'Invisible Fence' Mailer Breaks Down Sales Barriers

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Prospect mailings to Northeast residents this spring helped The Canine Fence Company exceed projected new bookings for its Invisible Fence pet containment systems.


Mailers went to more than 100,000 recipients each month, resulting in 850 to 1,000 installations of the Invisible Fence during each month after the drops.


"We exceeded revenue targets by 8 percent for May, based on the April mailings, and for April it was 4 percent, based on the March mailings," said Kim McCarthy, marketing manager at The Canine Fence Company, Wilton, CT. "Spring begins what is our busiest time, and it helped that we didn't have much of a winter this year.


The company conducts monthly promotions, all about 100,000 each time.


"We will mail 40,000 in the first week and 20,000 in each of the next three weeks," she said. "Then we follow up at the end of the month on all of them with the same offer, but with a different image on the front of the postcard."


Those targeted live in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont and New Hampshire. Artwork on the front of the 9 1/4-inch by 6-inch cards feature a child with a dog along with the words, "Safe at home ... Guaranteed!" An offer for $100 off a fully installed system appeared on the back as well as the company's toll-free number, Web site, www.caninefence.com, a money-back guarantee and the slogan, "We're Local To You!"


McCarthy described the target as "primarily female, the caregiver of the family between the ages of 25 and 55." They also live in households with an average annual income of more than $75,000. A secondary group includes empty nesters.


"We like to focus on the bond between the children and the pets and the idea that your dog or cat is also a member of the family," she said.


Two to three lists were used to obtain prospect names.


The Invisible Fence uses an underground wire that runs around the perimeter of the property. An included collar worn by the pet senses when the animal gets close to the border and emits a warning beep. Once the pet crosses the wire, an electric shock is emitted through the collar.


"The pet is trained to back away and not go any further," McCarthy said. "The pet has to be trained and we provide all services," she said. "But you can also buy a self-install system for $299 and that includes manuals for training and installation."


The cost for the mailings has remained relatively flat during the past year as each postcard costs 8 cents plus postage, which costs an additional 17 to 21 cents apiece.


"[Invisible Fence is] a higher ticket item, and our ticket average means we are going to break even a lot quicker on our offers as opposed to something that 's low margin," she said.


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