For MidCap Business Credit, a commercial lending institution that special-izes in loans for firms with credit ratings of B or lower, the challenge is not just refining the list selection process to isolate the best prospects, but also to anticipate when these firms will be in the market for working capital.
The answer, says Lee Marc Stein, proprietor of Lee Marc Stein Ltd., a direct marketing consultancy and creative services firm in Hauppauge, N.Y., that created this campaign for MidCap Business Credit, was a straightforward pitch that offered respondents two levels of response.
MidCap conducted its first direct mail test a few months ago, sending 20,000 #10 envelope packages to companies with sales volume between $2 million and $20 million; the geographic targets were Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, upstate New York and two counties in New Jersey.
The mailing featured a white, #10 outer envelope with just the company name and address printed on the front. A one-page letter from MidCap’s president pulls no punches: The first line asks companies with a need for a loan between $300,000 and $3 million to call MidCap’s toll-free phone number. The rest of the message outlines MidCap’s specialty in working with firms that have lower credit ratings and promises individual service. The postscript lays down the second gauntlet: Those financial officers not in immediate need of working capital for their businesses can respond anyway to receive articles on financial topics and stay posted on how MidCap is helping other firms reach their corporate finance goals.
A brochure was tested in an A/B split, with results showing no lift with its inclusion. A BRE made response easy; toll-free fax and e-mail response options also were offered.
The campaign pulled a .75 percent response, with about half of respondents requesting more information and a smaller subset initiating a loan request.