Coffee, Tea or Leads
Coffee, in some shape or form, has been a perennial favorite for premiums or freemiums used by B-to-B marketers. Logically, if some companies choose to send logo coffee mugs as business gifts and branding tools, then others will be intent to fill those mugs with their prospects' beverage of choice.
During the past few years, B-to-B firms have embraced the rise of the gourmet coffee shop by purchasing gift cards from national chains, like Starbucks, for their premium and freemium needs. But what if your target audience contains prospects who (if it's even possible) don't have a Starbucks nearby or who are die-hard Dunkin' Donuts fans?
You do as Cisco Systems, a San Jose, Calif.-based developer of networking technologies, has in a recent effort promoting its Self-defending Network. This 6" x 9" envelope campaign is part of the firm's demand generation efforts to identify, prime and convert leads for its line of corporate
security products (Archive code #836-177798-0503). The plain, white outer bears a single line of copy that puts the offer on the table immediately: "InsideYour free Security Insider's Kit with DVD and $10 Coffee Card offer."
The only remaining elements in this mailing are a 51/2" x 81/2" four-panel insert that stages the offer, and a plastic card that serves as an interactive element and provides the registration code Cisco will use to track response to this effort. The insert connects the idea of free coffee with security products by inviting prospects to discuss their company's network security needs with their CIO over a cup of coffee, at Cisco's expense. Interested prospects can choose from a unique URL or a toll-free number with a unique extension to register for the Security Insider's Kit and coffee gift card.
The landing page for the URL gets down to business immediately by gathering full contact information; a tiny bit of promotion copy details what the prospect will receive for responding. In addition to the Security Insider's Kit and $10 coffee gift card, Cisco promises to deliver tools and strategies plus advice on how to communicate corporate security needs to one's CIO or CTO. This landing page also provides a list of networking solutions that might be of interest to respondents; the box for "network security" is pre-checked.
Interestingly, no option is provided for the respondent to indicate what coffee shop he or she prefers. And, this information does not show up on the confirmation page either, which tells respondents to expect their Security Insider's Kit to arrive in four to six weeks. That's a long time to keep a fledgling lead warm and interested in how your product can solve his or her problems. For that reason, I'm guessing that the collection of the prospect's phone number and e-mail address will be used to assign a sales representative or demand generation specialist to this lead. A personal dialogue can be started by a follow-up call or e-mail to identify any further information needs and to determine which retail gift card will cover the lead's coffee predilections.
With so many freemiums and premiums in the mail that turn into dust-gathering objet d'art on a prospect's desk, the gift card shows real star power as an incentive that can provide utility for the prospect and the marketer. Cisco has come up with a way to personalize its lead qualification process, thus delivering more ROI for its premium budget.