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Oct 16, 2000
Case Study Finds Email Marketing Substantially OutPerforms Direct Mail

SUMMARY: No summary available.
CHALLENGE, the online division of Charrette retail stores for design professionals, wanted to gather a strong opt-in list of design engineers to market CAD-related products to. Robert Rosenthal of's agency Passaic Parc shared the campaign details with us.

CAMPAIGN's in-house marketing team came up with the idea of creating eCad, an online buying program for CAD professionals. Passaic Parc developed an integrated direct response campaign using email marketing, print space ads and direct mail to drive CAD professionals online to register for it. Media buys were highly targeted to design engineers who were heavy CAD users. All of the lists used were outside lists.

The campaign launched in all three media in September. The offer was the same for each media. The first 25 people to register online would receive a free Sharper Image Razor Wheel escooter. The next 75 to register would receive two prepaid Blockbuster movie rental cards. Why such fun consumer-y prizes for a B-to-B campaign? Rosenthal explains, "People feel you always offer engineers calculators. I know this policy but there's a lot to be said for ingenuity. Besides, we were told by Sharper Image that the razor scooter is their biggest sales item ever. And who gets their catalogs? Not children."

Passaic Parc interviewed's sales force to find out what they needed to ask respondents on the registration form, "We asked them what information was essential for them. One thing we didn't want to do was ask questions that weren't essential. It's better to start relationships by just getting minimum fields." In the end, only first and last name, company name, phone number and email address were requested. Company name was the only non-required field.


15% of direct mail recipients went online to a special URL mentioned in the package; and while there 19.2% of these actually registered. 7.7% of email recipients clicked through to a special Web page; but a full 62% of these registered. Therefore, email ended up being far more successful than direct response. Rosenthal says, "We're very proud of this one. Email is not a thing to just dabble with. It's proving to be, in this test so far, the most productive medium."

NEXT: The team's next step is to begin testing ways to convert this new opt-in list of registrants into active buyers. "We need to grow the relationship, to get people into the buyers circle," says Rosenthal. Building a strong in-house opt-in list is just step one.
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