Susan Becker, Director of Marketing AssociationCentral.com the site “Where the World Checks Out Associations,” had to get loads of America’s 135,000+ associations to sign up at $19.95 per year for a site listing. Becker knew association execs are already overwhelmed with direct mail solicitations, and most don’t surf the Net enough yet to make Web marketing a useful starting point. So she got clever…
The majority of the country’s largest and most influential associations are headquartered in the Washington DC area. Their staff are non-profity types of people; i.e. highly educated, often liberal, professionals often working for the love more than the money. So Becker decided to launch a double-sided campaign to catch them during local commuting time. She had noticeable posters placed in the five local subway stations association executives were most likely exit through on their way to work.
Plus, to catch car drivers Becker also ran three, drivetime, sponsorship messages a week on both local National Public Radio affiliates. She notes “They’re very particular about what you say. You can’t be too commercial so you end up with a happy medium between what you want to promote and what they want to say. Also it’s not something you record. You just give them two-three different phrases to read and they choose which one they’d like to do.” Becker chose Tuesday-Thursday for her radio buys, assuming people might be too preoccupied Mondays and Fridays to pay attention.
COSTS: Subway poster placement cost an average of $1,200 per station. Local NPR station’s had a gross rating point of $853, that ended up costing Becker $347 per ad run. Her total expense for both campaigns was less than $50,000.
Immediately after running the campaign, Becker attended the annual conference for association execs, where she was pleased by the favorable response. “A lot of folks tell us they’ve seen the posters. It takes them a minute, first they say, ‘Did I get a mailing from you? Did I see something on a bus? No wait! I saw you on the Metro!’ With radio, often they’re not sure where they’ve heard of you, but they know they’ve heard of you. It helps us as a new company because later when we see them at a trade show or send them a mailing, they already have a feeling of familiarity. They are more likely to open that mailing or to speak to you.”
NOTES: Becker recommends her agency, Baltimore-based Richard, Myers & Donofrio (RMD), “They think of out-of-the-box, yet very cost effective ways to get the message out. They also make sure our offline and online campaigns work well together from a creative and messaging perspective.”
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