Hitachi Resumes Mailer After Summer Hiatus

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After halting a direct mail campaign for its midsize data storage system during July and August, Hitachi will resume the effort next week with a drop of 70,000 pieces.


"The doldrums of the summer months is not the best time to run campaigns," said Rachel Young, director of direct marketing at Hitachi. "So we take those two months off and then start again in September."


Hitachi sent more than 200,000 pieces in the first three drops, which went monthly from April to June. Young said each mailing went to 65,000 to 70,000 recipients, targeting a different group each time. The campaign has generated a 4.1 percent response rate.


The storage system, the Freedom Storage Thunder 9200, is new, and Hitachi aims to identify strong leads and generate awareness for the product. Pricing generally ranges from $60,000 to several hundred thousand dollars.


Hitachi is using 10 to 15 lists taken from IT publication subscription lists. The mailings go to prospects, and targets include mid-level managers, such as directors and managers of IT departments, along with networking engineers. Getting in front of both the influencers and the decision makers is important, Young said.


"We are targeting the networking engineers because they are the ones who will be using the product," she said. "This way the product can be evaluated and reviewed by them, and they can provide their opinions to the key decision makers."


Hitachi uses the same 11-by-6-inch self-mailer for each drop. The headline on the front of the mailer is "Performance You Wouldn't Expect From a Mid-Size. (Storage system, that is.)" Below that are three gauges with the needles all in the red. Instead of speed and RPMs, the gauges measure bandwidth, capacity and cache.


"To people in this field, those three words and the reading of the gauges will be exactly what they are looking for in the capabilities of a storage system," Young said. "This image will strike an immediate chord with them because it will tell them exactly what our system can offer."


Below the gauges, recipients are asked to learn more about the product and how to win a 42-inch Hitachi Plasma Screen television by visiting thunder9200.com.


The inside of the piece details the product's benefits and capabilities. And though the goal of the mail piece is to drive people to a Web site, Hitachi included a perforated business reply card.


"Not everyone we send the mailer to will visit the Web site," Young said. "So if they prefer to do it through the mail, we want to make it as easy as possible for them to do that."


Creative was handled by Kern Direct, Woodland Hills, CA.


Site visitors are asked to provide a PIN from the mailing. They then are asked to describe what stage of the buying process they are at and their enterprise-wide storage capacity. They also can let Hitachi know if they want to receive more information on the product or have a representative call them right away. After that, they can register in a drawing for the TV, priced at $10,000. More detailed information on the product and its features are also available at the site.


"At the site we are using the information they provide us with to determine how strong a lead they are," she said.


Hitachi does a lot of follow-up phone calls for the campaign, Young said, but planned to make no calls Sept. 11.


"We have an aggressive outbound telemarketing program," she said. "And we have decided to be very conscientious and not make calls that day."


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