BTB Agency Hatches Marketing Campaign

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With more than 20 years as a business-to-business marketing agency, Leopard is familiar with how its clients' businesses have evolved in the Internet age. So when the Boulder, CO-based firm realized several years ago that BTB marketers required a better way to manage, distribute and track their marketing materials, it created a Web-based application designed to handle this function.


The application, Leopard EM, is in place at several marketing agencies on a subscription basis with prices starting at $1,000 a month. Leopard decided to introduce the system to a wider audience earlier this year and created a marketing campaign to help it accomplish this goal.


Since Leopard EM promises to help bridge the gulf between sales and marketing departments, an early suggestion for the campaign was to illustrate the sales-marketing relationship. The campaign would involve mailing an electronic toy robot to both a sales and a marketing executive in the same company and inviting them to meet with someone from Leopard. Once the executives were in the same room, the robots would start fighting with one another.


"Even though this was a fun idea, we didn't want to reinforce the problem," said Leopard CEO Sherry Leopard.


Then the company hit upon the idea of building a campaign around the classic riddle that poses the question: "Which came first -- the chicken or the egg?" According to Leopard, sales and marketing personnel are always debating about who made the first contact with a new customer.


The company decided to mail an egg carton containing six plastic eggs to prospects. Inside the eggs is a tag, each one describing a different benefit of Leopard EM and naming a related gift for which the tag could be exchanged. A tag that reads "Demonstrate impact" can be exchanged for a pedometer while one that reads "Protect your investments" is good for a set of keyless luggage locks.


Leopard started mailing the eggs in May and plans to continue the campaign at least through the end of the third quarter and possibly longer. Every other week, the company sends 25 mailers that include an egg carton with six plastic eggs and tags, a letter of introduction and a one-page description of Leopard EM. So far, it has mailed 350 pieces to directors, vice presidents and executive-level personnel in marketing, marketing communications and channel marketing divisions of BTB companies. The names come from an in-house list developed by Leopard during several branding campaigns it created for itself over the past few years.


The primary goal of the mailing is to schedule one-on-one meetings with recipients to determine their needs regarding managing marketing materials. Other goals include getting feedback on Leopard EM and finding out which qualified prospects might be interested in signing up for the application.


During these meetings recipients can exchange their tags for the appropriate gifts.


While recipients can call the company or go to its Web site to schedule a meeting, most of the meetings have been set up as a result of calls initiated by Leopard.


"Telemarketing is one of the key successes of this campaign," Leopard said.


An initial call was placed during the development phase to verify the names and titles of recipients. A second call is placed to pre-notify targets that they would be receiving a package. One last call is made after the package has been received to request a meeting.


The average response rate so far has been 22 percent.


"We really only need to close one deal to have the campaign more than pay for itself," Leopard said. "People are getting the egg cartons in the mail and sharing them with other people in their office and talking to us about how much they loved the creative. When you're mailing marketing materials to marketing people, you have to have something a cut above."


Creative elements of the campaign were developed in-house. Individual elements ranged in cost from $5.90 for each mailer, including postage, to $200 per gift package as the tags are exchanged for gifts that are presented to representatives of companies that meet with Leopard. The company also is spending about $6.50 per mailer on telemarketing costs.


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