Lodestar Accelerates Its Direct Mail Campaign

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Three months ago Lodestar, Peabody, MA, was looking to create an eye-catching direct mail piece that would help drive traffic to its booth at an upcoming trade show.

What it produced was an "ear-catching" piece that evolved into its standard direct mail piece, currently mailing to new prospects in an effort to push its Lodestar Customer Choice software suite.

According to Patricia Mansfield, vice president of marketing communications at Lodestar, the piece produced such an impressive turnout at the company's trade show booth that she believed it would be just as effective as a direct mail promotion.

The piece is a 6-inch-by-11-inch self-mailer. The printing across the front states, "Don't buy your CIS Solution without checking out the engine." When the front flap opens, the front ends of two automobiles appear with pop-up hood covers. One of the "cars" has what appears to be an engine under its hood -- which actually generates the sound of an engine revving when the piece is opened. An image of grasshoppers can be found under the other car's hood.

"The check-under-the-hood theme is perfect for what we are trying to do with this piece, [which] is [to] get the message out to people that we are the only company in this market that offers a full software solution that can be implemented immediately," Mansfield said.

The piece was developed inhouse by Lodestar, a developer of software solutions for the deregulated "new energy economy." Its software suite assists gas, water, telecommunications and electric companies with billing, pricing, forecasting and customer management processes.

"We not only target companies within the deregulated states, but we also market to regulated companies as well," Mansfield said.

The second of three drops went out last week. Each drop consists of 5,000 pieces.

Lodestar has added three new modules to its software solution and is using the piece to promote the additions.

The text within the piece highlights "over 100 successful installations." The call-to-action for prospects is to either call a toll-free number or visit the Lodestar Web site at www.lodestarcorp.com.

Mansfield did not provide results generated by the direct mail campaign.

Lodestar markets its software suite to five different segments of the utility industry: regulated and deregulated companies, independent system operators, transmission companies and generation companies.

"All I have to do to use the piece for each of those markets is change the last paragraph of text and the bullet points to tailor it specifically for them," Mansfield said.

Lodestar has more than 100 clients throughout North America. Mansfield said it plans to be a global company by next year and is working on deals with utility companies in Japan, Australia and Germany.

Mansfield's plan is to "shelve the piece" in November following the final drop and design a new one using the same theme and idea.

"I will definitely go back to it in the future, but we are currently looking at expanding on this original idea that would make it stick out amongst the clutter of mail even more," she said.

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