Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Direct Marketing Case History

Had a sit-down meeting with a client today (imagine that).

The only purpose of the meeting was to say hello. But some point, the president of the company indicated that his marketing/sales department had prepared a post card to mail to more than 2,000 log home builders in the U.S. The plan was to mail the cards and follow up within 3-4 weeks with all recipients.

Then I started asking questions and he started answering (following is a summary):

Q. Why are we doing this?
A. This audience represents the potential for increased sales of our wood treatment product.

Q. What is the message?
A. We guarantee that you will never have to blast or strip the log home again or we'll pay for it.

Q. Is this a good deal?
A. Unbelievably good; no one can make this offer and no one can pass it up.

Q. Who is doing the calling and what's the purpose?
A. The individual driving the campaign is making the calls to schedule appointments and make sales.

Q. How are you supporting this mailing?
A. We're not.

By the way, this is a really smart and marketing-focused client. But like many companies today, budgets are limited and so too, therefore, are the marketing initiatives. So we thought about what we could do to turn this mailing and telemarketing effort into a bigger campaign.

There are plenty of trade and consumer publications dedicated to log homes (building them, buying them, maintaining them). Let's send them a news release announcing the product and the guarantee... and let's call them to discuss the story and push for interviews (we can even send product samples). Wait, why consumers? Because many consumers build their own log cabins or at least spec them out and they can use or spec our product (push).

What else? What is the call to action? Utlimately, we want builders to call us, but they are likely to make a quick stop at the Web site. Is there anything on the site about this guarantee? No? Let's set up a home page callout that links to a dedicated page about log homes. Can we do that? We can do that.

Anything more? Are there log home builder blogs? Are there moons around planets? Good call. Let's initiate discussions.

Back to the direct mail post card; do we have e-mail addresses? Only some. Then let's use this campaign as an opportunity to capture more. We need a bigger, better, more useful database of log home builders for future marketing.

Okay. There is probably more we can do. Let's keep thinking; this is a dynamic process. Agreed.

[This is a real conversation that took place in less than 20 minutes. Last year this client implemented a direct mail campaign (post card) to deck and fence builders and with no telemarketing support experienced a 5% response rate(are you kidding me?). For the purpose of this new campaign, we agreed to shoot for a 15-30% response rate and an overall conversion of 2% (4+ log home builder sales).]

I'll let you know how it turned out in April.

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