Terrorist Attacks Give Mailer Added Significance

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Veritas Software Corp. is watching returns from a direct mail campaign for its backup and storage software to see if last month's terrorist attacks prompt a higher-than-expected response rate.

"One might think that we would get a higher response than we normally would as a result of what happened on Sept. 11," said Nick Bucchino, senior direct response manager at the Mountain View, CA-based storage management software provider. "We are going to have to wait and see what kind of effect the incidents will have. And it will be interesting to see how the response rates change as a result of this."

Planned before Sept. 11, the business-to-business campaign mailed Sept. 28 and did not mention the attacks. However, Bucchino said the company plans mailings later this month or early next month with a strong, focused message around disaster recovery. He could not provide any further details about the new mailings.

Veritas sent 50,000 pieces to prospects at small- and mid-size companies across all types of industries. Those targeted were system and database administrators as well as information technology and information systems managers. Seventy percent to 80 percent of the mailings went to first-time prospects taken from magazine subscription lists and other sources. The remaining names were from its internal database of prospects that it has previously targeted but not converted into customers.

The average response rate for the company's direct mail campaigns is slightly less than 2.5 percent with a conversion rate of 34 percent.

The piece is a self-mailer that folds out to six panels, with each panel telling a portion of the story of NetBackup BusinesServer and what it can do for a company.

The cover reads: "Is your Data in Danger?" with the words appearing over an ominous black-and-white photo of a man. Bucchino said the messaging of the piece is to inform recipients how important a backup solution is to a company.

"Then the piece goes on to highlight how our software can satisfy their needs," he said.

The mailer provides three response mechanisms: a toll-free number, a Web address and a business reply card. Recipients can download a white paper and evaluation sheet, and can request a free 30-day CD-ROM evaluation kit sent to them.

As for running a $75,000 campaign at a time when companies are slashing budgets, Bucchino said Veritas did not scale back its third quarter advertising activities but will take a look at its fourth quarter initiatives.

"I don't believe what we do in the fourth quarter will be considered scaling back," he said. "It is going to be more of a reprioritization of our efforts."

He acknowledged that companies are not spending much money at this point, but said that data security is an expense that companies view as a necessity.

Veritas worked with Kern Direct, Woodland Hills, CA, on developing the collateral for the campaign.

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