DM Case Study - July 08
DM Case Study - July 08
Engaging discerning media professionals
Of hearing pieces and bowling hits and misses
When us "industry types" speak about direct marketing, we instantly assume results in the form of quantitative measures is the only way to measure the success of a direct marketing campaign -- ROI in the form of sales as a traditional measure. This is not entirely the case as there are still a series of qualitative measures that directly affect the way a brand is perceived.
Case in point: Ogilvy RedCard partnered with The Economist to devise a yearly direct mail strategy to target the media planning and buying decision makers (media agencies and marketers) to place the newspaper as a top of mind choice for media planning and buying decisions. It is also a partnership that has lasted five years since the first direct mail.
A "multi-step" process, the campaign is a continuous dialogue enforced over a 12-month calendar with an eight- to ten-week gap between each mailing. Using latest circulation figures, readership results and other Economist Group launches, the messaging also covers topical issues such as The Economist's editorial content. Each time, around 300 direct mail pieces are mailed out to a select group of target audience in Singapore and Hong Kong (with a 50/50 split between the two markets).
Unlike a campaign carrying consumer messages with the aim of driving up newspaper subscription figures, these pieces are directed at discerning media professionals who are without a doubt, harder to "surprise".
Fortunately for all of us who work on the brand, "engagement" is a trait that is true to the brand's core. All communications touch-points are creatively policed to ensure the brand's essence of wit and intelligence are conveyed -- a legacy of the classic "White Out of Red" campaign originally devised by the London agency Abbott Mead Vickers in 1984.
One recent example of a launch messaged piece was celebrating the release of The Economist's audio edition, made available in October of 2007. To encourage the media community to trial this version for themselves, we created a very simple piece containing a set of earphones. The creative hook was not entirely in the "gift" aspect of the piece, but the clever Economist humour in the headline "Sound advice" ensured that the piece was opened and interacted with.
Another similar piece was delivered in January 2008 to celebrate 10 continuous years of circulation growth. A mini tenpin bowling kit was sent. Again, the value was not perceived entirely in the gift itself but in the clever delivery of the piece (headlined "Striking performance") and a clear link between the message and 10 years of performance results.
One unnamed media agency is rumoured to have started a mini internal bowling tournament making full use of the kit!
More recently, we have also seen an incremental increase in the amount of personal blog hits these DM pieces are stirring. Over the last six months, an increase of 10% has been noted highlighting the success of the DM pieces as they create dialogue within the target audience which in turns expands the brand's reach in the right circle.
Measurement of effectiveness in a traditional sense is difficult to gauge as these particular initiatives serve to "warm up" the target audience of ad buyers, planners and clients. It is therefore inaccurate to attribute a hard revenue number to them as it is ultimately up to the sales team to close a deal.
Feedback (ranging from emails to phone calls), from recipients still remains the most solid way to judge if a particular exercise was effective or otherwise. The Economist's marketing manager for APAC, Andrew Au, commented, "You know you're onto a winner when people call you up asking for extra sets."
Objectives: To ensure that The Economist is the top of mind media choice for media planning and buying decision makers
Approach: A series of The Economist-branded DM pieces that convey the brands wit and intelligence and capture the audience's attention
Results: Sustained positive brand perception and awareness within target audience
Mehreen Ahmed, project director, Ogilvy RedCard Singapore
(co-authored with Hannah Wykeham, project director)
- Ogilvy Redcard
- The Economist Newspaper
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