CRM Vendor Invites Prospects to Talk to the Competition

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Customer relationship management software provider Pivotal Corp. begins a direct mail campaign next month that puts its competitors in a starring role.

With a theme of "sensible CRM is better than humongous CRM," the campaign tries to show that while Pivotal is not as large as its competitors, it is more affordable and easier to work with. To get the point across to potential clients, the piece provides the phone numbers of its three largest competitors -- Siebel Systems, SAP America and Oracle -- and invites recipients to call the three companies if they "can afford to spend millions of dollars on enterprisewide customer relationship management implementations."

Matt Duncan, vice president of marketing at Pivotal, is not concerned that the mail pieces may drive potential leads to competitors.

"If people aren't going to call us directly," he said, "we want people to call up these companies and say, 'Hey we got your number from a Pivotal ad, do you know who they are or why they would give out your number.' The idea is to highlight for these prospects that there is a choice in the CRM software field. We are telling them these guys may be bigger than we are, but here is why it is easier and more cost-effective to work with us."

Pivotal, Vancouver, British Columbia, will mail pieces to 10,000 senior executives at midsize and entrepreneurial businesses. Half of the recipients are current or past customers while the other half are prospects. The oversized mailers also will include Pivotal's toll-free number and Web address.

The campaign began last month with print advertisements in The Wall Street Journal. The theme of the ads were: time, cost, try before you buy, fixed-price contracts and results.

For example, the black-and-white ad focusing on cost reads: If you can afford to spend millions of dollars on enterprisewide customer relationship management implementations, call the guys who sell humongous CRM software. That is followed by the non-toll-free numbers for Siebel Systems, SAP and Oracle. The ad then continues with, "If you want CRM results at less than half the cost, call us," followed by Pivotal's toll-free number and Web address.

"The mailer is going to incorporate all five of those themes in one piece instead of five," he said. "We want to build awareness and generate leads with this mailing."

The print campaign will run in The Wall Street Journal through next year and ads also will appear next year in targeted technology publications such as Baseline and CIO Insight.

Pivotal will also begin an e-mail campaign next month targeted at technology and business decision makers within companies. Duncan said the total number of e-mails had yet to be determined, but that they would use the same themes and messaging as the print ads and direct mail pieces.

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