CMM Postcards Create Interest for Office Complex

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The developer of Palmetto Bay Village Center, a new commercial complex being created out of the former Burger King world headquarters in south Miami, is receiving strong results from a three-tier direct mailing using the U.S. Postal Service's Customized MarketMail classification.

The property, 80 acres with three buildings totaling 305,000 square feet, is being converted into office space scheduled to open in July.

To promote the property, cardboard-stock cutouts of an image of a Boston terrier were sent to 12,000 residents near the development who have houses valued at $300,000-plus or $400,000-plus, based on ZIP code. They could be CEOs or small-business owners who have offices farther away and might consider one closer to home.

Businesses in the area with 20 or more people as well as professionals with five or more employees also got postcards. The pieces were sent Feb. 25.

The odd shape complied with the postal service's CMM classification, which lets direct marketers mail nonrectangular pieces without having to enclose them in a package or envelope.

On the back of the piece, the developer promoted short commutes to the nearby office complex. The slogan "Who's waiting for you at home?" is emblazoned on the top. The postcard also said, "They may love you at the office, but not like they do at home. So, spend more time with your family, and less on your commute. Move your business to Palmetto Bay Village Center. Prime office space, tailored to your needs, just minutes from your neighborhood."

"We had two objectives," said Jill Blake, project manager, Palmetto Bay Village Center. "First, to educate the people that live in the immediate vicinity of what is going on in their neighborhood. The other objective is to attract local decision makers [to] relocate their offices there."

The mail piece also directed recipients to contact Pam Smith or Mia Stierheim of Abood Wood-Fay Real Estate Group, Coral Gables, FL, the exclusive leasing agency for Palmetto Bay Village Center, by phone or the agency's Web site.

"We've shown the space to about 12 prospects who came directly from receiving the postcard, and we are pretty certain we will get at least one lease as a direct result of the marketing campaign," said Smith, senior commercial associate at Abood Wood-Fay. She hopes for further sales by the time the second and third postcards hit in-home.

Smith also said many people have commented on the mail piece and love it.

One reason for the excitement is the postcard's size.

"The [oversize] mail pieces grab a lot of attention," said Blake, who added that despite the size -- it measures about 12 by 10 inches at its longest and widest points -- postal workers could fit the piece into mailboxes because they are made of flexible cardboard.

Another mail piece went out March 29. Shaped like an alarm clock, it carried the tag line "Take Longer Showers." In late April, a piece will be sent in the shape of binoculars with a view of Biscayne Bay in the lenses with the tagline "Don't Blink."

All three postcards target the same 12,000 names.

"We wanted to focus on things that people in the general population value, like their dog, their time and a pretty view -- things that we feel people would be able to capitalize on if they moved their offices here," Blake said.

Blake said that the developer decided on three postcards to generate interest.

"We had discussed doing a smaller postcard that was more traditional and doing it five times, but we felt that was too long, and this was a lot more eye-catching," she said.

Armenteros & Martin Design Associates, a Coral Gables graphic design firm, created the promotion. Suniland Press Inc., Miami, printed the postcards, and All in One Mail Shop, Miami, handled fulfillment and provided the list.

Linda Martin, president of Armenteros & Martin, said the cost was about $1 per piece, including postage, creative, the list and fulfillment.

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