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Creative solutions from Hargray, DMA and CollegeAmerica



Hargray, a South Carolina-based telecom company, wanted to attract new customers and upsell additional services to existing customers.


The communications company worked with its agency of record Dixon Schwabl, a Rochester, NY-based marketing, advertising and PR company, to create a high- end direct mail piece for the 2009 holiday season. The mail campaign marketed Hargray’s business phone service in combination with high-speed Internet.

The piece, mailed November 24, 2009, to 5,000 business prospects in the Hilton Head, SC area, was printed on pearlized white paper stock and offered a bonus when a customer signed a three-year contract for high-speed Internet. Each direct mail piece cost 59 cents.

“This Hargray holiday direct mail piece had unique and eye-catching qualities that drew the reader in,” said Stacy Kurtz, account manager at Dixon Schwabl. “From the pearlized paper to the die-cut shapes and holiday-oriented creative, it had presence in the mailbox that piqued customers’ curiosity.”


Those qualities made the difference. Call volume exceeded Hargray’s goal by about 20%, and the holiday campaign exceeded its goal by 24% in terms of units sold.
-Carol Krol

Direct Marketing Association


The Direct Marketing Association wanted to increase attendance at its annual conference. It enlisted printing company Magjak to help it individually target potential attendees with a cross-media campaign. Magjak performed data analytics and segmented and cleaned a list of more than 400,000 prospects, generating a mailer, e-mail and Web page for each prospect with personalized workshop and seminar recommendations.


The DMA disclosed more than $64,000 in revenue and increased attendance at its DMA 09 Conference and Expo in San Diego last year.
-Frank Washkuch



CollegeAmerica, with campuses in the Western US, wanted to better target prospective students. It used DirectMail.com’s GeoSelector tool to establish customized geographic areas around each campus according to which areas best matched the demographics of current students. DirectMail.com sent prospective students a mail piece with a personalized uniform resource locator (PURL) directing them to a customized Web site that greeted them by name.


CollegeAmerica nearly doubled its number of enrolled students for the 2008-2009 academic year and continues to send PURL mailings weekly.
-Kevin McKeefery


Steve Caputo
Creative director, R/GA

I like that Hargray brings some playful attitude to an offer for a business audience. The bonus gifts are timely and appealing, and it’s smart to highlight ESPN360.com over staid corporate benefits. There’s a bit of a disconnect between the clean, simple rhythm of the ornament cutouts and the stock-ish imagery inside, however. This execution would be better served with a fun, engaging visual approach, instead of literally showing a man on the phone and a man on his laptop.

One would expect the Direct Marketing Association to promote its own conference with an effective DM strategy, and it does. Many personal touches, including a personalized URL for registration, enliven a potentially generic experience. The hand-drawn style notes break up the grid and make a daunting schedule more approachable; you can’t help but appreciate that DMA used your data to bubble up items that align with your interests.

The CollegeAmerica work incorporates technology such as geotargeting and personalized URLs to reach prospective students in a smarter way. I appreciate the thinking behind the messaging, particularly the underlying awareness that this is an offer not only to register for school, but to start your career faster, make more money sooner and so on. But the stronger messaging points are lost in an overloaded sea of copy, and the look and feel is dated for a younger audience. A little more show and a little less tell would increase clarity and lead to better results.

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