Bits & Pieces Case Study - Picking Up the Pieces
"It was vital to find out two key things very quickly," points out Martin Smith, Millennium's managing director. "We needed to demonstrate that efficient order-taking and fulfillment processes exist for third-party operators in the United Kingdom. And it was vital to find out how existing Bits & Pieces customers would react bearing in mind the poor service they experienced with their pre-Christmas orders in 1997."
The agency negotiated postal discounts with the British Post Office; put the fulfillment operation in place with one of the agency's existing clients, HHS Mail Order; set up a new database; and created a marketing plan.
A 16-page digest-sized catalog was tested and mailed to three mail-order and charity lists that previously had responded well in the 1997 campaign, as well as to the 50,000 buyers from the 1997 campaign (the vast majority of which had been disappointed). A letter of apology was sent to the previous buyers along with the catalog, but the tone was upbeat in terms of the system improvements that had been put in place.
Test results confirmed the new system didn't just work, it worked extremely well. Even more gratifying was the discovery that the previous buyers reacted with unbelievable enthusiasm! The mailing pulled a 2.5 percent response rate from the third-party lists and a healthy 8 percent from previous buyers.
Everything was now set up for a roll-out in 2000. Armed with realistic marketing targets based on its fall 1999 test, harder-hitting creative treatments, including the use of sweepstakes, and much tighter cost controls, the campaign kicked off in October 2000.
A number of tests were in place. The first was a 52-page catalog, with a bound-in order form, mailed directly from the United States. This package was tested against a 32-page digest-sized catalog mailed in an envelope with a separate personalized letter and order form mailed within the United Kingdom.