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Seagate Software Goes to the Dogs in New Campaign

Seagate Software, Vancouver, British Columbia, is using a few dogs and several doses of humor to launch a direct mail campaign in which the company is sending 1.5 million versions of its data-analysis and data-sharing software free to information technology managers around the world.

The company, a division of Seagate Technologies, Scotts Valley, CA, hopes that by giving away full, working versions of the software it will encourage more IT managers to try it than if they received a limited-time demo version.

“It's a question of getting the software into their hands and getting them to try it,” said Roy Agostino, director of marketing at Seagate. “We believe the revenues will come from people having a positive experience with the software and then paying for subsequent licenses.”

The company is giving away two applications: Seagate Analysis, which is a basic data-analysis tool, and Seagate Info 7, which is an application that allows the data to be shared throughout the company. Although both applications are fully functional, the disk contains only a 50-user license for the Seagate Info 7 software. The idea is that if IT managers try the software with 50 users, they will want to buy additional copies for the rest of the staff. The campaign is targeting companies with at least 250 employees.

Even the prospect of free software doesn't guarantee that the mail piece will be opened, however, so Seagate tried to draw people into the campaign with some humorous photographs of dogs who have a lot on their minds. The first mailer features a close-up of a sad-looking hound who considers how much easier his war against “evil, cream-sucking cats” would be if only he had access to the data banks that divulge the details of their feline ways.

Inside the tri-fold self-mailer, more dogs direct recipients to read a letter and then try the actual software. On the software package itself, a dog pleads for the reader to “Take me out and play.”

“The people who we were approaching are incredibly savvy consumers of marketing and they are inundated with messages,” Agostino said. “So, from the outset, we wanted to take a lighthearted approach.”

The campaign, which was created with the Vancouver office of Montreal-based ad agency Cossette Communications, has generated positive feedback from IT managers, he said.

The company used census information and cross-referenced it with purchased list data to arrive at its initial target list, which includes 1.5 million IT managers globally, about three-fourths of who are in the United States and Canada. The campaign was launched late last month in several markets and will be rolled out around the world.

One week after the initial software mailing, the company is following up with several versions of targeted reminder postcards driving people to the company's Web site (www.fetchseagate.com/go) and encouraging them to try the free software. The company is preparing to analyze the responses it receives to the reminders to determine how it will market to its potential customers.

“We're doing some sophisticated modeling on the back end,” said George Siemens, director of database marketing at Seagate. “We will have a whole bunch of people slicing and dicing the results a whole bunch of different ways to find out what the sweet spots are, see what creative approaches and what messages are working and let the IT managers themselves tell us how to roll out this campaign.”

The company plans to obtain more information from its potential customers as they visit the Web site and plans to launch e-mail marketing campaigns to them. When visitors register at the site, they are asked to provide some information — such as how they plan to use the software and what operating systems they use — that will help Seagate tailor future marketing messages.

“That's going to be a living, breathing part of this campaign, so that our messages are very targeted, so that people don't get inundated with messages and they get what they want to receive,” Siemens said.

The company declined to reveal the cost of the campaign, but Agostino said a 50-user license for Seagate Info 7 normally would cost $15,000 to $20,000. The Seagate Analysis software, which was developed especially for the campaign, is not for sale but probably would be priced between $500 and $1,000, the company said.

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