What’s Up Down Under?

Today I’m leaving the comfortable confines of the United States to take a look at an email marketing campaign that took place on the other side of the globe. Australian marketer Cherry Design teamed up with the Australian subsidiary of Datawatch, a company that specializes (or should I say “specialises”?) in software solutions for the help-desk support industry, to run a campaign to publicize a new version of one of its software packages. But email marketing was just one piece of the marketing pie. Here’s a look at this integrated campaign.

To promote the new QSM suite of tools, Datawatch hosted champagne breakfasts on a wharf this past February. The events came complete with complimentary diagnosis consultations, during which Datawatch reps would write up reports for attendees. The objectives of the seminars were to raise interest in the software among both existing and prospective customers, to build Datawatch’s reputation as a market leader, and — surprise, surprise — to sell the product.

But none of this could happen, of course, without publicity. So Datawatch and Cherry Design came up with a campaign that had telemarketing, email, and direct mail components. All of the pieces revolved around one theme: cigars. (It had just so happened that the idea for the software came about in a Cuban restaurant in 1992 as the directors of the company were sitting around smoking stogies.)

In advance of the event, on Monday, February 5, the current client base was sent a Cuban cigar packed in a box with the direct marketing copy, and prospective clients were sent a direct marketing piece in a printed brown envelope. The next day, a letter went out to current and prospective customers, and the company launched a related Web site. Then, later in the week (on Friday, February 9), the HTML/GIF mailing went out. Plus, telemarketers began the round of phone calls the week of February 12.

How well did this integrated approach work? Well, as those of you who have read this column in the past are aware, companies are often reluctant to give out hard data. Datawatch tracked the campaign and took care of the execution, and the results are still being tracked. The company notes that conversions are still being made, as the sales process is a relatively long one. (Michael Dayes of Cherry Design notes that the average purchase price of this software product is about 40,000 AUD.)

But I did ask Michael what his company learned from the campaign. Here’s his response (sent to me via email):

What did we learn? Giff animation combined with HTML… can really help to “up” the wow factor and cut through — as can timing an email to land in a recipient’s inbox within a day of them receiving a boxed cigar in the mail! Technically, it’s difficult for us to say that conclusively as there was no “control pack,” as the small number of mailings didn’t warrant one.

For me personally, it reinforced the idea that as direct marketers we need two factors within our creative and offer:

1. The dream — the story of the major emotional benefit (smoking a cigar on a docked boat first thing in the morning??)

2. A number of justifying factors — that’s even to get people into the first phase of the sales cycle. So you’ve got to really think about what the value proposition, at every step. Then get the customer or prospective customer to make smaller commitments that eventually lead to bigger ones.

Interesting stuff. As always, I invite your comments on this campaign, particularly if you’ve run a campaign that has email, direct marketing, and telemarketing components, and I will share those with you all in a later article. Until next time…

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