Bell Atlantic Goes Wild With Sweepstakes

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Bell Atlantic is using knowledge gleaned from database marketing initiatives in a massive integrated sweepstakes campaign for additional phone services that will target specific ethnic groups, telecommuters and busy households.


The Save Like Wild campaign, which debuted this month and runs through April 3, will hit all 22 million customer households from Maine to Virginia with bill inserts describing the different discounted service packages.


Customers who place orders are automatically entered into a sweepstakes for 10 vacations each worth $25,000 to be given away in May, but no purchase is necessary for entry. Bell Atlantic, New York, has conducted sweepstakes for past product promotions but never one of this scale, said spokesman John Bonomo.


Save Like Wild is the first campaign since the company began accepting orders on its Web site (www.bellatlantic.com) last September.


Targeted consumers will receive separate direct mail pieces for each specific product or service. Those who fail to respond to an initial mailing will receive a follow-up mail piece or telephone call. Certain Hispanic and Asian customers will receive in-language communications based on indicated preferences or profiles established through modeling.


Luis Santiago, director of ethnic and premium markets at Bell Atlantic said ethnic targeting has let the company narrow its top prospects for additional services and determine in what language they wish to receive mail or telephone offers. Bell Atlantic currently sends direct mail and conducts outbound telemarketing in Spanish, Russian, Korean, Mandarin and Cantonese.


In the last two to three years, Santiago said, the company has evolved from renting ethnic lists to building and tagging a database with information from customer interviews, surveys and the purchase of demographic and psychographic data. It has been working with outside database companies to establish models that can identify not only customers with the propensity to buy an additional line, for instance, but what is motivating that purchase, be it a teenager who uses the Internet or the addition of extended family into the household.


As the company continues to build its database, putting the information to use will become a priority. In marketing to Asians, for example, he said in-language print advertising works better than renting lists.


"As we enter a more competitive environment, every [regional phone company] in the country has more information than Uncle Sam,'' Santiago said. "But the challenge is how do you sift and sort through it to use it?''


Bonomo said Bell Atlantic also uses database modeling to build profiles of the work-at-home customer and identify prospects for its Big Deal Value Pack and Call Manger packages. Similar profiles have been established for busy households that may require additional lines or caller-ID.


Draft Worldwide, New York, is handling the direct mail creative portion of the campaign. Draft designed a series of three mail pieces for caller-ID, additional lines and the Big Deal Value Pack. Most customers will receive a control package that includes images of the products, while a test package will incorporate visual images from the Maurice Sendak book "Where the Wild Things Are,'' which has been used in Bell Atlantic's previous mass-market campaigns.
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