Calling All Small Businesses
Make Me An Offer
Modeling also allows BellSouth to tailor each subsequent direct mail piece to reflect and build on the continually updated customer information.
"The Newlywed package is where you start to see different offers based on what that customer came in with," says Raible. "This is where we start introducing our knowledge of the customer, what [products/services] they have and are there any propensities we can offer up as solutions to make their package more cost-efficient and/or more effective for them."
This means a small business customer with smaller resources might receive a DSL message with the speed of the DSL line tailored to their needs. Meanwhile, a customer with more resources may receive a T1 offer.
Versioning of offers is extensive. For example, RoseAnn Haran, Grey Advertising's vice president, account management for BellSouth, says, "We're up to 43 different versions in our retention messaging, which is around bundles and growth." Grey works with BellSouth on acquisition, retention and mass media programs.
Brand new prospects with no prior relationship with BellSouth are targeted with more price-point driven direct mail, according to BellSouth's Mlott. Often these new prospects are sourced by identifying entities who recently have applied for a small business license. "We're not the lowest cost provider, nor do we want to be," says Mlott. "We give you a price point, we give you discount offers, we give you great service offerings, but the overarching theme … is that we have a tremendous breadth of services, we have highly qualified, talented, knowledgeable sales people that can handle all of your needs."
As well, BellSouth constantly is working to optimize the number of touches sent to customers. As customers migrate into the retention phase of their relationship with BellSouth, the rate of touches averages approximately once every three to four months. In fact, in 2005 the company shifted from a more traditional four-quarter approach to three promotional periods, describes Haran. "You always have to be careful not to oversaturate the market," she explains. Currently, DSL, Web hosting and Web site security are top of mind for BellSouth customers, she says.