Research Firm Goes After Agencies, Advertisers With New Ad Service

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Market research firm AcuPoll is targeting advertising agencies as well as advertisers with a direct mail campaign for its Early Stage Ad Screening & Development Methodology service.

"We need to build awareness among agencies about our methodology," said Mark Sneider, senior vice president of marketing and sales at AcuPoll, Cincinnati. "The goal is to get them to be willing to test and understand it. This way, we can build an acceptance of the methodology and create a willingness to use it if they are approached by their clients."

AcuPoll specializes in early stage ad screening and development methodologies. The new service provides advertisers and agencies with real-time results of research, including the motivational impact and recall potential of ads. Last month, the company sent two separate mailings: 20,000 to account executives and planners at ad agencies and 30,000 to marketing vice presidents and managers and research managers at advertisers.

Names for the mailings were compiled from two sources. AcuPoll targeted business-to-consumer and business-to-business advertisers along with regular ad agencies and interactive agencies.

The drop to ad agencies was a one-piece mailing delivered in an envelope. It was designed to play off of agencies' limited desire to quantitatively test their advertising creative. The headline reads: "Who ever heard of an agency liking a research firm." The response mechanism on this piece was a business reply card.

"We want them to realize that we can be beneficial to them," he said. "We want them to look at us as an agency-friendly alternative."

The effort that was sent to advertisers was a two-piece mailing also delivered in an envelope. It contained a letter that briefly outlined the benefits and capabilities of the Early-Stage Ad Screening & Development Methodology service. The second piece was a glossy pamphlet containing more descriptions of the benefits and capabilities of the service. Advertisers were given the option of responding through e-mail or calling AcuPoll directly.

The piece to advertisers outlines the benefits of testing consumers before running a campaign, while the piece sent to agencies discusses how the methodology can help them go to their clients with the strongest possible ads.

AcuPoll hopes the campaign will generate six to 10 strong prospects by year's end. To date the campaign has generated 100 responses from ad agencies and to 20 responses from advertisers.

The cost of the campaign was between $25,000 and $30,000. Sneider said it would need to turn two or three prospects into customers in order for the campaign to pay for itself.

Pricing for the service varies and is dependent upon what the customer wants to do and the number of ads they want to test.

There is a second wave of comparable size planned for mid-year.


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