Westell Touts New Software Tool to Consumers

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Westell will kick off the direct mail portion of an integrated marketing effort today for its newest consumer software, called WebShare.

The campaign marks the first effort by the DSL technology provider to target consumers. Westell, Aurora, IL, has provided broadband solutions for telecom carriers such as Verizon, SBC Communications and British Telecomm.

WebShare, which is priced at $49, is a downloadable-only software tool that provides a broadband solution for home users and small businesses with multiple PCs.

Westell will mail more than 25,000 pieces to multi-PC homes in the New York metropolitan area as well as in San Francisco; San Jose, CA; and the Silicon Valley. It is targeting areas where its current clients, Verizon and SBC, have the greatest presence.

"We have noticed an increase in DSL activity by consumers as well as in the small-business and small-office/home-office market," said Joe Costillo, director of product management at Westell. "To introduce ourselves and eventually our consumer products, which we will be releasing throughout the year to the market, we decided to run a phased branding and direct marketing campaign."

The campaign is designed to let consumers know that Westell is bringing big technology to the home and small-business markets.

In addition to selling WebShare, the direct mail campaign is part of an effort to build a database of qualified leads for campaigns regarding future product releases.

The pieces will go to names from a proprietary list of warrantied Westell product users as well as from other undisclosed sources, according to Roxanne Espantman, director of strategic planning and account services at Millennium Communications, Syosset, NY, the agency that created the campaign.

The piece is a 5-inch-by-3 1/2-inch, invitation-style self-mailer that will be wafer sealed. The headline on the front will read: "We know what you want!"

After opening the piece, recipients learn that what they want is: "A new computer! And a whole new way to network." They can find out how to get that by running the CD-ROM that is provided. Also available is information about the opportunity "to win a new computer valued at $2,500." A microsite is provided for those interested in winning the prize.

"They didn't do anything too big, because we all felt that the weight of the piece would make people want to open it," Espantman said. "And those business card-size CD-ROMs are still new and quirky enough that we believe people are going to be interested in using them."

The CD-ROM contains an animated short of a family connecting their PCs with WebShare.

"The CD-ROM is the main call-to-action," she said. "We don't want them to go to the Westell home page. We want them to go to the WebShare microsite so we can educate them about the product and get them to purchase it and register for the sweepstakes."

When registering for the sweepstakes, users are asked to answer six optional questions about their home-computing needs as well as their interest in networking. Each question answered provides the recipient with another sweepstakes entry.

Recipients can receive four additional entries if they provide Westell with the names of four friends they would like to enter into the sweepstakes.

"We send those people an e-mail telling them where we got their names from, along with information on the sweepstakes and WebShare," she said. "It has an opt-out feature, and the person who gave us the names only receives those four other entries if the people come to the site and register."

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