Activity Highlights: B-to-B
The B-to-B market is all about cost and value these days. The high quality of the products and wares is also discussed in the direct mail, as well as the excellent service and programs provided, but these often take a back seat to good offers and top-notch deals that prospects can get. Also, in an attempt to get prospects to raise their hands, pURLs, sweepstakes and CD-ROMs are employed.
Verisign sent a very Christmasy 5-1/4" x 10" pullout mailer, covered with snowflakes (Archive code #836-475022-0909). The back of the envelope asks a sure-to-get-their-attention question in big type: "What's the difference between a holiday shopper who fills their cart and one who fills out their credit card information?" The answer is tucked behind the long, horizontal window below that forces the prospect to pull out the inside card. It reveals a green-colored web address bar with https://www.imagineyoursitehere.com next to a lock symbol and the text "identified by VeriSign."
The inside piece also works effectively, with a large "25% OFF" greeting the prospect next to several calls to action. The four-page booklet uses a potent combination of promotional copy, research data and testimonials. The lead line is an attention-getter: "When customers know they're shopping on a secure site, they're 86% more likely to make a purchase." The back page gives a few snapshots of case studies, with companies having some success with VeriSign's new "green bar."
Ok, this next mailing went out in September as a "Summer Special," but that's a season that never goes out of favor, especially when a sale is attached. Ricoh printed a "Big Summer Break!" on its four-color, 5" x 10" postcard, with the shot of a piggy bank riding a wave (Archive code #812-174947-0909). To get leads, the opposite side places a pURL in the middle of a promotional paragraph about its digital printer, which is being discounted.
Sweepstakes are rare in direct mail these days, but UPS has revived them in its lively "No Stress with UPS" campaign. The plain front of the "6 x 8-1/2" outer says, "Shipping is serious business. But who says it can't be fun? See inside" (Archive code #901-174091-0909B). The back of the envelope shows an illustration of a plane and palm trees, next to the line, "Get the most stress-free shipping in the business." Inside, the in-line printed letter and oversize brochure showcase the prizes, including the grand prize of a week's vacation in St. Croix, in both color and words; in addition, the piece shows the prospect how after registering, each time he or she uses UPS, points are earned for the sweepstakes prizes.
Sometimes a picture makes a prospect spend a few extra moments with a mail piece. Such is the case with HelpSTAR's 5-1/2" x 8-1/2" self-mailer that features the line "Love Your Help Desk" with a photo of an IT guy at his computer looking shocked while a young woman gives him a shoulder massage (Archive code #836-639499-0909). Opening the mailing reveals four panels littered with images and text, perhaps too much so.
Nevertheless, a good part of the promotional material works, such as the product reviews on one panel, the advanced features spelled out and the display of the logos of over two dozen well-known companies, hospitals, banks and universities. Lastly, the enclosed CD-ROM may work best of all for prospects who want to know more in a user-friendly way, as demos, tutorials, video case studies and a sample chapter from "A Guide to Computer User Support" are included. That CD-ROM better work well, for the weakest part of this mailing is the missing calls to action and response mechanisms. No reply form or envelope, no toll-free number, and only one reference to HelpSTAR's website.
Lastly, GoDaddy.com uses a celebrity endorsement to boost its #10 mailing, with a large picture of IndyCar Series female racing car driver Danica Patrick on the outer's front and a quote—"A domain name and a Web site from GoDaddy.com give me all the exposure I need"—on the back (Archive code #837-716624-0909). The top window is personalized to the prospect, who's being offered a discount of 25 percent off on domains, hosting and site builders.
Inside, it's simple. A two-sided letter is all there is, as the order methods are only through the web or phone (using the personalized source code). Otherwise, the letter consists of eight bullet points that describe GoDaddy's various web tools. The back of the letter is broken into the five different programs GoDaddy offers at different, yet low, price points.