Direct Mail Spotlight: Xerox
Direct mail marketers conventionally treat business and consumer mail as separate disciplines and may even specialize in only one or the other. However, it's important to remember that B-to-B prospects, while acting in a business role, are still motivated by the same desires and emotions as ordinary consumers.
As in consumer direct mail, appealing to a B-to-B prospects' sense of curiosity, tempting them with a free gift, and offering real value and cost savings can get your mailer opened and response up. In its recent Phaser 7760 color printer lead generation effort, Xerox loads its outer envelope with an iPhone sweepstakes, rebate incentives and a curious die-cut with candy peeking through to draw B-to-B prospects inside.
Xerox mailed its lead generation effort in June to a large segment of graphic arts prospects who have needs for high-quality color. The outer copy, "Irresistible. Mouth-watering color so accurate, it's PANTONE approved," and image of a hand ripping through the envelope and revealing colorful candy inside get prospects curious. On the back of the outer there's an offer to win a free iPhone with a picture of the device as well as a $400 mail-in rebate for the printer (Archive Code #812-171839-0806).
If the prospect tears through the envelope, as the image of the hand on the outer suggests, inside is a candy-card print sample produced on the Phaser 7760 color printer itself. The print sample goes through a lot of quality control because it is integral in converting the lead. "We have an in-house print shop that runs pieces on our printers, so it's very similar to a press check at a commercial printer," says Ami Danielson, a direct mail manager for Xerox. Xerox teamed with Anderson Direct Marketing, a Poway, Calif.-based full-service direct marketing agency.
A three-paneled brochure further details the printer specifications and restates the iPhone and rebate offers and deadlines. Xerox finds it important to get the mix of technical and sales copy right for its audience. "This isn't a product spec sheet. It's trying to get the customer to understand how it can help them in their daily business," Danielson says.
An offer-specific URL integrates Xerox's mail and online channels. Repeated throughout the brochure, the URL directs prospects online to learn more, enter the sweepstakes and, ultimately, complete an online lead generation form. A reply postcard repeats the offer, deadline and URL; gathers information about the prospects' needs; and offers several follow-up options, including mail and e-mail.
Even with the integrated online reply form, most response comes via direct mail. A response is followed up by whatever options the prospect selects. "If they ask for more literature or samples, we obviously send them that. If they do opt in, they can get newsletter e-mails-so we can further nurture the relationship that way. And if they do qualify as a lead, then we pass that name along to a Xerox reseller so they can be contacted," Danielson explains. This multichannel effort really puts the prospect in charge of the conversation.
In each rollout, Danielson tests at least one element. This time around she versioned the mailers so one segment has a "family panel" that describes related products. In the other segment, the same panel has color-correction information for the Phaser 7760. Danielson also says that in the past, letters have been tested against the brochure, and that for color products, the brochure is the winner and current control. In the future, she plans on testing a new sweeps prize, like a digital camera against the iPhone, and possibly personalization.
While it is too early to determine the results of this mailing, Danielson projects that the package, which is on its seventh mailing, will continue to pull about 25 percent in lead generation. "If I can keep it around 25 percent of the total response, then I'm happy, but we've definitely exceeded that," she concludes.