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Terror Fears Don't Diminish Mailer's Impact

Some might consider a prospecting mailer with an offer that involves air travel a lost cause these days, but ClientLogic reports that such a piece mailed this week to 50 business prospects already has generated a strong response.

“It's only been three days since they have gone out,” Channing Rollo, manager of strategic marketing and research at ClientLogic, Nashville, TN, said Wednesday, “and we have one person who has already confirmed that [he] will be attending and a number of other people have called and expressed a lot of interest in making the trip.”

The company took steps to allay anthrax fears before sending the business-to-business mailer, especially since it was going exclusively to prospects with little or no knowledge of the customer management solution provider.

“When we decided to go forward with the mailing, we felt the best thing to do was follow the guidelines put out by the DMA,” Rollo said. “A phone call was made to recipients before the mail piece was sent out so they could expect it, recognize it and would not be worried about it in any way.”

The piece, promoting ClientLogic's Columbus, OH, fulfillment center, went out in a 13-inch-by-10-inch white envelope with the company's logo and address printed on it. The name and address of recipients were on printed labels affixed to the envelope.

Most of the 50 recipients were consultants, though a few went to potential clients and media. A fulfillment contract with ClientLogic can cost from $500,000 to $10 million annually, so distribution was limited.

“The reason we sent most of the mailings to consultants is because when they meet with their clients about a fulfillment engagement, we want to be at the front of their minds,” Rollo said.

The mailer's centerpiece was an invitation to visit the Columbus facility Nov. 7. It was printed on paper designed to look like a scroll Christopher Columbus might have used.

“The goal of the campaign was to come up with a creative theme around Columbus, Ohio and the explorer Christopher Columbus,” Rollo said. “We wanted to get people in here to see us in person in order to see what we are about and look at our capabilities and our facility.”

Across the top were the words “Explore Columbus” with copy below that read “for the first five people to respond, the voyage is on us, airfare and all.”

Rollo said the free airfare was offered not in expectation that recipients would be apprehensive to fly, but simply as part of the inducement to generate a response.

“These consultants are usually provided with these type of accommodations, anyway,” she said. “We want to make it as easy as possible for them to come and see the facility, so it makes sense for us to sponsor the trip on their behalf.”

Further down on the scroll were a phone number and e-mail address for those wishing to respond. The mailer also included a four-page booklet listing benefits and services of ClientLogic's fulfillment capabilities, a personalized cover letter, a company profile and a two-page reprint of an article about the facility.

Though ClientLogic chose to proceed with the Columbus mailing, Rollo said the company has postponed or canceled several mailings since the terrorist attacks. One had a spy theme and was to be delivered in a box “done up to appear very mysterious,” she said, “but we didn't want to scare our potential customers or members of the media covering our industry so we are holding off on the mailing.”

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