Use Dimensionals to Open Doors

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Getting high-level corporate technology and business managers to talk to salespeople is a tough problem, one that software manufacturers face consistently.


This dilemma was successfully tackled recently by Chordiant Software, a Silicon Valley start-up call center software manufacturer. To break down the doors of top IT and business executives, the company initiated a dimensional lead generation program.


Dimensional direct mailings are used so a marketer's message and package stands out in the mailbox and so the recipient will see the message and be more likely to open it. Chordiant's mailings stood out so much that the campaign resulted in a response rate of more than 14 percent and created a sales opportunity of more than $5 million.


The campaign was designed to play off the musically inspired corporate name and the software, a one-to-one customer interaction system designed for large call centers. The initial mailing was sent to 1,000 senior managers. The outside shipping box was 6 inches by 17 inches by 2 inches. Inside was a gift box printed with a famous quote from conductor Aaron Coplan. A letter comparing high-level managers to orchestra conductors was inside the gift box. Just as a conductor directs the resources of an orchestra so all the instruments perform as one, senior executives direct the performance of corporate resources to create harmonious performances from a variety of people and technologies.


The letter went on to compare a call center -- with its agents and desktop displays -- to an orchestra with its musicians and instruments, stating that their performance can please customers or create painful discord. To bring the dimensional mailing alive, a conductor's baton was nested in the box to bring home the statement, "The Chordiant Software puts into your hands -- like a conductor's baton -- the power to integrate diverse applications and technologies into a harmonious system."


However, it wasn't simply the baton that drew readers' attention: No matter how elaborate the upfront giveaway, it's the offer in the mailing that's the driving force behind a high response rate. Following this basic rule of direct marketing, Chordiant offered a free video CD describing the benefits of the software, as well as a free 10 CD set of the 100 masterpieces of classical music to emphasize "how Chordiant software can bring music to the ears of your customers."


The second mailing was sent two weeks later to those who didn't respond to the first mailing and included the same offers. This mailing box was 12 inches by 34 inches by 5 inches. Inside was a full-sized violin case, which contained an actual violin. Along with the violin was a personalized letter that played on the analogies between the sounds of a Stradivarius violin and how they delight audiences to the service levels provided by call center agents. In this mailing, it invited top executives to find out how they could orchestrate call center performances worthy of a Stradivarius just by responding.


The first mailing elicited a 6 percent response rate, and the second mailing an 8 percent response. Thus by following the rules of direct marketing in each step of the campaign, particularly with the offer, this unknown start-up was able to get the attention of busy executives and begin the sales process.


Rules for successful dimensional mailings:


* Determine the value of the sale before your determine the budget for the mailing.


* Determine how difficult it is to contact your prospects and initiate the sales presentation.


* Ask yourself, can you use telemarketing in place of dimensional mailing to get through.


* Create dimensional mailings that are clever and fun yet relevant to the product and solution that your product or service provides.


* Never forget to include powerful offers. You don't get response just because you include a premium in a mailing. You get response because you give readers an unwavering reason to act now.


* Be sure to merchandise your offer as clearly in your dimensional mailing as you would in a flat mailing. Don't let design override direct marketing fundamentals.


Russell Kern is president of Kern Direct Marketing Inc., Woodland Hills, CA, a full-service creative agency. His e-mail address is Rkern@KernDirect.com.


By Russell Kern


Getting high-level corporate technology and business managers to talk to salespeople is a tough problem, one that software manufacturers face consistently.


This dilemma was successfully tackled recently by Chordiant Software, a Silicon Valley start-up call center software manufacturer. To break down the doors of top IT and business executives, the company initiated a dimensional lead generation program.


Dimensional direct mailings are used so a marketer's message and package stands out in the mailbox and so the recipient will see the message and be more likely to open it. Chordiant's mailings stood out so much that the campaign resulted in a response rate of more than 14 percent and created a sales opportunity of more than $5 million.


The campaign was designed to play off the musically inspired corporate name and the software, a one-to-one customer interaction system designed for large call centers. The initial mailing was sent to 1,000 senior managers. The outside shipping box was 6 inches by 17 inches by 2 inches. Inside was a gift box printed with a famous quote from conductor Aaron Coplan. A letter comparing high-level managers to orchestra conductors was inside the gift box. Just as a conductor directs the resources of an orchestra so all the instruments perform as one, senior executives direct the performance of corporate resources to create harmonious performances from a variety of people and technologies.


The letter went on to compare a call center -- with its agents and desktop displays -- to an orchestra with its musicians and instruments, stating that their performance can please customers or create painful discord. To bring the dimensional mailing alive, a conductor's baton was nested in the box to bring home the statement, "The Chordiant Software puts into your hands -- like a conductor's baton -- the power to integrate diverse applications and technologies into a harmonious system."


However, it wasn't simply the baton that drew readers' attention: No matter how elaborate the upfront giveaway, it's the offer in the mailing that's the driving force behind a high response rate. Following this basic rule of direct marketing, Chordiant offered a free video CD describing the benefits of the software, as well as a free 10 CD set of the 100 masterpieces of classical music to emphasize "how Chordiant software can bring music to the ears of your customers."


The second mailing was sent two weeks later to those who didn't respond to the first mailing and included the same offers. This mailing box was 12 inches by 34 inches by 5 inches. Inside was a full-sized violin case, which contained an actual violin. Along with the violin was a personalized letter that played on the analogies between the sounds of a Stradivarius violin and how they delight audiences to the service levels provided by call center agents. In this mailing, it invited top executives to find out how they could orchestrate call center performances worthy of a Stradivarius just by responding.


The first mailing elicited a 6 percent response rate, and the second mailing an 8 percent response. Thus by following the rules of direct marketing in each step of the campaign, particularly with the offer, this unknown start-up was able to get the attention of busy executives and begin the sales process.


<B>Rules for successful dimensional mailings:<B>


* Determine the value of the sale before your determine the budget for the mailing.


* Determine how difficult it is to contact your prospects and initiate the sales presentation.


* Ask yourself, can you use telemarketing in place of dimensional mailing to get through.


* Create dimensional mailings that are clever and fun yet relevant to the product and solution that your product or service provides.


* Never forget to include powerful offers. You don't get response just because you include a premium in a mailing. You get response because you give readers an unwavering reason to act now.


* Be sure to merchandise your offer as clearly in your dimensional mailing as you would in a flat mailing. Don't let design override direct marketing fundamentals.


<I>Russell Kern is president of Kern Direct Marketing Inc., Woodland Hills, CA, a full-service creative agency. His e-mail address is Rkern@KernDirect.com.<I>
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