Lawson Software Drop Generates Healthy Response

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A direct mail campaign that Lawson Software launched in November promoting e-Procurement, a new feature of its Procurement software suite, has exceeded expectations.


The e-business application software provider began a month-long drop of 16,500 direct mail pieces on Nov. 1 that went out in three stages.


The first 5,000 pieces went to a group made up entirely of healthcare industry professionals. The financial services industry was targeted with 6,500 pieces. The other 5,000 pieces were directed to several verticals, including utilities, publishing and wholesale distributors. Those targeted were CEOs, chief operating officers, chief financial officers, chief information officers and information service directors.


The three groups generated response rates of 12 percent, 6 percent and 10 percent, respectively.


"The high response rate in the first cell was due to the strong fit of e-procurement in the healthcare industry," said John Cook, direct marketing manager at Lawson Software, St. Paul, MN. "Overall we were shooting for a 5 percent response rate from each group."


The e-Procurement service allows users to find the right items at the right price -- regardless of their suppliers' system capabilities -- by integrating their business applications with those of their preferred exchanges, suppliers and manufacturers.


Cook said this was one of Lawson's most successful campaigns ever based on response rate, cost per inquiry and cost per qualified lead. He said 30 percent of the respondents were qualified leads based on the answers they provided in industry-specific surveys that were included. The survey was designed to determine how companies are using various procurement and Internet strategies.


Also included in the piece was a personalized cover letter that "was intended to get the point across that we understand their pain points and that we have a solution for them," Cook said.


The letter also mentions the benefits and gifts that could be provided to those who complete the survey, including a $45 gift pack from 3M and an executive summary of the responses provided by other recipients. The gift pack includes scrub brushes, Scotch tapes, Post-it notes and Newton's Apple CD-ROM. Most of the surveys were mailed, but recipients also had the option of faxing them back or completing them online.


Les Layton, president of Whitney Worldwide, St. Paul, MN, the direct marketing agency handling the campaign, said 4,000 3M Scotchlite highway emergency vests were included with some of the pieces. He said the item increased overall response by 50 percent to 100 percent.


Cook attributed the 9 percent overall response rate to interest in the new feature as well as the two special offers.


"Whenever we have offered gifts in the past they have always been educational in nature," he explained. "This is also the first time we tried the survey and executive summary offer with these industries."


Cook said that since each piece was personalized, the campaign was more costly than any of the company's previous direct mail campaigns. Companies cannot purchase the e-Procurement service without first purchasing the Procurement suite. Cook said that, based on the cost of the suite, the company must turn only one of the leads into a buyer to have the campaign pay for itself. Pricing for the suite is on a per-transaction basis.


"[The campaign] was more costly, but the cost per qualified lead on the backside was less than a usual campaign would be," Cook said.


Respondents were immediately sent their gift pack and a thank-you letter and were put into the Lawson database. The executive summary, which is being finalized, will be mailed with another thank-you letter.


Qualified leads were forwarded to the company's sales department and will be contacted by phone. Those who did not respond will not receive a follow-up but will be targeted in future marketing campaigns.


The names used for the campaign came from a marketing database that Lawson compiled from list brokers and magazine subscription lists. Cook said the company did not purge to determine whether any of the names were current users of the software. He believed that there were "barely any" current customers contacted with the mailing.
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