BY THOMAS HAIRE
Iwas a brand marketer, but I realized that direct response was a heck of a lot more
fun,” says Susan McKenna, vice president of E-commerce at Santa Monica, Calif.-based AlternativeHealthJournal.com, one of several new online programs developed
by vitamin supplement leader Swiss Labs. “As a person who is creative but analytical and likes to see results, direct response gives me that. If you want to grow your business, and know how you’re growing it, which means you can continue to grow it, direct
response is the way to do it.”
For McKenna, who has spent more than a decade
in brand and DR marketing and recently left luxury
skincare, nutraceutical and cosmeceutical company
Borba for her new position, the future of direct response in this new century can be found digitally
— whether its in social networking applications on
the Web or via new media, such as mobile marketing.
The most successful campaigns in today’s climate,
according to McKenna, are those that take into account the full array of direct response media, but
center around the sales and commerce marvel that is
“The Internet seems to be the last frontier for
companies. Even though we were pioneering it at
Borba, it’s still usually an afterthought,” she contends.
“It seems to not be built into the plan for a company
that is built to eventually sell its product into retail.
I’ve seen that in the past at Toyota and WellPoint.
Now these companies are starting to think that if
they put more money into it and start funding the
Web division more appropriately, they could get
more out of it.”
That certainly seemed to be the case at Borba,
which was founded in 2004 by Scott-Vincent Borba,
a former Ford model who earned a B.S. in biochemistry and marketing from Santa Clara University in
Northern California. Now, in her new role, it seems
she’s in a similar spot, as she’s been tasked with building an “entire E-commerce division” for a suite of
products and companies, including
alternativehealthjournal.com, ezkash.com and their parent, Swiss Labs.
McKenna’s vision helped build a stronger Borba.
com site, and she plans on doing the same in her
new role. After all, she also owns her own business,
Licensed Learning. Under that business’ umbrella,
she runs an E-commerce continuing education Web
site, open trafficschool.com. From her experience there,
she has gained an understanding of the difference between what she calls Internet sales and Internet commerce. And, she says, a key to that commerce in the
future is the booming new area of social networking.
“A lot of online E-commerce channels in particular are really behind in terms of leveraging Web 2.0,”
she says. “Social networking isn’t about selling. It’s