Rafael Alenda, Director, Marketing, Fuze Box, is trying to build his brand in a market dominated by larger, well-established competitors. So when he and his team were looking for ways to promote Fuze Meeting, their Web conferencing and online collaboration tool, they decided not to target the mass market and fight head-to-head with those major competitors.
Instead, they believed that the platform’s ability to support high-resolution graphics and HD video made it an ideal tool for creative professionals, such as advertising agencies that wanted to pitch to clients and collaborate with customers online. They had been using online and email marketing, but wanted to test direct mail as a way to introduce the brand to their target audience and provide an in-depth explanation of the product’s benefits.
But how could they create a direct mail package that was unique and compelling enough to appeal to creative professionals and prompt them to interact with the brand?
"They’re highly discriminating people, which is great, but you need to really wow them to get their attention," says Alenda. "We wanted to do more than a postcard or a flyer." CAMPAIGN
The team designed a direct mail test to determine what types of messaging worked with the target audience, and establish whether the channel could play an important role in future marketing strategy.
The campaign featured a mailer that contained a pair of 3-D glasses and a link to a personalized, interactive website featuring 3-D images. While there, prospects could scroll through a series of pages explaining the company’s Web-conferencing platform and its benefits for creative professionals.
Here are five steps they took to launch and measure the impact of the test. Step #1. Create 3-D campaign theme
While brainstorming ideas for a unique direct mail campaign, the team hit on the idea of creating a 3-D website and mailing prospects a pair of glasses to view the online images.
The release of 3-D movies in the summer of 2009, such as "Up," gave the idea cultural currency. In addition, the team tied the 3-D concept into an overall campaign theme that reiterated the benefits of the Web-conferencing platform’s high-resolution visual capabilities.
Campaign theme and tagline: "See how different."Step #2. Create custom, targeted list
Because it was a concept test, the team developed a new list of target prospects.
- First, they developed a regional focus by choosing major metropolitan areas that had a high concentration of creative professionals. Target locations included:
o San Francisco
o Los Angeles
o San Diego
o Portland, Ore.
o Las Vegas
- Next, they looked for personnel from ad agencies, marketing and branding firms, consultancies and other creative companies within those metropolitan areas.
o For smaller firms, they targeted C-level executives
o For larger firms with in-house creative departments, they targeted the creative director level
- They assembled a list by purchasing names from two list vendors with which they’d worked previously. Then, they supplemented those names by doing a manual search for professionals at firms within their target regions. They used Google searches and checked LinkedIn to find C-level executives or creative directors.
The result was a list of roughly 1,500 prospects. Step #3. Send 3-D glasses in personalized mailer
The team developed a mailer intended to create intrigue and direct recipients to the campaign website.
- They sent the 3-D classes inside a tri-folded, 8.5" x 11" piece of paper that contained only one line of copy and a personalized URL:
o "NAME, it’s time you saw things a little differently...www.seehowdifferent.com/prospectname"
- They further personalized the campaign by delivering the letter and glasses in a hand-addressed envelope.
The package contained no branding elements or any other indication of who had sent it. The team believed this "unbranding" was essential to piquing curiosity to encourage recipients to view the website.
"Would I do it for accountants? Probably not," says Alenda. "But with creative professionals, we thought it was part and parcel of what we needed to break through." Step #4. Drive traffic to campaign microsite
Letter recipients used the PURL printed on the letter to access the campaign website. The site combined 3-D images, Flash-based navigation, industry-specific copy, and several calls-to-action that invited visitors to engage with the company further.
Key elements included:
- Location-based and industry-relevant images
The site was designed to mimic the look of photographs spread out on a table. The team selected images that would be familiar to the audience in the regional test, such as street scenes from the target cities, surfing and skateboarding action photos, and an image of the Seattle Space Needle.
They also selected images of creative professionals at work, such as scenes of photo and video shoots and advertising story boards.
- Selected 3-D images
The team used software to treat several images with the 3-D effect. To keep costs down for this test, they selected stock images that were relevant to the creative audience, and would look good in 3-D, such as:
o Lights and cameras staged for a photo shoot
o A skateboarder performing a trick
o A creative professional working on a large computer monitor
- Industry-specific content
Visitors were prompted to click an arrow on the right side of the page to navigate through the complete website. Each click focused the browser on a section of the site that highlighted product benefits for creative professionals.
Content highlights included:
o An overview that described the platform’s high-resolution online visuals as uniquely suited for creative pros
o Details on key features, such as on-screen markup capabilities, easy interface, mobile capabilities and social media integration
o A video of an advertising agency executive describing how she uses Fuze Meeting
"We really wanted creative professionals to come there and know that we’re talking to them," says Alenda.
The final page of the website tour offered visitors four options to continue learning about Fuze Meeting or the company:
o Register for a free account immediately
o Request more information from the company
o Call for enterprise accounts of more than five users
o Continue exploring the siteStep #5. Monitor visits and place follow-up calls
The use of PURLs allowed the team to know exactly who had responded to the letter, how long they stayed on the site, and what content they viewed.
The team received an email notification whenever a visitor arrived at the site. They instructed their inside sales team to follow-up with those prospects within one or two hours of a website visit.
Rather than saying they had seen the prospect’s activity on the site, inside sales reps introduced themselves, said that they were following up on the letter the team had sent, and asked if the prospects had any questions for them.
"We weren’t sitting around watching people on the site," says Alenda. "We just wanted to make sure we were getting in front of them while the campaign was fresh in their mind."
The intriguing package and personalized URLs clearly broke through the marketing clutter and connected with the team’s target audience:
o 31.11% of letter recipients visited their PURL
o 75.59% of the visitors clicked through all four pages of the site
o 7.06% of visitors engaged with Fuze Box further by filling out an online registration form or clicking to continue exploring the site
o 5.80% the letter recipients visited the site more than once
o 24.84% of site visitors watched the video testimonial
"I’ll take those response rates anytime," says Alenda. "As a marketer, I was trying to make sure we understood what we were validating: Are we getting people to the site to get Fuze Meeting in front of them?"
Follow-up calls by the inside sales team have led to several ongoing conversations with prospects. And Alenda’s team has a new list of warm or hot leads to target based on the amount of time spent on the site and the specific actions taken.
But the test also revealed one issue that actually prevented the campaign from delivering an even higher response rate: Despite the team’s list-scrubbing efforts, they still ended up with a number of names that were no longer employed by their target companies due to the ongoing effects of the recession.
"We were sort of victim of the current economy, in which people have been mobile with their employment. We need to do better work on our end on list criteria."Useful links related to this article
Creative Samples from Fuze Box’s direct mail campaign
How Targeted DM & Web Promo Built Buzz at Trade Show (and Doubled Customer Base)
Via Luna Group: Provided campaign strategy and direct mail and website design