Mailer Sends DirectBuy Respondents to Web

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A direct mail program by DirectBuy and Mailnet Services Inc. provides a way to drive consumers interested in DirectBuy products to the company's Web site, where they have access to new showroom openings.

DirectBuy members can buy merchandise at manufacturer cost for their home direct from 700 brand-name manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. To purchase the merchandise, customers visit a DirectBuy showroom. The Merrillville, IN, firm has 130 franchised locations in the United States and Canada.

Mailnet Services, Franklin, TN, helps businesses deliver direct mail for marketing campaigns.

Last fall, DirectBuy began opening more showrooms across the country. It also launched an ad campaign to get the word out about the company. The campaign included a nationwide infomercial that still appears on cable networks.

A prospect who responds to the DRTV campaign is connected at a call center. After the prospect offers his information to the call center employee, the employee routes the information to the showroom nearest where the prospect lives. The showroom then sends an information packet.

However, some consumers who respond to DirectBuy advertising are not near a showroom. These leads go directly to Mailnet every Friday in an e-mail. On Monday or Tuesday, these prospects automatically receive a letter from DirectBuy's marketing manager, David Lee, referring them to the company's Web site.

"Unfortunately, according to our database search on the [ZIP] code you provided, our system indicates there is not yet a DirectBuy center in your area at this time," the letter says. "However, we encourage you to view a complete list of DirectBuy locations by visiting www.directbuy.com. At the site, you can view a list of our locations by clicking the "About Us" button."

The letter also states that if they still cannot find a center nearby, they can consider membership at a DirectBuy location of their choice by visiting www.directbuy.com and clicking the "Visitor's Pass" button.

Mailnet is distributing roughly 1,500 letters weekly, and 50,000 pieces have been sent in total. Mailnet uses its MailnetExpress online application, which develops, schedules and fulfills customized direct marketing campaigns.

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