ASAP Case Study

From time to time, readers ask if email marketing is really the way to go. “We’re happy with direct mail,” they say, “and we don’t know if we want to invest in email marketing.”

If you’re still not convinced email marketing can outperform direct (and with better return on investment, or ROI), today’s case study is for you. Or, it’s for you to show to those doubters at your company.

ASAP Software is a software licensing service provider. If a company wishes to install a Novell network, it can go to ASAP for licenses and support. Ongoing customer communication is extremely important to ASAP. In this particular case, it was vital.

Last summer, Microsoft announced major changes in its volume licensing programs. The changes were important and complicated. ASAP wanted to make sure all current customers understood them. It began to implement several types of campaigns: direct mail, internal training, communications via Web seminars, and (of course) email.

ASAP worked with POPstick to create a POPgram. A POPgram is an interactive rich media message sent as a simple link in a text email message (avoiding size-related gateway rejection). It’s based on Flash and ColdFusion and for safety purposes is stored on an externally hosted server.

The POPgram was designed to inform clients about the licensing changes. At the end was a call to action: a survey that asked recipients for demographic data, including name, organization, and number of PCs. The survey also asked a handful of other questions, such as how users purchase MS products, if they’re considering purchasing the upgrade, and whether they use an asset management tracking tool. As an incentive, the survey offered a chance to win a Microsoft Xbox.

Last May, ASAP sent the message to its database of thousands of current customers who had opted in to receive email. I can’t show you this POPgram, but you can see a sample by visiting the POPstick home page and clicking on the “Skip Directly To POPgram Demos” link.

Results? Typically, direct mail gets about a 1 percent response rate. Over 10 percent of recipients filled out this POPgram survey. ROI for this campaign was about three times that of a direct mail campaign.

“We were impressed by the sheer number of customers who completed our survey,” said ASAP’s Harry Zoberman, senior vice president, marketing and operations. “Clearly, they understood the positive nature of the opportunity.”

ASAP used responses to track customer data, such as whether recipients accessed information about ASAP or licensing or if they had filled out the survey. Although ASAP understandably does not want to release those results, Zoberman did mention the data his company gathered was extremely helpful in gauging customer needs.

Keep in mind some results can’t be measured directly. Response rate and ROI aren’t the only ways in which email outperforms direct. Throw in feedback timeliness and other hard-to-measure results, and email emerges the clear winner.

Heidi’s on vacation. She wants readers to know she won’t respond as quickly as usual to email. — The Editors.

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