Posts Tagged ‘direct mail’

This Tract is a site that used Census data from 2000 (currently) to give the demographics of neighborhood communities. Great data for marketers trying to target areas for specific products and/ or services.


Sharing the Burden – A Case Study

Most Small Businesses believe that there is little room in their budgets for marketing of any sort. What they have not considered is a strategic alliance with other businesses to spread the cost out. The following case study is an example of such a situation. 


A mobile auto glass installation service was looking to make inroads beyond insurance referrals. Direct marketing (A method usually employing mailings to specific areas or zip codes.) was proposed, but the problem was; how do we get potential customers to retain the marketing materials and not regulate them to the closest recycling bin?


The solution came from researching other businesses and breaking down the costs associated with the marketing proposal. First, it was determined that the best way to get potential customers to keep the marketing materials was to offer a product or service at a discount or for free. So, a coupon was decided upon. Thus the first cost was printing.Having decided upon the coupon concept, the next cost was the offer itself. The cost of distribution, or mailing the materials to get into potential customers’ hands was the last. No doubt, for a small business, the associated costs of this marketing endeavor could be daunting.

Strategic Alliance – Find a Kindred Soul in Business

Enter the strategic alliance. This is where research or knowledge of local businesses pays off. The marketing team for the auto glass company had set up a small shop within the headquarters. They proposed to do the design and printing of the coupons themselves. Even if absorbing this cost in-house is not viable (no marketing team, no problem), the outsourcing of the design and printing is. Again, research and pre-planning will uncover the best cost from printers.

Research revealed an unlikely potential alliance partner in real estate agents. They perform an extraordinary amount of mailings/ material distribution in a variety of areas. However, they had a similar problem in that they were looking for potential customers to retain their marketing materials. In exchange for placement on the coupon, the agents agreed to foot the bill for mailings and/ or distributions. Here is where the pre-planning comes in again: Make the coupons into templates, leaving adequate space to place the agent’s name and contact info. The coupons can then be printed on sheets in bulk quantities (assuring a better price on the printing) without having to worry about customization. Once the agent has agreed to work the program, simply type in their info in the pre-arranged places on a piece of plain white paper. Place the paper on a regular copier and run the sheets of coupons through. Voila, the coupons are now customized for your strategic alliance partner.

With two important costs now taken care of, the second strategic alliance partner can be approached: The one that’s making the offer on the coupon. The reason this partner is approached last is that now there is a package to present to them. With this in place, the pitch to them to provide an offer is easier as that is all they have to do. (No expense up front for them.)

A Special Alliance Partner

In this case, one of the businesses approached by the auto glass company was the franchise of a nationally recognized transmission service. The melding of two non-competing services under the same category heading (auto-related in this case) is the most desirable situation to enter into. The strategic alliance forged under these conditions can go much further than this initial effort.

Best Practices

For the best results, approach a variety of potential partners. Often, franchises (especially if one person owns a chain of franchises) will have discretionary funds from the home company available for advertisements/ offers like this. These folks will also provide necessary legal language required of all coupons. They should also provide a company logo for the printer to use on the coupon. (Remember that there are two sides to a coupon. Use both during the design process to ensure that everyone involved gets a “win” out of this alliance.)Team up the distribution partner’s area with the offer partner’s. As this case revolves around a mobile service, a variety of partners were involved to ensure coverage in multiple zip codes within a metropolitan area. 

The important thing to gleam from this case is to understand the potential of Small Businesses combining efforts in seeking consumer’s attention. Find like-minded concerns and pool resources to achieve greater success than going it alone.

Brad West