L2 gives DMers star role

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Marketing services firm L2 Inc. appealed to America's love affair with movies to introduce its Web-based solution that lets marketers personalize and track campaigns.

The first stage of L2's campaign began June 8, when the Palo Alto, CA, company mailed 1,768 DM Days New York registrants a mock movie poster. Each individual poster featured a recipient's name as the star of the movie and displayed a personal URL address. Visitors to the personalized URL could choose a DVD movie that would be mailed to them.

"We wanted to create a piece that was compelling - not just in terms of the message," L2 president/CEO Wrich Printz said. L2 hopes the poster not only piques interest in its Fuse solution, but offers something recipients consider keeping.

Fuse lets customers upload a database and print a direct mail piece addressed to each contact. The system automatically generates a personalized URL for each contact. Fuse then ensures visitors see tailored offers when they type in their URL.

The effort aims to demonstrate how much impact a well-imagined personalized campaign can have.

"By just making the attempt, having the personalized URL and having some intelligence, we were able to have a gigantic response rate," Mr. Printz said.

For the first stage of the campaign, 326 recipients, or 18 percent of the total, visited their personalized URL to select a movie, while 41 recipients, or 2 percent, requested further information by June 13.

On July 12, 370 follow-up postcards were sent to those who had opted in to receive further information from the company after the initial mailing and to people who had visited L2's booth during the DM Days show and signed up to get more information.

The offer was the same. However, people who were returning to their personal URL site after not choosing a DVD the first time they visited were shown copy that offered to mail a selected movie right away.

By Sept. 8, 19 people, or 5 percent of 370, had visited their personal URL, while eight people (2 percent) opted in for more communication. Also, one respondent signed a contract for $160,000 worth of business in the first year and $80,000 in the second year, all for a campaign that cost $12,000 to execute.

Initially, the offer that came with the poster was that L2 would mail the movie in four to six weeks. However, after several people contacted the company because they wanted their movie sooner - like the next day - L2 changed its shipping policy to between three and five days.

L2 created two versions of the poster: one with the theme "A View to a Customer" targeted at sales personnel, while the other targeted marketing personnel with the theme "It's a Mad, Mad, Mad Marketing World." The company plans two more posters, one with a romance theme and another with a science fiction theme, for future mailings to different people within the same organizations.

"I've been hearing about variable-information print for 10 to 15 years," Mr. Printz said. "As people start to come up with interesting ways to use and make it relevant to the customer, ways to drive the campaign, that's what's going to make it interesting."

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