Proactive and Strategic Marketing During a Pandemic [A Case Study]

The Challenge: Lead Generation

For our client, new business depends on getting in front of Vice President level decision makers at major nation-wide or world-wide brands. Historically, they have done this through trade shows and/or personal connections and referrals.

THE PROBLEM: With the 2020 pandemic and the suspension of most trade shows and face-to-face meetings, getting that all-important first conversation became increasingly difficult. 

RETIRING FAILED MODELS: In past years when they were not at trade shows, this client’s sales team had focused on traditional cold calling and multichannel efforts. The approach to all of these tactics was similar – they were casting a net a mile-wide and an inch-deep to see what they could catch. And the results were similar, as well – dismal.

But our client didn’t need thousands – or even hundreds – of new clients each year. The minimum value of a new client was six figures per year, with long-term partnerships being the norm. 

INSIGHT: What if you focused on a curated, well-researched list of a dozen prospects instead of hundreds and concentrated efforts on making a splash with a few right people?

DIG DEEPER FOR THE DESIRED RESULT: At a trade show, this client typically spent $25-40k between exhibition costs, production, travel, meals, and the like. They might engage with tens of thousands of people over the trade show, yet a successful event was really about having 3-4 good conversations with the right people.

INSIGHT: What if we could create the same result on a similar budget, without all the hassle of the trade show experience? 

It was clear they needed a strategic “out-of-the-box” experience to reach potential customers. They wanted to make a lasting impact that compelled the prospect to start a conversation with their sales lead and agreed this campaign would be the perfect way to make a splash.

Laying The Foundation

The entire executive leadership team was bought into this idea. They had read Building a Storybrand by Donald Miller and we had created new client-centric messaging that had done extremely well as the foundation for last year’s trade shows. We knew what message resonated, now we just needed to figure out how to get in front of the same audience amidst a pandemic. We were inspired to create a new innovative campaign after reading the book, Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention.

THE PHILOSOPHY: Though the Giftology philosophy mostly focuses on creating lasting relationships with your existing clients, we believed the philosophy could be applied to starting new relationships off with a bang!

We were inspired with success stories of how best-in-class, practical, luxury, personalized gifts make a lasting impact on client relationships and result in increased referrals and retention. Sharing stories from the Giftology book helped rally the leadership team around the concept of high-touch, intentional gifting with a smaller pool of prospects. 

What’s in the Box?

THE JOURNEY IS THE DESTINATION: Armed with the client’s messaging, target demographic and industries, we brainstormed to develop a unique experience, keeping in mind that the entire gifting journey must feel exceptional, extravagant, and personal.

Every item included in the package was tied into the theme. We created custom collateral that opened up piece by piece, just like the multi-tool. Every detail was thought out in order to WOW the prospect upon receiving the package.

ONE-OF-A-KIND: We started by designing a handcrafted custom box to house the carefully selected gift. But this was not just any box. The box itself was exceptional. It was an attention-grabbing, premium, handcrafted box with high-end inks and texture.

PERSONALIZATION: For the gift, we landed on a Victorinox multi-tool, as it worked beautifully with the messaging “One Tool. One Cure.” This gift fit perfectly with our client’s messaging, and showcased how they were the solution to their prospects’ problem. Upon opening up the leather case that included the multi-tool the recipient saw their name engraved on the blade.

Thoughtful Targeting

TWO TARGETS: We knew that this mailer needed to be intentional and clearly targeted. We grouped prospects in two key areas – industries where they were already established and successful, and another industry to open up a new line of business they had been hoping to break into for years. With these two different targets, we ensured the messaging inside the box was specific to each segment. 

DOING OUR RESEARCH: Our client provided a list of 24 prospects across the two segments. Being in peak COVID shut downs meant we needed to do exhaustive research on the target lists to (a) ensure they were still employed and (b) verify shipping addresses and contact information. The process resulted in a final list of 11 closely-vetted prospects.

Beyond the Box: Multichannel Teamwork

To increase the likelihood of a meaningful conversation, the team committed to connecting with the prospects across multiple channels. 

BY HAND: First, we mailed handwritten notes to each prospect, sent on custom, high-end stationery inside a FedEx envelope, to draw attention and stand out in a sea of junk mail.

EMAIL: Next, we sent an email letting them know that a package was on the way. The package arrived with a big sticker on the outside announcing the special delivery.

PHONE AND SOCIAL: Next, we sent a follow-up email and began calling the prospects as well as reaching out over LinkedIn.

This strategic prospecting campaign was a success due to the collaboration across sales and marketing teams. We worked in tandem, providing intel back and forth while tracking responses.

Results & Celebrations

ONE NEW LARGE CLIENT – QUICKLY: Our client received emails within days of the gift arriving from three promising leads. While conversations continued with two of the leads, the other turned into a client within 90 days! They continue to serve this new client and have even discussed expansion of scope. What is more, this new client came from the new segment, the industry this client had been hoping to break into for years!

WHY IT WAS RIGHT: A huge part of the success was because the executive leadership team fully committed to the idea. They knew their customers have a high lifetime value. They already had a keen understanding of their core message, their value proposition, and their target clients. The Giftology philosophy challenged how they had previously done business, but they went all-in. And they were thrilled with the results.

Want to know if this type of campaign is right for you? Schedule a call with our team to learn more.

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