursue a law suit to get her to get her facts right, maybe we are wrong in that conclusion. Regardless, this same owner has had no problem having us come back 3-4 years later to fix some minor paint issues under warranty or hiring us to do additional work for her. For some reason she has not given us good feedback on the additional work she hired us for – I guess that she can’t do it after she decided that it was not worth continuing to be an Angie’s List Subscriber.
    When I complained about this situation to the staff at Angie’s List, the best answer that they would offer was for me to recruit my good clients to join Angie’s List to post good reviews so that our happy clients posts could overwhelm the one’s that were not so good. I have a HUGE problem with this being the right or a good solution. Am I alone in this thinking or do I just smell something fishy! In my book Angie’s List rates an “F” for posting unfair feedbacks and providing a blackmail response to my complaint.

  2. John: Thanks for your comment to my blog, The Local Onliner. I believe that Angie’s system is better than you suggest. It is limited only to members, who are identified. They also can only comment on companies with which they have completed jobs in the past six months. You are clearly in your rights to ask Angie’s List to take down the comments.

  3. Dear Mr. Murphy ,

    I’m sorry you weren’t happy with the comments you received on Angie’s List. I’d like to address your concerns. While you certainly don’t have to give us a glowing review, our service is not a scam and we take issue with that reference.

    Regarding the reports where work was not done with your company, Angie’s List doesn’t give reports with a “work not done” notation the full weight of a report where work was done when we factor your overall score. Reports that don’t involve work are weighted at 20% rather than the full 100% for those where work was done.

    Regarding your complaint that we don’t verify information, we have, actually, a highly structured accountability process to help ensure our information is reliable. We:

    -Prohibit anonymous reporting – only members rate companies;
    -Prohibit members from reporting more than once on the same service experience
    -Prohibit service providers from trying to stack the deck against competitors
    -Allow companies to respond to negative reports so members get both sides of the story;
    -Employ specialized staff and proprietary technology to screen all reports for adherence to company policies or suspicious trends; and
    -Help members and service providers resolve differences through the Angie’s List complaint resolution service
    -This includes our investigation of suspicions that a competitor hasfiled reports about other companies
    -It also includes investigation and reconfirmation of reports that may have confused your company with another

    You alluded to our service provider response option, which allows companies to respond to reports. While you may think it isn’t an effective device, members actually read them, and they can (and often do)make a difference in how members view the original report.

    I encourage you to visit to learn about the ways we work to give service companies options to participate in our process — nearly all of them free-of-charge.

    You reference, advertising, which is something we offer to companies that qualify by earning and maintaining at least an overall grade of B. And there is strict accountability there, as well.

    Please contact our team at Company Connect if you want to discuss further.


    Cheryl Reed

    for Angie’s List

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