Direct Mail From MCS Is Spellbinding

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For Mail Computer Services, creating a direct mail campaign to reposition itself was a crucial element in its effort to jump-start sales.

The 18-year-old database company with annual sales of about $11 million acquired a lettershop business six years ago to provide a greater variety of mail-related services. But when growth stagnated and feedback from the sales force indicated that many prospective and existing customers were unaware that MCS offered mail services, management acted.

The West Bridgewater, MA, firm enlisted Dragon Direct Marketing Inc. to help get the word out about its strengths. Dragon worked with MCS' sales team and management to define a position and message, and it created a mail campaign that included sending a set of colorful 3-D magnetic letters to 1,700 prospects. The effort targeted marketing and production executives at agencies and other companies in New England and the New York metropolitan area.

The campaign cost $45,000, not including Dragon's work on the repositioning, which came in at $15,000. As of Sept. 8, MCS had received 32 mail responses, 17 Web responses and had scheduled 41 appointments.

The magnetic letters aimed to reflect the company's core competence and "embed in recipients' minds that MCS is a lettershop," said Kathleen Aston, president/CEO of Dragon Direct Marketing, Acton, MA.

The magnetic letters mailed the week of June 28 in a box printed with royal blue, lemon yellow, Kelly green and fire-engine red graphics and type. Copy consisted of phrases such as: "Are your letters all over the place?" and "Bring your direct marketing production to MCS for service and results that are letter perfect."

The copy also sought to differentiate MCS from other lettershops by focusing on the experience of the MCS staff rather than its equipment and technology, the approach many lettershops take, Aston said. At one point, copy reads: "Craftspeople who dot every 'i' and cross every 't.' "

In addition to the magnetic letters, the box contained a brochure about MCS, a letter and the offer of a free $25 gift card for the first 25 people who requested a meeting with an MCS representative. Anyone who requested a meeting also had the chance to win a clambake for 10, valued at $500. Requests could be made by mailing a business reply card included in the package, calling an 800 number or visiting a site created for the campaign,

The box was followed by a 6-by-9-inch self-mailer featuring a similar color scheme and graphics that was mailed July 15. Phone calls were placed by Dragon to pursue leads generated by the campaign and to contact anyone on the list who hadn't responded.

The campaign remails to a new list of prospects starting in October.


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