Nuts & Bolts - Case Study: Direct Mail Turns Crumbles Into Whole Cookie
Lynn R. Godbersen's brain is so wired to think about agriculture, he doesn't even notice the implication behind his comment about the decision to create a direct mail campaign around feed additives for cattle.
"Well, we've got a large sales force, but they've got a lot on their plate," says Godbersen, who represents an important link in the food supply chain to American dinner tables.
He is the senior marketing manager of feed additives at Madison, N.J.-based Zoetis, which was formerly Pfizer Animal Health. And in the fall of 2012—the season during which "cattlemen" stock up on supplies to boost bovine energy during the winter—Godbersen needed to increase sales of feed additive "crumbles," or "medications to help improve the health of cattle," without using his already stretched sales force.
"It was important that they get this mailing right at the very beginning or right when that action is happening in this market," Godbersen says.
Godbersen and representatives of Brookfield, Wis.-based marketing agency Bader Rutter put their heads together and came up with a two-phase, reward-based direct mail campaign to feed dealers. They decided to target feed dealers who bought $5,000 or more worth of beef-specific products during the 18 months prior to the mailing. For this campaign, all dealers got the same offer.
The first batch of mail went out on Aug. 31 to 1,300 dealers, with the second send following a month later and reminding recipients they only had until Oct. 31 to "take advantage of this offer."
For every ton of crumbles dealers bought, they earned five to 25 points. (Godbersen says the points vary because the price points differ, depending on the type of crumbles—Deccox, Aureo or Aureomycin. "A 50-pound bag of these ranges from probably $150 to $400.") Dealers earned a stainless steel thermos for 20 points; for 50 points dealers got a cooler/warmer Godbersen says would be appropriate for, say, a pickup truck; and the biggest prize, a portable grill, went to customers who bought enough crumbles to receive 100 points.
"We got an 8 percent overall response," Godbersen says.
Zoetis sold more than $1 million worth of crumbles through this campaign, and Godbersen says he'll probably send out the direct mail again this fall. But this time, he's going to keep the Pareto Principle in mind when targeting customers. About 20 percent of recipients accounted for a large majority of the sales.
"Maybe there's some things we could do differently with that top end," Godbersen says. "Maybe more reminders. Or maybe something targeted … to them. I've also thought about maybe doing some real quick-and-dirty marketing research with those top-end, repeat customers to maybe zero-in on what would be a more attractive offer to them, going forward. So, as we continue to do this, I think we can refine that list and refine our offer to make it even more successful."