Security-Software Mailer Scores High Response

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Though the past month has been a nightmare for direct mailers, Recourse Technologies has seen a 5.2 percent response rate for a piece it mailed Oct. 19 -- nearly three times the rate it expected.

Recourse, a security software provider, sent the business-to-business mailer to 30,000 directors and managers of network and Internet security at large corporations. Kimberly Kasper, Recourse's director of marketing programs, said verticals including government, healthcare, financial services and hi-tech were primarily targeted.

The Redwood City, CA, company did pause before starting the campaign to consider whether the piece was appropriate after Sept. 11, especially parts that discussed threats and attacks to network security. Kasper said the decision was that the language was perfectly appropriate for the topic and the audience.

"If we would have made any type of change to the language and tried to word it differently, this group of people would have felt we were talking down to them, and they would have looked down at us," she said.

RED Direct worked with Recourse to design the campaign.

"This was a very targeted campaign to a specific group of people," said Ruth Ann, president of RED Direct. "We can't start talking to them about these things in another language than what they are used to."

The piece clearly worked, though Kasper does not think it got a boost from added security worries after Sept. 11.

"Network security is always an issue for companies," she said. "The awareness of it and importance may have been heightened at the time, but I don't think it had any major effect on causing people to respond to our mailing."

Sixty percent of those who have responded are qualified leads, which Kasper defined as those who have a project in place, a budget for it and will deploy it in the next 90 to 120 days.

The piece consisted of a one-page cover letter addressing security issues and how Recourse can provide the proper security measures. There was an offer for a free copy of a book titled "Internet Security," which is authored by Linda McCarthy, the company's vice president of Systems Engineering and the author of the letter.

Recourse also considered changing the packaging but stayed with a standard white envelope with the company's name and logo in the upper left corner.

"The anthrax scare was really just starting at that time," Kasper said. "So I was worried about doing the mailing and concerned about the pieces getting opened. But we felt the piece was clearly marked and there would be no problems with going ahead with the campaign."

The names were compiled from a number of sources including trade publications focusing on network security.

Kasper said the sales cycle for its products can be anywhere from "very short" to four months. Pricing is also dependent upon the way and how often a company plans on using it.

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