Winning a new client feels great. But imagine how much better it feels to reform a client accustom to purchasing radio and print advertising and turn them into a promotional products advocate.
A wealth management and retirement planning services firm had spent $30,000 for traditional advertising each year for 10 years with little-to-no return on investment. As a result, the firm hired a business strategist to investigate, and the strategist recommended promotional products. The resulting product campaign both cost less and surpassed every goal on the firm’s list. It also won a PPAI 2012 Gold Pyramid Award.
“The quality of the product definitely mattered,” says Dina Barker, a marketing strategist with Southwick Specialty Advertising, Inc., who worked on this campaign, “but it was really based upon the messaging and what we were trying to convey—and making sure that everything, from start to finish, really told the story.”
Instead of spreading its advertising dollars randomly across its central Oregon community, this financial services firm identified 125 people thought to have a minimum of $500,000 in investable assets. “It’s kind of a unique area, central Oregon is, and most of the clients that my client was trying to gain were local people,” Barker says. “I’ve lived in this area for 18 years, and I was very familiar with most of the people on the list.”
Once identified and vetted, this group received a series of five monthly mailings, each consisting of a personalized product and a personalized cover letter.
The theme of each mailing was: “You have been recognized as a successful person, and we have a unique approach to ensure your wealth, retirement and dreams are protected. Give us a call for a no-cost initial consultation and review.”
Products used, in order, were a Louisville Slugger baseball bat, a desktop safe, a Maglite® flashlight, journal books and lottery tickets, and a cell phone. Text included in each mailing complemented the accompaning products, such as “You earned it, let us help you protect it” for the desktop safe and “Do you have a clear vision of what your retirement looks like? Let us help you shed light on the whole picture” for the flashlight.
A challenging aspect of the campaign was dealing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Since Barker’s client was a financial services provider, each mailing had to be submitted to and approved by the commission.
“It’s time consuming,” says Barker, adding that the approval process was started in advance so each of the five mailers could go out approximately one month apart from each other. “It was timed so that nobody lost interest. It was a focused, high-impact campaign.”
The campaign launched in March 2011 and wrapped up a few months later in August.
“Looking back, one thing that makes the project really exciting was working with a client this closely and not just selling product,” Barker explains. “You’re helping mold and shape a marketing campaign. That’s the most important part of it.”
As for what made this campaign so successful, and it definitely was, Barker says it all came down to personalization.
“It was all done on a highly personalized basis,” Barker says. “Everything we did had somebody’s name it.”
Client A wealth management and retirement planning services company
Distributor Southwick Specialty Advertising, Inc.
Media Type Direct mail
Campaign Duration March 2011 to August 2011
Pieces Shipped Five monthly mailers multiplied by 125 targeted consumers
Campaign Goals Gain five initial discovery meetings, sign two new clients, achieve a five-percent increase in the firm’s managed assets and achieve a five-percent increase in the firm’s gross revenue
Campaign Results Twenty-four initial discovery meetings, 12 new clients, 60-percent increase in managed assets and a 16-percent increase in gross revenue
Suppliers Used Louisville Slugger-Hillerich & Bradsby Co. Inc., AITG Business Gifts, Points of Light, Creative Leather Imaging, TracFone