Integrated DM Pushes ADP's Benefits Services

Automatic Data Processing Inc. is building its employee-benefits administration service with an integrated campaign that targets a spectrum of prospects but hits the cream of its list with premium pieces.

ADP is known mainly for payroll services but aims to build its benefits administration business among its payroll clients. To accomplish that, ADP in January began a six-stage direct marketing campaign including direct mail, HTML e-mails and limited outbound telemarketing.

The effort breaks with ADP marketing practice, which has focused on outside sales, said Eric Tejeda, marketing director at ADP Benefits Services.

“ADP has tended in the last 50 years of its history to put sales people on the street,” he said. “Consequently, we don't advertise much. With a limited advertising budget, (direct marketing) is a better way to go.”

ADP's objective is to develop qualified leads that its field sales staff can follow. Previously, sales personnel were responsible for developing leads as well as selling and closing.

To manage the campaign, the company contracted with marketing strategy firm Abovo Group for creative, printing, fulfillment and e-mail, and its partner, marketing technology firm Aelera, which provided database and reporting services.

Sales participated in scheduling the rollout and has benefited from Aelera's reporting software, which lets it track new leads instantly as they respond online or through a call center.

The first job was to segment ADP's database of payroll clients and other leads collected by the field sales staff.

The database was divided into these segments: one contact each from the top 1,000 companies; four contacts each from the top 2,500 companies, including the 1,000 in the first segment; and 30,000 total contacts representing all 6,000 companies in the database.

The segments represented, in descending order, the senior management in charge of benefits administration down to lower-level benefits administrators and human resources personnel with less decision-making power.

Prospects in the lowest segment received e-mails, while those in the middle segment got e-mails and postcards. The top segment received a gift — a coffee basket — in addition to the e-mails and postcards.

“You're trying to get the good, the better and the best prospects,” said Sami Jajeh, Abovo Group executive vice president. “You want to spend more money on the best, a little bit less on the better and less on the good.”

Three stages of the campaign have been executed so far. In the first round during the first half of January, ADP sent postcards and e-mails to prospects offering an overview of the company and ways to get more information about ADP.

In the second half of January, ADP sent more postcards followed by e-mails, this time inviting prospects to enroll in an online seminar, or Webinar. About 150 prospects enrolled, leading ADP to schedule a second Webinar.

The third stage in early February included e-mail and postcards again, this time offering a white paper on employee benefits that prospects could download online. Within three days of receiving the e-mail Feb. 11, about 500 prospects had downloaded the white paper.

With this round, the top segment of prospects received their coffee baskets. ADP sales staff followed up the baskets with outbound phone calls.

“We try to time the phone calls within a couple days after they receive the piece,” Jajeh said. “It's fresh in their minds, and they've been softened at this point.”

The campaign is to conclude over the first half of 2003, Tejeda said. Given the response so far, ADP likely will continue its DM strategy, he said.

“We're getting response rates that are attractive,” Tejeda said. “Secondly, it's all done on the Web, so as soon as a lead comes in, it's immediately forwarded to a sales person and their manager.”

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