Coupon Campaign Wakes Up Coffee Sales

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Target Marketing and Promotions is touting an 11 percent conversion rate as a measure of success in a direct mail coupon campaign for Eight O'Clock Coffee.

Campaign pieces were mailed in January, but Target Marketing and Promotions did not reveal the results until this month.

The campaign increased brand awareness and sales while driving traffic to grocery stores under the A&P umbrella, said Amy Perodeau, account manager at TMP, Boston.

The A&P corporation operates A&P, Sav-A-Center, Waldbaum's, The Food Emporium, Super Foodmart and other grocery stores in 16 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. Compass Foods is A&P's coffee sales and marketing subsidiary.

TMP designed and dropped the one-page fold-over piece, which went out Jan. 17 to 300,000 recipients. Each mailer featured a coupon offering customers $1 off a bag of Eight O'Clock Coffee. About 33,000 coupons have been redeemed, Perodeau said. The coupons expired May 31.

"We're measuring success based on the return rate, and we're getting 11 percent," which is above the industry's 1 percent to 2 percent average, Perodeau said.

TMP's campaign was untested and broadly targeted. It was geared toward "customers who have bought canned coffee at supermarkets," Perodeau said.

Compass Foods provided the marketing company with a list of frequent shopping club customers who had purchased canned coffee from A&P's chain of retail stores. Compass gathers names and addresses from customers who apply for frequent shopper discount cards.

The size of the mailer, which was 6 inches by 8.5 inches when folded in half, was chosen over a standard postcard size "to make it eye-catching," Perodeau said. "We wanted to stay within post office regulations, and we didn't want a small postcard."

The number of recipients was chosen for budgetary reasons, but Perodeau would not reveal details about the campaign's budget or return on investment.

Supermarket logos printed on the cover of the mailer varied according to the geographical location of recipients. Recipient names were printed on the front. Other than that, the mailers were identical.

"They all used the same text and made the same offer," Perodeau said.

The reverse side of the folded mailer depicted a dull can of generically labeled "ground coffee." The headline, "Are you still buying coffee in a can?" was relevant because all recipients were canned coffee purchasers.

Recipients who opened the piece were introduced to Eight O'Clock's product offer, "which represented whole bean and fresh ground coffee in a warm and informative way," Perodeau said.

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