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Marketing Sherpa's Moment of Fame

If you haven't downloaded Marketing Sherpa's Marketing Wisdom for 2007 report yet, check it out -- it's packed with insight, ideas, and a few just plain entertaining stories of real-world marketing.

Of particular interest is item #87, which details a highly successful and award-winning direct mail campaign done for a supply chain management outsourcing vendor (okay, I may have had something to do with this). Here's the original story:
The challenge: design a direct marketing program to get the attention of C-level executives and VPs at medium to large software companies for a strategic, high-value service, specifically, outsourced supply chain management from Zomax.
The plan: a direct mail campaign utilizing an interactive CD inside a DVD case with an insert showing a superhero illustration to give the package a video game feel. The flying superhero wore a high-tech toolpack on his chest with tools creatively labeled to reflect the company’s supply chain services offering, such as “Inventory Normalizer” and “Supply Chain Analyzer.”
The result: an award-winning campaign that was also a big business success. More than 30% of recipients viewed the CD; 6% entered into active sales cycles, and a third of those became clients, producing more than $500,000 in revenue. The campaign was named a finalist or winner for four different awards, including the CMO Council / Yahoo! Big Idea Chair award.
Lessons learned (a.k.a. keys to success):
Make a list and check it twice (at least): Because each package was personalized with the recipient’s first name and company name, production costs were high and returned packages had no re-use value – so the list had to be solid, both in terms of company size and targeting the responsible individual. First, hours were spent building a list from in-house, purchased, and publicly available sources, and then each company was called to verify the appropriate name, title and address.
Make it personal: Personalizing the package increased both curiosity and the “cool factor” – it looked like a video game designed just for the individual and company.
Special delivery: The superhero packages were delivered via FedEx. While this added significantly to the overall campaign cost, 1) people are more likely to actually receive and open FedEx packages than regular mail, and 2) we were able to track delivery dates and times for phone follow-up.
Track it: The CDs were embedded with Zomax’ own tracking technology, iTrax, which allowed us to track – at an aggregate level, similar to web analytics for a website – the total number of CDs viewed, the total number of times they were viewed, and how many different PCs they were viewed in, to measure campaign response.
Coordinate follow-up: Deliveries were tracked in, and marketing worked closely with sales to ensure that all recipients were followed up with by phone within 48 hours of receiving the package. Many of the recipients who weren’t immediate prospects still said they loved the package and would keep it on their shelf, providing Zomax with a number of long-term leads to nurture in addition to the short-term sales opportunities.
Terms: Marketing Sherpa Wisdom for 2007 report, supply chain management outsourcing, direct marketing, direct mail, interactive CD, CMO Council Yahoo! Big Idea Chair award, personalized direct mail, trackable CD marketing, iTrax, Zomax,

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