Cereal Box Mailer Gets Healthy Start

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Biz360 Inc.'s use of a colorful cereal box to promote its Market360 hosted media measurement and analysis application has gained the attention of marketing communications professionals.


The orange box features a photo of the VeriSign communications team, whose vice president, Tom Galvin, was instrumental in signing on Biz360 to measure how the domain name seller is perceived in media reports online. Galvin endorses Biz360 on the box.


"This piece definitely created more brand awareness," said Jill Hooper, direct marketing manager at Biz360. "This is the first campaign that has generated a significant number of inbound calls asking for demos. Our first demo was scheduled in 24 hours."


Market360 aggregates information across all media, including broadcast outlets, news Web sites, print and message boards. Reports are viewed on a customized dashboard online. Clients using Market360 include Harley-Davidson Co., Visa, 3Com, Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, Hyperion and, of course, VeriSign.


Biz360 is sending 2,000 boxes to a targeted list of corporate communications and public relations executives at high-tech, pharmaceutical and financial services companies. Drops of 250 boxes each went out Sept. 6, 9, 10 and 11. Drops of 500 each go out the last two weeks of October. The first mailing prompted three inbound telephone calls even before the Biz360 sales team began follow-up calls.


"We deliberately spaced out the drops this way so that our sales team has adequate time to follow up with recipients and schedule demos," said Robyn Forman, marketing manager at Biz360, San Mateo, CA. "The sales team started making outbound calls on Sept. 13, and from the first 250 we have already booked 15 demos."


The cereal box concept, created by Bravo Marketing, San Francisco, fit the campaign's goals.


"We wanted to create a high-impact piece that would have a long shelf life," Forman said. "We wanted people who received the box to keep it in their offices and even pass it around to other people in their department.


"We wanted people to discuss measurement and how it's becoming a trend to use this kind of analysis on a daily basis to make marketing work more effective. We also needed a lot of real estate so we could educate our market as well as get our business benefits across."


A side panel on the box quotes Galvin about the value of Market360. More information on VeriSign and its corporate communications team also is displayed. The other side panel showcases Market360 product features, or "ingredients."


The back panel shows the Market360 dashboard. It notes the high-value sections of the dashboard in the form of callouts, or comments that highlight features. A callout for missed opportunities says, "Look here for low-hanging fruit." Another callout on the back of the box says, "Start your day with Market360 and have your competition for lunch."


For those looking closely, there are several Easter eggs across the box. One is the UPC code on the bottom of the box, which actually is Biz360's telephone number.


The box is filled with generic wheat-based flakes. Also enclosed in the package with each box is a document outlining the benefits of Market360. A coupon at the bottom is good for one "free" demonstration of Market360.


"We meant this to be funny, since we'd be willing to give anyone a demo anytime," Forman said.


The company tests a premium in the drop for the third week of October, including a free watch in the boxes.


T-shirts to the VeriSign PR team and Biz360 employees rounded off the effort. Biz360 used a humorous photo of the VeriSign team and mocked it up in the cereal box for the back of the T-shirt. T-shirts for the VeriSign and Biz360 teams have their respective company logos and the "Best if used before" box.


The campaign cost $40,000. Freelance copywriter Mac McClelland wrote the copy.


"We don't have much money in our budget for advertising," Hooper said. "The success of all our marketing campaigns is heavily reliant upon strong creative and persistent follow-up from our sales team. Eighty-five percent of our sales to date are attributable to direct marketing.


"We plan to continue using this campaign, highlighting different customers each time, so there will be a new marketing cereal box champion next time around. Also, the next iteration of the campaign will be significantly less expensive because the creative is already complete."


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