February 2006 - Jump for iJoy!

Interactive Health CEO Craig P. Womack has a DR hit on his hands. Taking a closer look at this successful massage chair from front to back

By David Lustig (Photo by Jeff Archambeau)

Interactive Health has been a tough competitor in the massage technology field for more than two decades. Priding itself on its high-quality massage products, the company says it is committed to the research and development in the fields of chiropractic and orthopedic medicine, massage therapy and stress management.

In April 2004, Interactive Health selected Cmedia to handle the media for the iJoy DR campaign

Through the years, the Long Beach, Calif.-based company has spent millions of research dollars in the robotic massage field to create workable solutions to relieve the pain and stress accumulated from every day life. In military hospitals, clinics and physicians’ offices, Interactive Health’s massage technology is used as an adjunct therapy for the treatment of spinal disorders.

Always trying to stay one step ahead of industry competitors, the company first introduced its Robotic Massage in 1979 with the Acu-Massage Table for medical professionals, institutions and professional athletes. In 1985, Interactive Health brought out its Robotic Massage Chair, which included the first contoured tracking system designed to follow the S-curve of the spine. Two years later, it launched a computer-controlled, multi-function massage system.

“While several competitors exist,” says Interactive Health CEO Craig P. Womack, “we see ourselves as the leaders and experts in robotic massage with the highest market share.”

One of Interactive Health’s most successful products to date is its iJoy chair.

“Consumers are more health conscientious and more aware of the benefits of massage,” says Womack, adding that they are interested in the iJoy product because it is designed to aid in the reduction of stress and muscle pain.

Introduced in 2003, features of the iJoy chair, which is produced in a variety of models, include the company’s patented Human Touch Technology massage system, which closely replicates the therapeutic techniques used by back and spinal care professionals to the point that the company says it is the preferred technology of the American College of Chiropractic Orthopedists. Designed for both ease of use and safety, the chair is designed to follow the natural contour of the spine and move three-dimensionally in four different modes and features child safety locks, removable softening pads, easy to reach recline levers, wheels for almost effortless mobility and wired control.

Introduced in 2003, the iJoy chair features the company’s patented Human Touch Technology massage system.

Available through retail outlets from the start, Interactive Health made the decision to go into the direction of DRTV both to create a broader awareness of the iJoy brand and to drive traffic to retail stores carrying its product lines.

Enter Cmedia, a Portland, Ore.-based company specializing in planning, buying and managing direct response campaigns in television, radio, print, direct mail and web.

“In April of 2004, we were contacted by another firm to pitch for iJoy’s DRTV infomercial media business they were producing,” says Michelle Cardinal, Cmedia’s CEO and founder. “We were awarded the contract that same month and have been on the air since January 2005.”

Cmedia had the task of walking Interactive Health through the process of testing the DRTV media waters and building the iJoy brand.

Since founding the company as a start-up in 1998, Cardinal and her organization have built Cmedia into the largest independently owned direct response television media buying agency in the country. In 2005, Cmedia merged with the Philadelphia-based ATC Agency Services, which almost doubled the company’s size and estimated 2005 billings of more than $200 million. From its Oregon headquarters, the company overseas media buying and duplication offices in West Chester, Pa.; Billings, Mont., and satellite offices in Chicago and Los Angeles.

“Our primary philosophy is that advertising should result in the trackable and profitable sale of your product or service in the form of return on investment (ROI) measurements,” explains Cardinal. “For anyone new to the direct response field, this means using toll-free phone numbers and web driving technology as a response mechanism to generate a qualified lead or close an immediate sale.”

Cmedia’s client base runs the gamut from experienced direct marketers selling gadgets and widgets, to entrepreneurs and inventors, to sophisticated branded clients who recognize they require direct response as part of their advertising mix, and of course, Interactive Health’s iJoy chair.

“The one thing all our clients have in common is that they are unfailingly dependent on profitable ROI for their media spending and understand the power of direct marketing,” she adds.

According to Cardinal, Interactive Health’s objectives regarding the creation of a DRTV campaign was to be profitable on the front end determined by a target media efficiency ratio (MER).

“The initial creative offer did not meet these objectives,” she says, “so we worked with Interactive Health on structuring and testing new offers and CTA’s [call to action] until the magic combination was found in June of last year. This took five rounds of testing.”

Ultimately, both long- and short-form spots were created, the long-form was produced by Mayhew Breen Productions, a leading direct response company based in New York City.

After initial testing, Cmedia’s sister company, Respond2, then took the long-form footage and cut it down to short-form spots. Respond2 was also tasked to tweak the long form.

A celebrity host was not used to pitch the iJoy products, with Cmedia relying on extensive national and local testing for the infomercials’ efficiency was extensive, and the media test plans (marketing, stations and dayparts) were chosen using the company’s Cmedia Tracker database.

“The database is a sophisticated media buying and tracking tool that keeps copious history of each and every campaign we manage,” says Cardinal. “This gives us a solid base from which to test from.”

In each round of offer/CTA testing, explains Cardinal, Cmedia used an “apples to apples” comparison (using the same stations and dayparts) to obtain the most accurate comparison of each test cell. Once the desired MER was obtained, Cmedia expanded the budget carefully until it reached the desired level. Each week, the company would manage the media buy using a traditional media optimization technique to ensure the program was kept as profitable a possible.

Mayhew Breen Productions of New York City created the long-form shows for the iJoy product.

Just as extensive as the research, the initial testing-Cmedia knew it was marketing a product that had broad appeal throughout the United States-was seemingly everywhere from Atlanta to Anchorage, Grand Rapids to Houston, New Orleans to Santa Barbara, Savannah and West Palm Beach to Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Little Rock.

To get the message out, national and regional cable stations were employed, including Access, Biography, Bravo, Comcast Mid Atlantic, Comcast Sports Net, CNBC, Discovery, Equity Unwired, Fit TV, the Food Network, Fox Soccer Channel and Fox Sports channels in the San Francisco Bay area, Chicago, Florida, New England, Ohio and the Rocky Mountain regions. Others included the Hallmark Channel, HGTV, Lifetime, Oxygen, Pax, PIN, SciFi, TLC, Travel and Women’s E! Nothing was left out or to chance.

Just as importantly, Cmedia knew exactly who it wanted to target and Cardinal recites the requirements with military-like precision…”Adults 25-54 with $50,000 plus household income, living active lives and a healthy lifestyle-people who buy the latest technical gadgets. Our database profile included fitness, electronics and housewares.”

When the iJoy campaign launched in January 2005, the results were good but not as good as was hoped.

“The original infomercial was produced as a hard offer but it didn’t generate the level of calls needed to make the program successful,” says Cardinal. “A soft offer, along with several other backend and CTA tweaks, was the ultimate key in optimizing response and direct sales.”

Another part of this success story is the role of Moulton Logistics of Van Nuys, Calif., which handles the backend of the infomercial. Referred to Interactive Health by Cmedia, Moulton was to become responsible for the fulfillment center function, handling all aspects of payment processing, customer service, warehousing and product shipping. Moulton, which has its own call center facilities, was not involved in that end of the production, with a fourth company handling inbound calls from the infomercials.

“Interactive Health did their due diligence on us,” says Moulton Logistics’ vice president of sales, Joel Crannell, “looking carefully at our references, web site and years of experience in the industry. After that was the initial introduction, then they came and toured our 200,000-square-foot facility and liked what they saw. We in turn, went down to their headquarters in Long Beach and were just as impressed.”

“This is not your traditional DR product,” he continues. “We’ve got payment plans to deal with and customer satisfaction to ensure. The iJoy chair is, on the average, a $700 to $800 purchase with upsells. The customer service end of it demands a much higher level of training than a traditional $49 to $59 DRTV offer.”

Crannell says that iJoy was looking for a fulfillment company with a lot of experience in the industry, one that could be proactive rather than reactive. Interactive Health also wanted a company that was relatively close to its location. The physical distance between Long Beach and Van Nuys is about 40 miles.

“We take it [the sale] from the time the order is placed with the call center,” explains Crannell. “We’re managing inventory-direct imports-from their warehouse and directly from the manufacturer in China.

“We also handle all the payment processing; we authorize credit cards, do product inspection and shipping. The chair comes packed and we don’t open it. It’s a 92-pound box, not an assembly line product. Plus we’re handling all the customer service; people who say they ordered it and didn’t get it, they got it but they have a question. Other calls include people not understanding what they owe. Some want to return it.”

Respond2 was brought on board to take the long-form footage and cut it down to short-form spots.

When that tends to happen, says Crannell, that is when Moulton Logistics turns to “Save the Sale,” an attempt to try and convince the customer otherwise.
“Just because someone calls to return the product,” says Crannell, “doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in it. They had an original interest in the iJoy chair, so we try and re-educate them on why they ordered it in the first place.”

“This is not something that is traditionally known as a DR product,” he adds. “The beauty of this whole story is that they [Interactive Health] made it work.”
And Crannell says the concept is working just fine, with Interactive Health wanting to increase the numbers.

“They’ve tweaked the campaign to the point [where] they feel they have the right message and right offer,” he sums up. “It’s a win-win situation.”
Crannell also explains why it is a success for Moulton Logistics.

“We have a very well-priced, quality product,” he says of the iJoy chair, “and we have a company that really stands behind it. They believe in customer satisfaction as priority one.”

The overall results seem to be keeping everyone-Interactive Health, Cmedia and Moulton Logistics-quite pleased.

“We had great success with the first infomercial,” says Interactive Health’s Womack, “and we are looking forward to our sophomore effort for 2006.”

David Lustig is a contributing writer to Electronic Retailer magazine. We would appreciate your feedback. To submit comments, point browser to ijoyfeb06.marketing-era.com.

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