HP's Personalized Campaign Strikes Chord With IT, Purchasing Targets

Hewlett-Packard credits personalization for the success of an e-mail and direct mail campaign for its printing and imaging products and supplies.

The campaign began July 11, targeting 30,000 recipients including IT professionals and those with purchasing-related job titles. E-mails went to 17,000 recipients whose e-mail addresses were on file. Direct mail was used for 13,000 recipients whose job titles were available, but not e-mail addresses. Responses were received through early August.

The audience included those working at mid-market companies, defined by HP as businesses with more than 1,000 employees, and not in the company's corporate enterprise account list. Those targeted were taken from HP's house file, which includes a group of customers with a monthly e-newsletter subscription.

The e-mail to IT professionals began with: “[The person's first name], your investment in HP printing technology keeps paying off. Long after you've forgotten about it. Trim your company's IT expenses with the latest printers from HP.”

Purchasing department workers received: “[The person's first name], be a go-getter. Go get up to $2,000 off an HP printer. Update your company's technology. For less money. Only from HP.”

The campaign had two goals, said Leslie Falk, North America e-business marketing program manager at Hewlett-Packard, Boise, ID.

“The first was to drive customers to contact the HP printing and imaging mid-market call center to take advantage of a promotional offer around product discounts such as 'X' dollars off a series of printers we offered for sale,” she said. “The second was to test an integrated marketing approach using personalized print e-mail and Web.”

Driving the personalization was that in addition to a toll-free number, the e-mails contained personalized URLs for each recipient.

Subscribers to the IT e-newsletter received an “IT Update special offer” with rewards for purchasing printing supplies.

“A common template was used for the e-mails,” Falk said. “For purchasing it focused on more of the payoff and big savings around cash rebates. For IT we talked about lower IT costs in terms of the latest technology, lower prices regarding power requirements and service costs.”

The message was consistent on the direct mail side as 8 1/2-by-5 1/2-inch postcards were used. The mailer mentioned the benefits of updated printing technology from HP and at the bottom included a personal Web site and a toll-free number.

HP compared the results with a similar, non-personalized campaign that targeted companies with 10 to 1,000 employees.

The personalized campaign's e-mail component generated a 5.71 percent click-through rate to the landing page, meeting expectations. The click-through rate was 1.8 percent for the non-personalized effort to smaller companies.

For direct mail, the personalized effort produced a 0.83 percent click-through to the landing page. The expectation had been to equal the 0.4 percent click-through of the non-personalized piece, leaving Falk “very surprised.”

The personalized, mid-market effort's click-throughs produced 134 leads with an estimated 20 percent of those producing average sales per customer of $50,000 for just over $1.3 million.

The mid-market personalized campaign's expenditures included: printed materials and postage, $15,000; agency fees, $7,000; e-mail delivery, $700; $20,000 to create the personalized URLs; creating the templates for the print and e-mail efforts as well as the database scrubbing, $15,000.

“We attribute [the campaign's success] to two key factors: the personalization and the fact that we had information for a large percentage of the customers we were reaching,” Falk said. “We knew if they were purchasing or IT and what message would resonate with them. We also had a clear idea of the company size.”

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