Monday, July 7, 2008

Case Study Monday: Direct Mail and a Database

It warms my heart to read a case study that relies on very traditional direct marketing tactics such as a marketing database coupled with relevant direct mail. Plus, it's kinda fun to start off a Monday with a cute baby pic!

I've provided the key points, but you can check out the full case study from Harte-Hanks, a leading database services provider.

Situation Analysis
A premiere infant formula manufacturer was concerned about eroding market share. Harte-Hanks was selected to design and construct a sophisticated database marketing program to communicate directly with their target market - expectant and new parents.

Business Objectives
Because of this infant formula producer's sensitivity to the importance of breastfeeding and the recommendations of physicians, the company needed a way to speak to their audience while maintaining the involvement of the patients' doctors. Their goal was to initially stop erosion and ultimately grow market share in the midst of heavy competitor advertising, whose TV and mass media strategy ignored the doctor/patient relationship.

Marketing Solution
In conjunction with the manufacturer and its ad agency, Harte-Hanks developed a club for expectant/new parents. Parents can obtain enrollment forms at their doctor's office and receive a series of mailings with important information on pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Mailings included educational newsletters, tie-in partner offers and live checks for product purchase.

Communications are varied based on individual responses to surveys mailed to them. A sophisticated variable survey logic program created mailing packages based on individual respondents' needs and a variable letter library ensures that letters were relevant to specific consumers' situations and timelines.

The club achieved the goal of stopping share declines and ultimately growing the company's market share. An additional benefit is the loyal consumer database available for communications. New product introductions, company news or critical product information can be disseminated quickly.

The club has evolved over the years and continues to speak to members based on individual needs. It truly allows for a one-to-one dialogue.

Ah, the perfect direct marketing program. A targeted, niche audience. Relevant offers. Timely communication. It's no wonder that the club was a success. And, I just think about the value of that customer relationship, over time. Good stuff and kudos to Harte-Hanks.

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