Radio Offer Showcases Electrical Manufacturer's New Line

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The offer of a free clock radio designed to look like a test and measurement device was used in a direct mail campaign to generate interest in the device among electricians and electrical contractors.


The mailer described the AM/FM clock radio as resembling Ideal Industries Inc.'s Platinum Pro 320 series multimeter, which tests voltage and amperage and provides other electrical measurements.


The radio was described as a $29.99 value, including a magnetic hanging strap and a carrying case. Per-item cost of the radio was about $3.


Ideal, Sycamore, IL, sent just over 40,000 direct mail pieces touting the series, with names obtained from two trade publications. The 320 series ranges in price from $69 to $119.


About 5,000 prospects were obtained from NEC Digest and were selected based on company size, as most of the names were taken from firms with at least 50 employees.


A second set of names was pulled from Electrical Contractor magazine, as 35,000 were mailed at companies with 100 or more employees. This larger group included management personnel as well as repair and operations professionals at commercial and industrial contractors. About 500 people also were targeted from the company's house list.


The pieces dropped in the first week of February.


"Ideal is an 'old school' electrical manufacturer, and they've been around since 1916," said Barry Neumann, vice president of account services for Davis Harrison Dion, Chicago, the agency that created and executed the campaign. "They've been strong in selling with a sales force. Then they started their Test and Measurement division. For this [product], we wanted the direct mail campaign to go directly to the end user."


The words "Test & Measurement" appear along the side of the front of the piece, which also carries the headline: "Up close and professional. Get to know Ideal Test & Measurement." Opening the piece reveals, "If it's not in your bag, it should be on your list. Which 320 Series Multimeter is right for you?"


Details regarding the three models are combined with photos of each being used.


"The information we're providing in this piece gives it a shelf life vs. a look-at-and-throw-away type of piece," Neumann said. "A lot of the copy is actually vital information, including features and benefits, and we wanted to show the products in action.


"Also, Ideal is recognized as a manufacturer, but not necessarily for test and measurement products. It was important to establish that and talk about the company itself."


But end users will not buy directly from Ideal.


The piece contains a tear-away telling recipients to "Stop by your local IDEAL distributor or visit www.testersandmeters.com for details." Visiting the site allows those interested in the offer to download a rebate form.


Along with providing contact information on the tear-away, it must be returned to the company with a purchase invoice. The invoice also lets the recipient obtain the radio.


The tear-away asks for further information, including the type of work performed; whether the recipient wants to receive ongoing information from Ideal's Test & Measurement division; and whether the recipient wants a free subscription to iPower Magazine.


The offer is good through June 30.


"[The tear-away is] a redemption mechanism which also serves as a tracking device," said Deb Corey, an account executive at Davis Harrison Dion. "Ideal does not sell directly, and that's the model that's standard throughout the electrical products industry. It's easier to use this channel. Through April 20, about 500 invoices have been submitted."


Sales of the two more expensive models each are expected to outpace the $69 version, producing an expected average order around $100. Also hoped for is about a 2 percent response rate, with every $1 spent on the campaign expected to generate $3.24 worth of sales.


Cost per piece was 63 cents and included creative, printing expenses as well as list acquisition and postage.


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