BTB Effort Learns From Past Mailings

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An ongoing direct mail campaign by pay-for-performance search engine firm Overture appears to be getting better with age.


The fourth part in the business-to-business series was sent last month to "several hundred thousand recipients," said Todd Daum, Overture's vice president of marketing.


"From the first mailing to this one we have doubled the amount of pieces that we are sending out," he said, while improving response rates and lowering the cost of acquisition.


The most recent mailing targets small to large-sized businesses in a variety of verticals. Daum would not discuss specific response rates, but said that the mailing so far is on par with past mailings and has the potential to outperform those efforts.


Overture has fine-tuned its message since the campaign began in January.


"We have learned that the more focused the message, the better response we get," he said. "Early on we were pushing a number of messages in our pieces, and they don't want information that is not relevant to them. A more targeted and focused message was better received.


"We definitely worked to simplify the mailers and get right to the major benefits and statistics, which means less text. But the business requires a certain level of explanation, so there is a need for a certain amount of it."


Names for each mailing come from in-house lists and outside sources. For last month's mailing, chief marketing officers and vice presidents of marketing were contacted at large companies while owners and CEOs were targeted at smaller ones.


The theme for the latest mailing is maximizing return on investment by using Overture's search listings to reach customers.


The front of the self-mailer displays a superhero called ROI Man standing in an elevator as others in the elevator stare at him. This is the first time Overture has used the character. Below the picture the headline reads: "Results you can't ignore. Advertise your Web site with Overture and watch your ROI soar."


The mailer opens to a spread. On the left-hand page the superhero theme continues with the message: "It's not a bird. Or a plane. It's a better way to improve your ROI." Following that are details on the benefits a company can see after one buy with Overture, such as getting placement on "premier search engines and portals" like Yahoo, MSN and Lycos.


The right-hand page provides the percentage of active Internet users Pasadena, CA-based Overture can connect advertisers with, the number of sales leads it drives to various categories and other statistics. A brief paragraph on the pricing scheme is also included along with an explanation on how to increase ROI.


Recipients are asked to visit many.use.overture.com or call a toll-free number for more information.


The campaign was created in-house.


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