Hard-Core Mail Test Gets SoftPro Excited

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Every marketer knows sex sells. But according to advertising and direct marketing agency West & Vaughn, Raleigh, NC, it may take a direct mail campaign with the suggestion of hard-core sex to close sales for lawyers and real estate agents, especially in the Northeast.

West & Vaughn has launched a direct mail campaign featuring an overly available-looking model touting the services of a company named SoftPro Corp., which specializes in technology solutions and services that help sales representatives close sales more efficiently.

"SoftPro needed something very dramatic that would not only express their brand to their target audience, but immediately stop prospects and get their attention," said Robert Shaw West, W&V's creative director.

The agency's first direct mail test for SoftPro -- fewer than 100,000 pieces dropped this week -- appears to be the riskiest of the four planned. It features a hot pink and bold yellow postcard with an open-mouthed blonde promising, "Hot Closing Programmers Waiting to Talk, Live 24 Hours." The pieces were mailed randomly, targeting prospective business-to-business customers nationwide.

West & Vaughn also developed three other campaigns as part of the overall testing initiative for SoftPro, Raleigh, NC. Each is progressively safer in terms of content and approach, although the next planned drop slated for next week -- which depicts a sperm donor holding a cup -- will probably garner attention as well.

"When we discovered sales closings are the biggest turn-offs there is in this business, we knew we needed something that communicated how the product could be quite the 'turn-on' in terms of productivity," West said.

According to a SoftPro spokesman, a key selling pointing the company also intends to leverage is the modular nature of its products. In marketing materials, the company claims that it does not "force you to buy anything you don't need. You can always add on as your business grows. And our sales reps aren't commission-based, so each of them is equally glad to help you."

SoftPro would not characterize what percentage of return it is getting in response to the first mailing, but the spokesman said, "We are getting quite a response in the Northeast."

West said the Northeast has traditionally been a tough market for real estate and title closers. He said the agency was happy with the campaign, but "we will soon be doing another round of testing with a three-dimensional direct mail piece that will probably cost as high as $5 apiece."

He declined to detail its nature.
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