Grainger Drops First Campaign For

Grainger Internet Commerce, Vernon Hills, IL, last week began the first leg of a massive business-to-business direct mail campaign for, one of the largest online procurement destinations on the Internet.

The first leg of the campaign includes 650,000 solo mail pieces sent to purchasing managers gleaned from the company's own database. The direct mail piece is highlighted by an offer of a free gift for those who register at the site, which offers business supplies from several manufacturers in a one-stop shopping environment.

The mailing is part of a $10 million effort that includes e-mail marketing, banner ads, online sponsorships and a direct response print campaign in several trade journals, including Government Procurement News, Modern Health Care, Purchasing Magazine, Industrial Equipment News and others. The mailing, which will continue for the next few weeks, is expected to include several additional mailings totaling 5 million pieces, as previously reported.

“We are very large believers in synergistic marketing,” said Jim Roots, vice president of marketing at Grainger Internet Commerce.

The company is using traditional direct mail and other advertising vehicles to generate leads and encourage people to register for the site, which launched on May 15. Once the customers are registered, the company will use e-mail, electronic newsletters and other means to maintain a relationship with customers, he said.

The campaign emphasizes the simplicity of using, which offers lab supplies, uniforms, maintenance supplies, production components and other fare for the workplace. Purchasing managers who use the site can order several different types of supplies from different suppliers seamlessly.

“[The campaign] emphasizes more than anything else the advantage of buying all supplies from one place, thus freeing up time,” said Dan Gantner, marketing director of Blank & Associates, Chicago, the agency that created the direct mail piece. “It targets the concept that you can procure from four to five different places and be invoiced once.”

The direct mail piece's headline, “Your singular source for business purchasing” emphasizes this aspect, as do the sub-heads in the copy, “One site,” “One order,” and “One Answer.” Illustrations include a single finger poised over a computer mouse and a purchasing manager reclining in his chair, presumably content that he has completed all his business's shopping needs with a single click.

As an added incentive to get people to register to use the site, the mail piece includes an offer to receive a free Multi-Tool, an all-in-one pocket tool similar to a Swiss army knife. The offer is being promoted on the site as well.

Dawn White, marketing manager, advertising and public relations at Grainger, said that the direct mail pieces added a physical component to work in conjunction with an e-mail campaign that was also launched last week.

“With one, we have the luxury of being able to promote the brand in a very tactile way,” she said. “People can actually touch it and interact with it, whereas online, I think, the response is much more immediate, and it drives traffic and response in a slightly different way.”

Grainger Internet Commerce is part of maintenance supply giant W.W. Grainger, Lake Forest, IL, which itself is a leading business-to-business direct marketer. Other supplier partners in include Cintas Corp., Cincinnati; Corporate Express, Broomfield, CO; Lab Safety Supply, Janesville, WI; Marshall Industries, El Monte, CA; and VWR Scientific Products, West Chester, PA.

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