SmartSignal Turns Up the Power on Mailer's Size

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Software provider SmartSignal's use of a 17-by-12-inch self-mailer in a lead generation campaign to power industry companies last November has paid off with approximately 150 quality leads to date.


"We wanted to create something that people could not avoid looking at," said John Kerastas, director of marketing communication at SmartSignal. "We are very new in an industry dominated by huge companies, and a piece like this not only helps to tickle people's interest but it helps to give us an identity."


The piece went to 2,500 executives promoting the company's Equipment Conditioning Monitoring software, or eCM. Positions targeted included director of operations, senior maintenance officials and fleet maintenance managers. The product monitors a facility's equipment and alerts it to any changes that could lead to problems, giving the company time to avoid outages.


"The product delivers a lot of value to a number of different areas within these companies, so we had to touch a lot of people in different areas of the company," he said.


In addition to introducing itself to players within the industry, SmartSignal wanted executives to visit its booth at the POWER-GEN International trade show in December, or call or visit its Web site to set up an appointment and get more information on eCM.


Installation of the software cost $50,000 and up depending on the features needed. "We would need to turn only one of the leads we have into a customer to cover the cost of the campaign," Kerastas said. "And we are very comfortable that we are going to be able to accomplish that."


Kerastas said the sales cycle for the product is three to six months.


According to Jeff Bergau, vice president at Slack Barshinger, Chicago, the agency handling the campaign, the size of the piece provided an affordable way of getting noticed without creating a highly elaborate or three-dimensional piece.


"It provided a relatively inexpensive way to develop an intrusive campaign without going three-dimensional," Bergau said. "It is also a very sound way to get the company's message across and get noticed within an industry that was not all that familiar with SmartSignal at the time."


Bergau said anthrax concerns also played a role in the development of the piece. It was decided that a more standard mailing to a group of individuals who may have never heard of the company before would likely be discarded.


The front of the piece has an image of a turbine with a heading that reads: "In one week, a bearing failure will shut this turbine down. Wouldn't it be handy to know that right now?"


The reverse side contained information about the trade show and where to find SmartSignal on the exhibition floor along with an offer of a free laser pointer/pen for visiting the booth. A contact number and Web address were provided for those who were interested in contacting SmartSignal before the show.


"In the language we use the term forced outages, which is taken very seriously by this audience," Bergau said. "It's a problem these people don't want to have to deal with."


The piece then discussed a real-life scenario at a U.S. power plant that could have been avoided had the plant used eCM. The rest of the text focuses primarily on the benefits of the software and does not go too in-depth on the technology side of it.


"It is more important to discuss the benefits of a product than the technology involved in it," Bergau said. "The technology is not going to interest anyone or mean anything if it is not in the context of the benefits."


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