Telemarketing Seals Deals for 'Recycled' Mailers

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An Ohio marketing consultant used telemarketing, e-mail and direct mailers featuring recycled materials -- including plastic bottles and shredded cash -- to promote a seminar program in a campaign that drew a response rate of about 5 percent.

Ernest Nicastro, principal of Positive Response, Dublin, OH, last month hosted his third seminar this year, promoting it to about 500 business-to-business companies in the Columbus, OH, area. In early August, he sent three mailers to each firm and followed up with telemarketing calls.

He selected prospects personally based on SIC codes, which are Labor Department codes for classifying types of businesses, and limited his range to a 20-mile radius around Columbus.

His partner in presenting the seminar, Harris InfoSource, Twinsburg, OH, provided the list for the campaign. Web Interactive Marketing, Plain City, OH, handled the outbound calling that followed the mailers. Nicastro and his seminar partners also sent e-mail invitations to customers and urged them to pass the invitation to others.

The direct mailers reached 485 companies, of which 23 had at least one representative attend the seminar. Several others attended as a result of the e-mail, Nicastro said.

Nicastro estimated that to achieve the same results without telemarketing, he would have had to double the size of his mailing. Telemarketing to prospects after they had received the mailers helped finalize their decisions.

"That was crucial," he said. "People need that phone call to go ahead and make the commitment. That's been our experience."

The first mailer, dropped Aug. 3, was a "message in a bottle" -- a small plastic bottle containing a letter. The letter said that though the message wouldn't lead to buried treasure, "it will lead you directly to a treasure chest of tools, tips, tactics and strategies."

The second mailer, sent three days later, was a full-window envelope. Inside was a scanned photo of a $100 bill printed on 8 1/2-by-11-inch card stock. Also inside was shredded U.S. currency, old money Nicastro obtained after it was shredded and discarded by the Federal Reserve. An accompanying letter read, "Tired of shredding through marketing dollars without getting the results you want?"

The last mailer went out three days after the second. It was a child-size clothes hanger wrapped in a full-sheet label, stating, "Marketing and lead generation? Yeah, we get the hang of it."

Nicastro mailed the pieces First Class, and a telemarketing call followed within a few days of the last piece. The rapid-fire nature of the campaign was by design, he said.

"What we wanted to do is hit them about three times in 10 days, and then follow up with a phone call," he said.

Considering the seminar was three hours long and held during one of the biggest vacation periods of the year, the attendance was substantial, Nicastro said. The goal of the seminars was to obtain leads on potential clients. Nicastro is following up on those now.


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