Jerzees Seeks Customer Feedback

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As direct marketing agency of record for Jerzees Activewear, Dimac Direct, St. Louis, has been encouraging the T-shirt and sweatshirt company's clients not only to take a closer look at the company but also to talk to it.

Jerzees Activewear, a division of Russell Corp., Alexander City, AL, that specializes in imprintable sweatshirts and T-shirts, enlisted Dimac Direct to build long-term relationships with its business-to-business customers, including silk-screeners and embroiderers.

In keeping with the theory that a good database is the cornerstone of effective targeted campaigns, Dimac has been using a series of mail campaigns to raise awareness of different styles, materials and colors offered by the company, as well as gather information on customers and prospects and encourage dialogue.

"Different customers want the product for different reasons. We want to find out as much as we can to better understand their buying habits and needs," said Kelly Kutz, vice president and management supervisor on the account.

A recent piece sent to Jerzees' 50,000-name database informed customers about the company's Web site, introduced the new colors for 1998 and included a business-reply card asking customers questions about their business. As an incentive to fill out the card, customers were offered a free catalog, a swatch card with samples of all the company's colors, a list of distributors and a chance to win $500 worth of merchandise.

"It's a big thing in the industry to introduce the year's new colors, but we also wanted to tell people how to use the Web site and to drive survey response back," Kutz said.

The survey included multiple-choice questions about how often the customers purchased, how often they use the Internet, what types of purchases they would make in the next six to eight weeks, what their primary and secondary types of business are and what brands they normally purchase.

Similarly, in advance of industry trade shows in January and February, the agency mailed a slightly abridged version of the mailer on the company's new colors and Web site to trade-show attendees. That mailer also included a survey card and promised attendees that if they brought a completed survey to the Jerzees booth and asked questions about at least three of the company's labels, they would be eligible to win instant prizes, including $50 and Jerzees T-shirts and sweatshirts.

Although it is too early to measure results of the mailing to the Jerzees database, the company's trade show booth had never seen so many visitors.

"It generated a lot of excitement," Kutz said.

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