3Com Marries Direct Mail, Internet Ads to Promote Phone

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Business networking provider 3Com is pushing a new gadget in its summer direct mail and Internet ad campaign.

3Com Corp., Santa Clara, CA, is shipping 400,000 mailers to promote its NBX 100 phone, which works in tandem with computer networks, said Miriam Gaylin, senior marketing manager at 3Com. The campaign, which started in June, is scheduled to continue until summer's end.

The effort is aimed at people with influence over phone purchases at companies of all sizes.

3Com used purchased lists supplemented with its own inhouse lists, Gaylin said. It kept track of the lists that brought the most sales in previous campaigns and bought them again.

The company is also putting ads on e-mail newsletters and on Web sites it believes can reach its target audience, Gaylin said.

3Com is using a "marriage" theme in the campaign. Its mailer depicts a computer mouse in bridal headdress snuggling with a phone receiver wearing a black tie.

The theme illustrates a complex issue in a simple way -- how phones and computers can work together, Gaylin said.

The mailer is bright yellow and measures 12 inches long by 4.5 inches wide, unfolding horizontally to 13 inches wide.

"This is a phone with a new wrinkle," Gaylin said. "In order to communicate this newness, we needed some more real estate."

3Com decided to go with an integrated campaign to hit the two types of people in its audience -- those who are Internet-savvy and those who are not, Gaylin said. The e-mails were for the former and the mailers were for the latter.

The mailer comes with a tear-off response card and lists 3Com's telephone number and Web site address.

3Com is targeting a busy audience -- office personnel -- so it has to make it as easy as possible for them to get in touch with the company, Gaylin said.

The company used gift offers to nudge customers through the sales process, she said. Customers got a gift for receiving a demo product and another for making a buy.

"My goal is to accelerate the sell cycle -- to assist sales," Gaylin said.

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