“I was an emailer. That’s what we did. And my brother set me up with a few emails sites and an email server. And at the time, there were only about three or four affiliate networks, which sounds crazy today. There were no tracking platforms. Direct track didn’t exist. So we worked as a consortium myself, my brother, and about 20 other publishers. And I would manage the Excel spreadsheets. Everybody would have a unique link and I get reporting from the advertisers, and we put them in the spreadsheets and then I sent emails to everybody with their numbers every day.”
— Jennine Rexon, CEO and Founder of Rex Direct
Jennine Rexon (LinkedIn: @rex-direct-net-inc, Website: RexDirect.com) is a pioneering force in the Pay Per Call industry with over 20 years of experience under her belt. Jennine’s company, Rex Direct, was founded in 2001 with the mission of helping businesses achieve unprecedented growth by leveraging bespoke lead generation solutions. Rex Direct has expanded to 24 employees since being founded, all while Jennine has witnessed over two decades of evolution in the performance marketing space. Consider Jennine, and the whole team at Rex Direct to be beacons of knowledge and value.
Performance Marketing Provides Work-Life Balance Opportunities
“I question why more women aren’t looking at performance marketing including pay per call as a way to balance work and life. The Internet marketing lifestyle is absolutely amazing. For example, raising a family and working in a productive and lucrative environment if you know what you’re doing … we actually have a girl on our team named Melissa, who works remote and she’s able to have her career. Yesterday was her daughter’s first birthday actually. And so she was able to have her daughter and still hustle because she worked very, very hard and maintain that work life balance. And I think that’s one of the awesome things about performance marketing, is we get to do that.”
There’s no doubt that working in this industry comes with certain perks, or unique features. Here Jennine highlights perhaps the greatest perk of all: the opportunity for a healthy work-life balance. No, we’re not talking about the trite laptop lifestyle which is associated with the stereotypical image of an online marketer. This is about the truly unique opportunity and ambiance which comes with working in this industry, in this day-and-age. Work still ought to get done, quotas and goals still need to be reached, but at the end of the day you’re one of the lucky few who actually get to work out of home – if you so choose.
Move Fast; Don’t Keep All of Those Eggs in One Basket
“With this business, you got to move fast. Timing is really, really important. The second is probably to not put all your eggs in one basket. I’ve been somewhat criticized for that. Like, why don’t you focus more, whether it’s on the channel or an industry or a vertical. And although there are certain things that I do focus on, I do have a fairly diversified suite of products and clients that we work with. And that’s because I’ve seen too many companies that have purely focused on one thing come and go.”
This advice is tried and true. Like many other facets in life and business, diversification is the ultimate hedge, and the foundation of future-proofing. The future of your business is too precious to leave in the hands of hang-ups about timing and the inability to act; or a single campaign, promotional channel, successful endeavor, etc. You’ve got to spread those wings, and put those eggs in as many baskets imaginable, because banking on a singular success and not acting fast enough to move on and cut your losses is only the key to long term growing pains.
Workshop Transparency with Partners to Establish Trust
“I think when you explore other business models and you’re willing to take that risk and investment in each other, it happens automatically. So, for example, we’ve explored revenue share relationships versus pay per call relationships with partners that have the technological sophistication to be transparent. And to show us what calls are working, the disposition report’s real time. And that way we can build up a trust where we can see how effective our marketing media is in their sales process.”
Trust is the lifeblood of business, and transparency is the muscle which allows trust to flow. You cannot have one without the other, which is why you must always be of the mindset that transparency should always be an ongoing engagement between yourself, and the partners whom you wish to establish trust with. Consider this a dance, or exercise, which you should constantly workshop between would-be partners and yourself – as though transparency were a muscle, and you can either use it or lose it.
Rex Direct Generates Calls Internally and Doesn’t Work with Affiliates
“We used to have an affiliate network both on the network side, from a traffic side and from a call side, and we really pulled away from that actually. We do a lot of media buying internally and generate calls that way, as well as using partners that own their own inventory or their own channel. We don’t really work with affiliates anymore and as a result, we’ve been able to manage our quality a lot more effectively over the last few years.”
There is certainly something to be said about purely in-house lead generation. While working with affiliates provides many opportunities in this industry, it can also come with its share of headaches. Rex Direct has shifted their focus away from affiliates in favor of generating calls internally. This in turn gives Jennine and the team at Rex Direct full control of quality assurance processes, thus boosting efficacy of their overall operations.
Cultivate Strategic Relationships with Partners You Can Trust
“It is important to have strategic relationships that you know well, where the media is coming from, what quality they can produce so that you can grow your business. I think it tops out. If you’re going to do it all yourself, you’re going to top out. So it is important to have relationships that you need to be strategic about them. That’s my philosophy on it.”
This hearkens back to Jennine’s advice in regards to establishing transparency to build trust. The currency of trust is universal, and should be the primary factor in selecting partners whom you wish to form strategic relationships with. If you cannot trust a partner, that doesn’t make for much of a strategic relationship at all, does it?
Final Thoughts: Ping Post and Marketplaces Are the Next Big Thing
“One of the items that we talked about before this call actually was the concept of ping post in calls and marketplaces. I have been truly interested in that technology for leads as well as calls over the last few years. And the leads business has become a lot more prevalent. Back in the day it didn’t exist, and I think it is the future of calls. I know that a number of companies already have that technology in place, but I think that there’s a majority that don’t.”
A forward-facing mindset is one of many things that make Jennine and Rex Direct such a dynamic force in this industry. Constantly in pursuit of the next big trend, Jennine leaves us with her candid thoughts on the next big thing in Pay Per Call. With a significant boom in the call leads business, ever-enhancing technological capabilities, and a shortage of companies providing a modern solution; Jennine sees ping post and marketplaces to be a logical next step in the evolution of the Pay Per Call industry.