Mailer's Camera Offer Clicks With Recipients

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Canadian office products retailer Grand & Toy Limited has seen an 11 percent response to a customer acquisition mailing targeted to 3,500 midsize and large-size marketers in Canada late last year.

"These are prospects for whatever reason we'd not been able to motivate to become our customers," said Grant Nairn, then Grand & Toy's director of market development and direct marketing and now in charge of merchandising.

To break down resistance, Grand & Toy, Don Mills, Ontario, offered recipients a free Kensington Videocam digital camera for PCs, a $30 value, for agreeing to meet with a company representative.

Handled by Lowe RMP, a Toronto advertising agency, the campaign specifically sought the attention of office managers and buyers in Canadian pharmaceutical, transportation, healthcare and government organizations.

These prospects were briefed about Grand & Toy's office products, computer supplies and peripherals, paper and furniture products. The chain is owned by Boise Cascade Office Products, part of Boise Cascade in Boise, ID.

Grand & Toy's 350-odd field sales representatives collected the names of the prospects.

The mailer, a green box, has on its cover the photographs of children sitting on desks or crawling in an office. The caption reads, "Everything you need to take care of your office."

Inside, the top half of the box reads, "Sometimes managing an office can feel like baby-sitting. But an appointment with your Grand & Toy account manager could make your life a lot easier."

Copy in another card piece inside the box reads, "You'll even receive a free Kensington Videocam to photograph your colleagues growing up. Just contact us before December 21, 2001 and set up your appointment."

Inside, a letter to the prospect opened with these lines: "A free digital camera can't make up for what sometimes feels like a life of babysitting. But, hey, it's just the start!"

The letter went on to request a brief meeting with a Grand & Toy account manager. This sales representative's task was to convince the prospect that Grand & Toy's products could make running the office much easier and with more savings.

The package also included a baby handy wipe.

In addition, the prospect was offered a special discount just for setting up a Grand & Toy account, with an extra discount for the first purchase.

The prospect was then asked to visit or fax the enclosed reply form.

Nairn would not say how many prospects had purchased from Grand & Toy as a result of the mailer or how many people had received the free cameras. He did say that the cost of the campaign was $63,000 (U.S.). Though expensive for a mailing of 3,500, the effort generated sales of $69,000 through January.

"We're demonstrating to our potential customers that all office products companies aren't the same and that Grand & Toy understands the challenges they face during the business day," said Peter Coish, president of Lowe RMP.


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