April 04, 2012
Case Study

Lead Generation: Targeted event marketing effort leads to 300% ROI, generates 140 qualified leads

SUMMARY: Event marketing around industry trade shows is a key piece of many B2B marketers’ strategies. When this is the case, it makes sense to maximize that budget spend with an effort that supports the marketing around the event.

This case study looks at an OEM provider that focuses on a yearly trade show, and decided to run a multi-channel, multi-month campaign around that event to generate awareness and leads. Learn how this effort was able to exceed every KPI, and also lead to 300% return-on-investment for the entire campaign.
by David Kirkpatrick, Reporter


For many B2B marketers, an important piece of the yearly budget might be an industry trade show. Leads are generated, face-to-face meetings take place, and general networking can help set the tone for the entire marketing strategy.

Xeikon, a digital printing company that provides OEM equipment for commercial, document and label printers, geared its strategy to one major industry event each year. To maximize the marketing value of that event, it developed an effort that combined direct mail, email and teleprospecting both before and after the trade show.

Aditya Dwivedi, Senior Marketing Manager, Xeikon, said, "We decided to start focusing more severely on the label printers because the economy had a very adverse effect on the commercial printing industry. It did not have a similar impact on the label printing industry."

He added, "There were two main purposes of the campaign. One was to create brand awareness regarding our products among label converters in the U.S., and the second one was to generate opportunities (with) label printers [companies] that were looking to buy something from someone within the next six to nine months."

This case study covers how Xeikon combined direct mail, email and telemarketing to exceed every campaign goal and to achieve a 300% ROI on the entire effort.


The overall effort began last May and involved three waves of marketing activity leading up to the September event, and one follow-up outreach once the event was complete.

The goal of the entire effort was not to drive traffic to the event -- it was understood that every prospect was likely going to attend. The goal was more to create awareness of Xeikon and its technology, and to provide information about Xeikon at the event, such as where its booth would be located.

Step #1. Analyze the target segment for prospects

The idea behind this analysis was to uncover label printing companies large enough in terms of employee size and production runs and that also used the pressure sensitive and adhesive label technology Xeikon supported.

The first stage was to find existing Xeikon customers in that market segment and then use "look-alike modeling" to try to identify other companies with similar traits to those customers.

The look-alike modeling took a number of factors into consideration, including:
  • SIC codes - primary, secondary and mixed

  • Number of employees

  • Revenue ranges

Xeikon also had two years of marketing data on existing customers that provided answers to 10 to 15 questions that Sales and Marketing had been asking when calling these prospects on the phone.

The goal was to find around 1,000 prospects for the event campaign.

Step #2. Determine the incentive for each marketing wave

Xeikon has four "prongs" to its value proposition:
  • Productivity (which leads to profitability according to Dwivedi)

  • Quality

  • Flexibility (in its solutions)

  • Sustainability (or printing in an ecologically friendly manner)

Each of the four marketing waves focused on one of the four value prop prongs, and each one also included a specific incentive to encourage engagement.

The first wave incentive was registration to win a trip for two to the Xeikon North American headquarters in Chicago for a weekend that included a live demonstration of the company’s products.

The second was a sweepstakes for admission to a regular season Major League Baseball game of the winner’s choice along with a $200 Visa gift card.

Third was an opportunity to win an InfoTrends case study. The company had been conducting a lot of research in the printing industry according to Dwivedi, and this report came with a very steep price tag, so not every printing company on Xeikon’s prospect list would be able to purchase it within their budget. Another part of that wave was the chance for all recipients to download a summary of the report with all the major results.

The fourth, and final wave, was the chance to win a solar, portable phone charger. This incentive actually tied directly into Xeikon’s value prop of "sustainability."

"The call-to-action in the fourth mailing, the solar charger, went with the theme of eco printing," said Dwivedi.

Step #3. Make direct mail the first contact

Each of the four marketing waves included multiple channels, and began with a direct mail piece.

Direct mail was very important to this overall effort because since Xeikon is selling printing equipment, the marketing team wanted prospects to get a tangible sample of what Xeikon is capable of in their hands.

It was described as more than just a promotional piece of marketing material. The direct mail pieces also showcased the company’s products.

Label samples were included in the direct mail pieces so the label printing companies receiving the direct mail could actually see and touch examples of Xeikon’s digital printing output. The company’s process is different from more conventional, non-digital label printing, so the direct mail might have been the first exposure of Xeikon’s technology to the prospect.

The main call-to-action in both the direct mail and email sends was a visit to a personalized URL (pURL).

Step #4. Utilize the email channel to drive pURL clicks

One week after the direct mail send, an email went out to the prospect list.

The marketing team found that by combining direct mail with email, the response rate was much higher, and the idea was to "be wherever the prospects want to be" in terms of receiving the marketing message.

Essentially the email send was an extension of the direct mail piece with the same messaging in a shorter format.

The entire goal of the email send was to create a click on the pURL so the prospect could go and get the entire marketing "story."

Any prospect who clicked on the pURL would register for the incentive and then receive access to content, such as:
  • Downloads

  • Brochures

  • Case studies

  • Videos

  • Other content that supports Xeikon’s value prop outlined in that marketing wave

Step #5. Add a more personal touch with telemarketing

Anyone who visited their pURL by either clicking on the email or actually keying it into a browser received a telemarketing call as well.

The team used a call guide with a set of standard questions, but the calls were very open-ended for the most part, and the questions were used to capture specific information to help qualify the prospect.

Before the entire program began, the marketing team created a set of criteria for a qualified lead. If any prospect met that threshold on the telemarketing call, they would be passed on to Xeikon’s outside sales team for additional follow-up.

Step #6. Follow-up after the event

The first three waves were spread out from May of last year up to the September industry event. Around a month after the event, the fourth and final wave was sent.

One important addition to this marketing wave was along with the original 1,000, or so, prospects in the list, anyone who visited the Xeikon booth or registered with the company at the event was added to this marketing outreach.

The final direct mail piece wrapped up the first three and provided links to additional online material. And where the earlier telemarketing only involved prospects who visited their pURL, the final telemarketing outreach went to the entire prospect list, and the newly added prospects, to ensure every prospect received a personal phone call.


Going into the campaign, the marketing team at Xeikon had some key performance indicators and goals in mind: to identify 1,000 prospects, achieve direct mail and email campaign response rate of 5% minimum, achieve a telemarketing lead rate of 8 to 12%, generate 30 qualified leads.

Here are the actual results of the effort based on those KPIs:
  • Around 1,000 prospects were identified and included in the effort based on analysis (see Step #1)

  • 14% campaign response rate from direct mail and email

  • 140 qualified leads

  • 300% return on investment

Dwivedi said a major part of the effort was to keep the outreach highly targeted and relatively small, and to really keep track of the data coming in from each marketing piece based on engagement with the pURL. Those two aspects of the campaign allowed the company to really focus on those prospects with the most value.

"We always focus on making sure that once someone responds we can take care of them and have a one-on-one conversion," he said.

Dwivedi added, "The second thing we have realized is the importance of the call-to-action. You need a hook, and you need something that people might be interested in to click on the personalized URL in the email message, or if it’s a direct mail piece, to go and type in the URL."

If you found this case study useful, you can sign up for our free weekly B2B marketing newsletter.

Useful links related to this article

  1. Direct mail

  2. Email

  3. Direct mail covers for the four marketing waves

  4. Examples of multi-channel materials for marketing waves


Catalyst – Xeikon’s marketing agency

Event Marketing: Regional customer forums improve field events attendance rate by 150%

Event Marketing: Entrepreneur drives year-round sales, increases email list

Event Marketing: HubSpot's Dreamforce effort generates more than 2,300 new leads and 362 product demos

Headbanging with HubSpot, social networking with Salesforce

Lead Generation tips for Tradeshows Conferences

Podcast: Tradeshow and Event Marketing with Ruth Stevens

Improve Your Marketing

Join our thousands of weekly case study readers.

Enter your email below to receive MarketingSherpa news, updates, and promotions:

Note: Already a subscriber? Want to add a subscription?
Click Here to Manage Subscriptions