Vital Living Products Opts For Prerecorded Message Campaign

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Vital Living Products could not afford broadcast advertising to support sales of its home water-quality analyzer.

As a result, the company launched a prerecorded message campaign targeting areas with high concentrations of homes that use well water. The campaign is being conducted in conjunction with regular Sunday newspaper inserts that run in areas where the company is focusing its telemarketing effort.

The company is attempting to boost retail sales of its PurTest water analyzer, which is available at 20,000 retail outlets nationwide.

Vital Living Products expected to begin blasting 70,000 messages per day on Dec. 15 to homes in numerous areas where wells provide the main source of water. During the first quarter of 2001, the call volume will be increased to 280,000 per day.

The company plans to target 15 million homes nationwide and finish the campaign around the end of March. However, the majority of calls will be placed to the Midwest.

The firm obtained a database that revealed the number of homes in each ZIP code nationwide that use well water. Vital Living Products is calling every home in each of the targeted ZIP codes that have the greatest number of wells. The calls are cheap enough that Don Podrebarac, president/ CEO of Vital Living Products, Matthews, NC, does not mind if messages are sent to homes that do not use well water. The prerecorded calls cost 1.5 cents for each 30-second message. The PurTest analyzer can be used in homes that use public water as well.

The half-page inserts, which will begin their 20-week run in January, will be in newspapers that have a combined circulation of 17 million.

The telemarketing campaign proved successful in summer tests, Podrebarac said. The company called 6,000 homes per day in August. Sales at the company's largest retail seller have increased 20 percent since the test period began. Sales at the company Web site, at, have gone from an average of three orders per day to 10.

Podrebarac originally wanted to buy a spot on the nationally syndicated Paul Harvey radio show, but balked at the $1.5 million price tag for a once-per-week, 52-week buy. Direct mail also was not an option because the company's database lacked the detailed information needed to precisely target consumers.

Vital Living Products is utilizing 96 phone lines to make the calls.

Because of federal laws prohibiting solicitation through prerecorded messages, the script of the messages could not include a toll-free number through which consumers could order directly. Instead, the message script starts with, "Test your water with PurTest." It then mentions retail outlets where the product is available and ends with a tip about improving home water quality.

Each home receives four messages, each of which includes a different tip. The first message contains a toll-free number that allows consumers to reach a representative who can answer questions regarding water testing and PurTest. However, the representative will not take product orders.

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