Banking on Builders
Whether tearing down, building anew or just buying, the real estate market is bursting at the seams and ripe for the picking. According to a recent article in The Philadelphia Inquirer, builders across the country increased the pace of new construction this spring, and house sales are aiming to set their fifth consecutive record this year. Turn on the TV any night of the week, and you're almost sure to come across something having to do with paint, drywall or bulldozers.
Recognizing that, KeyBank's Real Estate Capital division set out to win over the movers and shakers of this industry: builders. To do so, KeyBank turned to relationship marketing firm Epsilon, which devised a three-part concept to entice attendees of the 2005 International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla. in January.
The first component of the campaign was a save-the-date postcard mailed to a list of 5,000 builders inviting them to a reception to be hosted by KeyBank during the show. According to Laurie Masters, vice president and marketing manager for KeyBank, 100 prospects were selected from that list of 5,000 with a focus on builders in the Southeastdue to the conference's location and KeyBank's relatively new arrival in that marketwho build more than 100 homes a year, and mailed what looks like a silver toolbox in a cardboard box (To order, call 215-238-5225 and reference KeyBank).
On the inside of the toolbox lid is an invitation to attend the reception and the business card of a KeyBank executive. In the base of the box lay a one-sided, 8-1/2" x 11" letter on top of a silver remote control GMC pickup truck. To the right of where the truck rests is an empty 2-3/4" x 6-3/4" slot with copy that reads, "Remote Goes Here." Copy to the left of the vacant remote slot explains, "Make an appointment with me to discuss how we can help you navigate your next project, and I'll give you the remote that powers the enclosed sport-utility truck."
Part three of the campaign was, as you may have guessed, a box containing the remote control to the truck, hand-delivered by the KeyBank representative at the time of said appointment.
The goal of the mailing, according to both KeyBank and Epsilon, was to create a buzz to get prospects to meet with KeyBank representatives and engage in quality two-way communication to learn more about KeyBank's servicesand, of course, get a fun toy in the process.
"We wanted to get people to attend the reception in lieu of other events that might be going on at the conference, and then for the select 100, have them set up a meeting with a person from KeyBank," says Melanie Gerik, account director at Epsilon. "But, in addition to that we were trying to establish a position as a trusted adviser in this market, and really deliver our value proposition in a creative way that would get attention. So even if they didn't set the appointment immediately, we wanted it to have a lasting impact."
Masters adds that KeyBank was faced with the two-fold challenge of being a new player in the Southeast and the overall competition between banks to woo home builders. "This was another way, with the substantial and high-quality nature of this promotion, to really impress upon prospects and clients in those markets that KeyBank really is committed to this business," she adds.
According to Masters, the feedback from the KeyBank sales team was that this message of commitment was received loud and clear from clients and prospects. The campaign resulted in 21 appointments, and Masters estimates $1.24 million in revenue for KeyBank generated from the campaign on an initial investment of under $50,000.
"How we're going to top it next year, I don't know," adds Masters. "I think we'll have to do something definitely unusual."