One of the challenges in marketing to a large customer base for a particular product is that the file is comprised of many different segments, with each group possessing different characteristics and reasons for buying your goods. But what if your product comes in a couple versions plus offers an annual upgrade option?
That’s the case for business management software company Sage Software, and its contact management product, ACT! According to Ian Oxman, vice president of direct marketing, more than 1 million people have purchased one of the two primary ACT! models: standard or premium. The customer base also is segmented by the version purchased; some have ACT! 2006 and are clamoring for the next release, but others have older versions and need some coaxing to upgrade.
To address such a diverse market, Oxman says the direct mail team uses modeling to better match the right messaging to its various customer segments and to identify older targets that have the most potential to deliver a positive ROI for a mailing.
“ACT! customers are almost like consumers—a lot of them are individual, at-home SOHO-type businesses,” says Oxman. “It’s very difficult to get a lot of detailed data on these folks, so by analyzing past purchase patterns and developing models and looking at predictive patterns, we’ve been able to dramatically increase our response rate in the older customer segments that we mail to make it much more profitable.”
For example, to promote the recent release of ACT! 2007, the marketing team developed a campaign that features 6˝ x 8-1⁄4˝ envelope mailings that go out in 10 waves during the course of the yearlong promotion. Each mailing is targeted to the recipient’s current software model and version as well as to which wave is being dropped; this dictates the key features and benefits promoted. From this foundation, personalization is employed to customize the copy and offer to the particular customer; this variable messaging includes the target’s name, company name, customer ID code, priority code, offer, offer expiration date and any outer envelope copy that can be versioned.