High Tech Direct Mail Do’s and Dont’s
By Richard H. Levey
It’s not easy
- to sell high-tech products. Cathy Lang, chief operating officer at Aspen Marketing Services, which creates campaigns for Qwest Communications, offers guidelines on how to do it right.
- pick the features that distinguish you from your competition. Highlight those, and/or explain how the technology is replacing, or has improved on, a competitive product.
- bullet-point every picayune feature. In the high-tech arena, direct marketing is best used to gain attention rather than closing a sale.
- target more than one individual in an organization, and let everyone receiving your pieces know you’re doing it. “This can be done with a ‘cc’ line at the end of the letter,” Lang says. This starts a dialogue within the company – and makes recipients more hesitant to throw the piece away, she adds.
- assume the person reading your piece has an MBA, or has done postdoctoral study in applied engineering. The tone of all marketing materials should be conversational English.
- use predictive analytics that will help you create a sophisticated test strategy.
- forget to “household” your prospects and pitch the true purchase influencers. A prospect that looks like a small one-location business may be part of a 50-store franchise with a single decision-maker for all locations. “Treat that prospect like a medium-size or large business,” Lang suggests. “This is a big mistake we see in B-to-B, which gets exacerbated with high-tech marketing. Individual stores may have no purchase authority whatsoever.”
- use a lure in your direct mail package to gain entry into businesses, especially small and midsized firms. In these organizations, decision-makers tend to think more like consumers than corporate cogs, and respond well to personal incentives. In the past, Aspen has offered glitzy personal technology such as iPods or Treos. It has also sent head covers for golf drivers, with the promise that the club would be delivered when executives agree to a meeting.
- be in a rush. High-tech products often are high-ticket items. The initial direct mailing may kick off a sales cycle lasting anywhere from a week to a year. After leads are handed off to a sales force (if applicable), direct response can be used to rekindle any contacts that have gone cold