ASP Tests Campaign In Own Back Yard Before Going National

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Application service provider BlueTie has launched an integrated marketing effort to nearby small to medium-size businesses as a prelude to a national effort next year.


The campaign promotes the company's BlueTie Connected Officing, which includes e-mail, instant messaging, calendaring and contact management software. Dan DeJoy, director of sales and business development at BlueTie, Rochester, NY, said the product is a hosted alternative to inhouse solutions such as Microsoft Exchange and Outlook.


The effort targets Rochester as well as Buffalo, Albany, Syracuse, Binghamton and other upstate New York communities. The national campaign also will roll out on a regional basis.


"We have a very deliberate approach as to how we are going to market our company," DeJoy said. "The goal is to correlate the running of print campaigns and direct mail campaigns with the announcing of two to three new customers in a particular area. In our research we found that having a point of reference and someone to identify with is extremely important to small and medium-sized businesses."


The theme of the campaign, "Put It On," is designed to make a connection between trying on a blue tie and signing up for the company's services.


The telemarketing portion begins this week and will continue for the foreseeable future, DeJoy said. BlueTie is using three sales people to contact 20,000 small to medium-size businesses in upstate New York. The list of names is made up entirely of prospects.


"Direct telemarketing is going to be big for us," he said. "Whether it's for sales purposes or support it is going to be something we continue to use."


The direct mail portion of the campaign begins this week to the same 20,000 people being contacted by phone. The piece will be a self-mailer that opens up to list the benefits of BlueTie as well as a listing of its products and services. The focus, DeJoy said, is on the simplicity of the product, not the technology.


"This target audience is going to buy the product based on its simplicity of use and implementation and we will probably lose them with technology talk," he said. "They just want it to work. It's like turning on a TV. You just want the series to appear so you can watch it, you don't want to know how the TV works and all of the other technical stuff involved."


The mailer invites recipients to follow up for more information by phone, a business reply card or the company's Web site. As an incentive, anyone who signs up for the BlueTie Connected Officing service will receive one month free of charge. The cost is $24.95 per user per month.


DeJoy said the decision to use a self-mailer was made before the anthrax issue began.


"When doing a direct mail campaign and something arises like the anthrax issue, it has to warrant a conversation, and it did," he said. "But because we are not using an envelope to mail the piece in, we decided it was not something that should stop us from running the campaign."


The direct mail piece for the national rollout will follow the design and content of the current mailing, though DeJoy said adjustments may be made based on the response rate.


The print effort will begin early next month and will run in five business journals. The advertisements will be black and white except for a colored blue tie being worn by a person in the ad.


BlueTie will use actual testimonials from three of its current clients for the ad.


The company also revamped its Web site at www.bluetie.com for the campaign. The site now includes customer case studies, expanded technical information, downloadable product guides for each application and detailed product descriptions


DeJoy would not discuss the cost of the campaign.


BlueTie worked with the Rochester, NY, office of Jay Advertising on the campaign. Jay advertising is an Interpublic Group Co.


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