A Follow-Up Technique that Sticks
Follow-up direct mail efforts aren't just for campaigns that solicit direct sales or donations. Business-to-business marketer 3Com has found that following up your lead generation campaign with another request for information can boost your results, especially if you use the right creative technique.
To get detailed information on its prospects' computer network needs as well as to generate interest in its line of products and system-building service, the eNetworks department of 3Com mailed a 9" x 12" envelope package in December 1999 that featured a contest (835THREEC1299).
Entrants were encouraged to describe their companies' network challenges and answer a list of questions on their current network systems as well as their future needs, in return for the chance to win one of two network solutions packages valued at $100,000 each. Respondents who chose to only answer the questions received a free digital watch and a diagram of a network that would fit their business needs. Additionally, contest entrants who didn't win one of the two prizes received a "customized network diagram."
The mailing contained a one-page letter, contest entry form, business reply envelope and an interesting broadside that capitalizes on the blueprint creative theme -- first seen on the outer envelope -- by unfolding to an 11" x 17" diagram of a computer network.
About one month later, at the end of January 2000, 3Com mailed a follow-up campaign that was nearly identical to the first mailing except for a change on the response deadline and a yellow, sticky note with a reminder of the new deadline that was glued to front of the outer envelope (835THREEC0200X). Even though the production capability to affix sticky notes to almost any printed product was introduced to the industry years ago, we've seen very few mailers take advantage of the technology.
3Com worked with CA agency MC Direct, which handled the creative execution, production and mailing needs. Says Marlena Djukich, marketing programs manager at 3Com, MC Direct incorporated the sticky note into the package design from the beginning, so as not to mar the message on the outer envelope when it came time to mail the follow-up.
According to Djukich, marketing programs manager at 3Com, the overall numbers for this campaign were really strong, but she can't contribute the majority of its success to the follow-up mailing and sticky note. She explains that more than 15,000 replies came in from the first mailing due to the strong call to action: a $100,000 prize.
You could also make a case for the value of the consolation prize of a network diagram awarded to each entrant.
Obviously, the follow-up mailing in January didn't pull as well as the first drop, but altogether 3Com was pleased enough to discontinue its original plan to mail three efforts on this campaign, says Djukich.
She adds that the sticky note did provide a unique visual twist to the follow-up mailing that probably gained more response than would have been brought in without it.
3Com is not likely to repeat this campaign, says Djukich, since the company tends not to re-visit the same creative. The company's marketplace, business-to-business requires frequent stimulation with different looks and offers, she explains.
But Djukich does feel that the sticky note was worth the expense. She may use this technique again under the right circumstances.