A three-step direct mail campaign by the Port of Baltimore has greatly exceeded expectations, drawing more than 900 people to special Web sites and capturing data on 450 recipients that will be used for future mailings.
The three mailers were expected to draw 40 to 50 responses each. The three drops began in mid-May and were spread two weeks apart. Each went to the same 7,300 recipients, mostly logistics managers and others responsible for port selection within transport and shipping companies.
“The plan was to go through the process in a sustained and compressed amount of time,” said Garry Raim, president of gkv direct, Baltimore, the agency handling the campaign for the Port of Baltimore. “We wanted to convey three major benefits of using the port: speed, convenience and efficiency. To try and bring those all together in one piece seemed to be too much, so we spread it out over six weeks and three mailings.”
Each mailing discusses a different benefit. The headlines read: “The fastest way to build a reputation? Be fast”; “Turns out, the shortest distance between two points is a port”; and “40% of the U.S. economy, this exit.”
The text on the back of each mailer discusses each benefit and provides statistics on the port.
“We wanted to increase awareness of the port while identifying prospects and gathering information on them,” Raim said. “Lastly, we wanted to communicate the key benefits of the port in the mailings.”
The majority of the mailers went to prospects, though some existing customers were included.
“We did not want to cut out current customers because the mailers were highlighting significant benefits of the port,” he said.
A gift was offered for each mailing, corresponding to the theme. For example, a three time zone desktop clock was the gift for the “fastest way” mailer, and a tape measure was the gift for the “shortest distance” mailer.
A Web site was created for each mailing: www.portofbaltimoreisfaster.com, www.portofbaltimoreiscloser.com and www.portofbaltimoreshortcut.com.
To receive a gift, respondents had to fill out the online registration form. There were only 50 gifts for each mailing. Once the gifts were given out other registrants were notified that there were no more gifts but that they would receive another mailing soon and to quickly visit the Web address provided to get the next available gift.
At the site they were asked to fill out a registration consisting of four questions. Registrants gave their contact information, what ports they use, any experiences they have had with the Port of Baltimore and what issues they consider when selecting a port.
“This information is then handed to the sales reps in order to conduct follow-up calls with respondents,” Raim said.
The campaign cost $30,000 to $50,000, he said.