Central Design Systems' Campaign Bets on Slam 'Dunk'

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Central Design Systems Inc., San Jose, CA, is conducting its largest integrated marketing campaign, which features a series of "dunk shows," in the hopes of distinguishing itself from other companies within the e-business integrator market.

The campaign, which will include direct mail; regional print, radio and TV ads; and telemarketing and Web advertising, will focus on four major markets: San Jose, Seattle, Chicago and Portland, OR.

According to Beth Fox, director of marketing at CDSI, the campaign is targeting businesses ranging from Internet start-ups to Fortune 500 companies.

"We are directing the mailings to the CEOs, CIOs, IT people and MIS managers within these companies," Fox said. "About 60 percent of the mailings are going to prospects, while the other 40 percent will be mailed to people on our own file of existing customers."

The direct mail campaign is being conducted in three separate stages and will drop in each city, starting in San Jose, then Seattle, Chicago and Portland. The business-to-business campaign, which is designed to build brand awareness and drive people to the Web site, is designed around a dunk show that CDSI will sponsor in each city. At these events, executives from CDSI's vendor partners, which include Oracle, Cisco, Sun Microsystems, Check Point and BroadVision, will be asked questions from an audience and subsequently dunked into a tank of water if they answer incorrectly.

The first direct mail piece, which is called The eBusiness Tattler, is designed to look like a supermarket tabloid. The seven-page book contains fictional accounts from people and companies that have had bad experiences as e-commerce integrators.

The mailer comes complete with ads, personals, horoscopes and psychic advice. CDSI uses the piece to drive people to the Web site to register for the dunk show in their market. It also asks those interested in learning more about the services and features it provides to call a toll-free number or visit the Web site.

The second piece, a postcard version of the eBusiness Tattler, is sent two weeks later and is intended to serve as a reminder for the upcoming dunk show. This piece contains a more detailed listing of the services provided by CDSI.

The third piece is mailed two weeks later and serves as an invitation to the dunk show, stating that IT professionals and e-business managers are wanted as audience members. The bottom of the piece is a perforated ticket that can be used as admittance to the event. Those wanting to participate must first visit the Web site to register for the show.

The mailing will also include a swim cap and a pair of goggles. A follow-up call will be made a week later to those who have not responded.

The first piece is dropping this week in Chicago, but the entire set has been mailed to businesses in San Jose and Seattle. A total of 40,000 pieces will be mailed.

"The third piece has generated a 10 percent to 15 percent response rate so far from each market," Fox said. "We have also seen a lot of increased traffic to the site from the first two pieces."

Earlier this month, CDSI began running print ads in localized business journals promoting the dunk shows and the company's services. Three radio spots and TV ads on local cable channels have been running in the four target markets since mid-March.

All of the pieces, print ads and commercials were created inhouse.

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