It's Not the Gift That Counts-It's the Box (578 words)
by Bob Hacker
Computers can hear us and cars can talk back—why not a mail package that sings? Our client, VERITAS Software Corporation, liked the idea and so did we. The result is an eye-catching dimensional mailing.
VERITAS faced an unusual challenge. As a provider of data management and storage solutions for large enterprise systems, the company's sales path typically follows a multi-step, relational process. And because many of its customers need multi-faceted solutions, VERITAS is willing to invest heavily in prospecting to targeted clients. It has a strong success rate in sales prospecting by using corporate gifts and entertainment programs.
While high-end gifts are cost-effective for some prospects, they don't work in every situation. In the case of VERITAS, some of its best prospects are government and municipal agencies. The gifts that attract corporate clients are off-limits to government employees.
So VERITAS came to us with a question: How can we generate the same kind of response the gift programs bring—without the gift?
That's when we decided a mail package could sing.
The concept was event-centered. VERITAS arranged luxury suite baseball parties with major league teams in its target market cities. The offer was simple: Join us for an evening of great baseball and a good party.
Since VERITAS couldn't include a high-end gift, we decided to make the invitation an event in its own right. Arriving in an Airborne box, priority delivery, the package is designed to get past the gatekeeper. The recipient opens the 10˝ x 13˝ x 3˝ package to find a grass green box with a lid displaying an image of a Louisville slugger bearing the recipient's name.
You have to open that box, right?
When you do—you're right in the ballpark with your name in lights. We put the full power of variable image printing to work to create a highly personalized baseball diamond inside the box. The box lid shows the stands and the scoreboard—with the prospect's name and stats prominently displayed. We used a peel-and-stick stock to create the images and applied them to the box.
The contents of the box were humble, but effective: a baseball stamped with the VERITAS logo, a team pennant, an invitation and a Cracker Jack package.
The invitation envelope featured a great view of the diamond and opened to reveal the singing invitation. Opening the cover triggers the electronic chip and activates a rousing rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."
Personalized copy inside issues the invitation and invites a phone call.
This innovative baseball box took some out-of-the-box thinking to become a reality. The combination of creative ingenuity and energetic sourcing really paid off.
Results? Pardon the pun, but this one is a grand slam. With the project still in process, VERITAS expects a sell-out. Response to the baseball box is not only high, it's almost immediate. The company is receiving high visibility and praise from senior level managers, as well as a strong presence with database administrators and system administrators who usually make the decision to procure VERITAS products. Even more important, the positive impact of this mailing is filling appointment books for VERITAS sales representatives. With a response rate of more than 90 percent, the appointment rate is even higher.
That's a home run in any ballpark.
Bob Hacker is president of The Hacker Group Ltd., a Seattle-based direct marketing agency. For a free white paper on his PowerTest! methodology, call (425) 454-8556 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.