Software Developer Tries DM to Launch Product

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Net Perceptions, Minneapolis, is in the next-to-last week of a three-week drop of almost 10,000 pieces mailed to help raise awareness of its new Personalization Network software for small-, medium- and large-sized companies.

Although it is not the company's first direct mail campaign, it is the first time it has used direct mail to promote the launch of a product.

The provider of personalization and merchandising software solutions was waiting until all four of the channels that make up the network were operational before it began a marketing campaign. The four channels are intelligence, Web recommendation, e-mail and customer acquisition.

The Personalization Network was designed to help increase Web site revenues, profits and customer loyalty. It gives online retailers a solution package that will help them better understand the connection between customers, products and promotions and give them the ability to act on that knowledge through the Web, e-mail and offline.

Net Perceptions' direct mail piece consists of a personalized cover letter and a three-page, 8-inch-by-11-inch foldout, which are accompanied by a set of headphones and a special offer of $25 worth of free music at

The offer comes on a cardboard CD encased in a CD holder. It includes a toll-free number for recipients to call to find out how they can cash in the $25. Net Perceptions is using the offer and the headphones to push the real offer of the piece, a free CD player.

When calling the toll-free number, callers reach the internal sales/consulting team at Net Perceptions.

"Not only will they provide callers with the information they need to get the free CD player, or take advantage of the $25 premium offer from CDNow, but our salespeople will ask them questions to help identify how good a lead they are and find out what issues they are dealing with," said Jane Westlint, director of network marketing at Net Perceptions. "In talking to them we may find out that another one of our products is better suited for them and what they are looking to do. Hopefully the campaign will not only help spread the word of the Personalization Network, but a lot of our other products as well."

Westlint would not divulge the exact split of the mailing, but said that while the mailing was going out to both old customers as well as new clients, most of the pieces were going to prospective new clients.

Net Perceptions is targeting both online and offline businesses of all sizes. But it is not marketing its product to companies that conduct business-to-business transactions or to content publishers. Instead, it is focusing on retailers that provide business to consumers.

"If you look at the list of the top 500 companies in the business-to-consumer retail industry," Westlint said, "those are the ones that we are going after."

Within those companies Net Perception is speaking directly to the vice presidents of marketing as well as the CEOs and vice presidents of e-commerce.

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