Tag Archives: Ken Kalb

BlueCross Adds Blue365 Health and Wellness Deals

We’re seeing more vertical players trying to leverage their brands with deal offerings and advertising. The latest one is Blue Cross/Blue Shield. Twenty-two Blue Cross state organizations around the U.S. are working with Analog Analytics to launch Blue365, a deal program offering health and fitness discounts, as well as adjacencies like tax prep.

SnapFitness, eDiets.com, Reebok, H&R Block and others are charter deal providers for Blue Cross. The launch will be supported via a media campaign launching in late Spring. “Health and fitness is the quintessential loyalty program,” says Analog CEO Ken Kalb. He notes that consumers are making more of their own health decisions, so a health marketplace makes more sense in this climate.

Besides health, Analog has made a move into travel, working with Travelsavers Partner Services, a mega- booker working with over 17,000 hotels and representing 20 percent of all travel bookings.

Kalb adds that the biggest problem with travel as a deals vertical is sourcing new deals all the time. While destination deal sites such as Groupon and Living Social are scoring very well with travel, smaller sites do well to hook up with a one- stop such as Travelsavers. ‘They have 1,000 people trying to find travel deals,” he says.

Local Mobile Coupons: Analog Analytics Pushes Publisher Solution

Coupons are hot in a down economy, and printable online coupons –and even mobile coupons –are gaining share in the coupons business. But local SMBs aren’t always in on the game, as coupon sites frequently gravitate towards one stop national accounts.

Now, Analog Analytics, a San Diego based vendor, is pushing a clever mobile solution that allows online local publishers to feature display ads that have SMS promotion codes built in. Consumers show the coupon on their phones to retailers for conversion.

Use of the mobile coupon provides complete analytics (impressions, click-thru rates, texts, email and conversions). Among the 850 publishers currently working with the solution are Media News Group, Village Voice Media, Local.com, Wick Communications, Freedom Interactive and The San Diego Reader. More than 25,000 ads are being supported, and the company has just expanded beyond the U.S. with a new Australian operation. Chinese operations are currently being eyed.

Company founder Ken Kalb, a longtime search vet, says the mobile coupon solution is the natural successor to low click display campaigns. The engagement of a local promotion typically boosts click-thru rates by two-to-10 percent – 10 times higher than national online ads. Revenues might see a 20-30 percent boost within six weeks of launching.

Kalb notes that the coupons are sold via local sales forces, or alternatively, via a self serve platform. Affiliate marketing programs from other online coupon companies just aren’t a good alternative, he says. They typically pay just three cents per click. They also don’t offer much support for local advertisers in terms of analytics or upsells.

In fact, Analog’s self-serve platform also offers an upsell gift certificate program, which brings in immediate revenue for advertiser and publisher alike; as well as the “Bigger, Better Deal,” a daily promotion special. It also encourages frequent updating of ad copy and promotions. The platform also enables the development of opt-in marketing lists.

Is it too soon for mobile coupons on a mass media basis? It might be. As a backup, Analog Analytics does support print-out options. But this solution is an interesting one that might bring a source of renewed interest for local media companies. They continue to bring in more eyeballs than other media on their websites, but often have a hard time proving their value.

Analog Analytics CEO Ken Kalb is a featured speaker at Marketplaces 2010. He’s on the “Back to Square One: Refocus on Revenues” panel with Adicio CRO Tony Lee and Matchbin CEO Reed Brown.