Veteran DM Firm Enters Corporate Gifts Market

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Vita-Mix Corp., Cleveland, is expected today to mail its first business-to-business piece after 80 years in direct-to-consumer marketing.


The food processor manufacturer last week finished production on the mail piece, a 24-page, 11-inch-by-8.5-inch brochure. The brochure is being sent to gift buyers at 200,000 mid-sized to large companies to drive bulk sales for Vita-Mix's food processor, the Super 5000.


Vita-Mix, which mails more than 1 million consumer brochures every month, is baiting the market because of a growth in bulk-order requests from businesses, said Benjamin Berns, director of direct marketing.


Berns described creative for the campaign as "mass appeal, Middle America."


The front cover features a full-color image of the Super 5000. Adjacent to the image are three stacked messages. At the top reads "A Job Well Done. What You Demand and What You Expect" in large type. Directly below that appears "We Agree" in smaller text, and underneath that line, in yet a smaller font, "Recognize Your Best with the Best."


The bottom of the brochure's odd-numbered pages lists the company's e-commerce site that was launched for this effort, www.vitamix.com/premcorp, as well as the firm's toll-free number. The piece at various points also encourages readers to visit the URL and opt in to receive additional promotions.


A full-page order form is on the second-to-last page. The order page lists prices as well as the cost-cutting benefits of ordering at bulk rates. Super 5000 regularly costs $449.


The remaining pages are devoted to the types of food that can be created by using the food processor. Thirty-five images of dishes that can be prepared with the machine dominate pages 12 and 13.


"The piece has to be 24 pages because our product takes a lot of education before we can get people in the 'I am going to purchase this today' mode," Berns said. "Plus, spending a $20,000 to $30,000 gift budget is not an easy decision."


Berns said the brochures, which were printed on 60-pound Silverado gloss paper, cost 39 cents each to make. While print production for the brochures cost at least $78,000, he would not divulge the total expense for the entire campaign.


Berns said his company did not have a projection for the customer acquisition costs of the BTB venture. He said that his firm's direct-to-consumer customer acquisition rates typically are around $25.


The corporate recipients were also sent a postcard Dec. 5 that alerted them to the upcoming brochures. The postcards briefly described the Super 5000 and encouraged recipients to dial Vita-Mix's call center or visit its Web site.


Berns said the only available response measurement for the postcard run was return on investment, which came in at more than 68 percent. He said one company ordered $11,000 worth of the units because of the postcard.


Vita-Mix also plans to send the same corporate audience a follow-up brochure in October. The firm is renting a list from List Services Corp., Bethel, CT, for the efforts.


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