Paperweight Mailer Has Hefty Cost

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Revit Technology began a business-to-business direct mail campaign last week to large retail chains offering to help them move more quickly from groundbreaking to open for business.


The campaign is for Revit 4.1, a software product for use in architecture, engineering and construction. The new version sells for an annual subscription price of $2,500 per computer.


Alex Neihaus, vice president of worldwide marketing at Revit, said large retailers are a natural fit for such software.


"These companies are always doing so much construction, either expanding or building new locations," he said. "They are all looking for a quicker way to get their stores built and get their cash registers ringing much sooner. The idea of having the capability to do that is very appealing to them."


Revit, Waltham, MA, targeted retailers that do more than $100 million in business annually or have more than 50 units in the United States. The people receiving mailings were vice presidents of construction, chief financial officers, directors of design, and vice presidents of store operations and construction.


Throughout last week, Revit dropped 250 pieces in the mail targeting these executives. Since not every company will be currently involved in construction projects, Neihaus said the main item is a 6-in.-by-4-in. paperweight that recipients can keep on their desk -- therefore keeping Revit in front of their eyes.


The paperweight shows a pile of dirt followed by a dotted line to a stack of receipts. The text underneath asks, "What is going on here?" A short paragraph outlines how Revit software can help a company achieve earlier completion dates, maintain cost control and adapt prototypes in a fraction of the time. The call to action asks people to visit a specially created site, www.revit.com/retail. A business card for one of the company's salespeople also is included.


"We make no direct offer nor do we provide a lot of detail about the software and its features in the piece," Neihaus said. "It was designed with the goal of generating awareness and not unit sales. We want them to visit the site where they can see more about the product or call us so we can determine their needs and discuss the benefits we can provide."


Neihaus said it chose to provide a salesperson's business card since "some people will want to take action," he said. "When we send people a piece that interests them, we want to give them the opportunity to do something if they choose to."


Revit chose to mail the piece to only 250 people since the cost per piece is $16. If the first campaign proves successful, Neihaus said the company would conduct another one targeting 400 to 500 people starting in mid-March.


Print advertisements using the same image and copy began in Chain Store Age this month and will run through March. Revit also sent 7,500 e-mails this month to people signed up to attend the National Retail Federation show. Neihaus said they received 48 responses within 30 minutes of the e-mails being delivered and more than 250 in the two-week period that followed.


To date the e-mail campaign has generated a 14 percent response rate and a number of strong leads, Neihaus said.


The e-mail was personalized and is written to address the needs of architects, store planners or real estate professionals. It provides links to www.revit.com/retail.


The total cost of the campaign is about $100,000.


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