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Photo of Ben E. Ketih sunglasses - lumpy mail

Ben E. Keith Uses Lumpy Mail to Increase Trade Show Appetite

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

Ben E. Keith, a distributor of food service products and premium alcoholic beverages, located in North Little Rock, Arkansas, frequently uses hospitality and food trade shows to showcase their newest products. The company had committed to participating in a new event in Memphis, Tennessee and wanted to maximize their return by attracting restaurant owners, chefs and others in the industry to this event. They engaged CustomXM to assist them in their marketing efforts to drive booth traffic to this single-day food expo.

RESULTS

Over 160 individuals stopped by the booth and registered, which yielded a 52% response rate. Glenda Clark, part of the Ben E. Keith Marketing team, was ecstatic with the results.

“The turnout at the Memphis show was great! That is well over what we expected. At the last tradeshow we had in Memphis several years ago, we had less than 20 visitors.” 

TARGET AUDIENCE

The targeted audience was restaurant owners and chefs in the Memphis, Tennessee area.

SOLUTION ARCHITECTURE

Ben E. Keith engaged CustomXM to assist them in marketing an upcoming food show in Memphis, TN. It had been a while since they had participated in this Memphis event, and they wanted to use unique techniques to engage prospects and drive booth traffic. After determining the objectives and incentive, an Alaskan Cruise, two mailings were created to attract and engage the target audience. Ben E. Keith had a database of 305 prospects and sent them an invitation via a traditional style A6 mailer.

This was followed with a lumpy mail box that included a customized card and luggage tag, inviting recipients to stop by the booth and register for the grand prize of an Alaskan Cruise.

 

The mailer box, which was approximately 3.75” x 6.5” x 2”, looked very similar in shape and size to a “fried pie” box made famous by a national fast food chain. After getting postal approval that this box could in fact be mailed, CustomXM proceeded with the graphic design and production.

On the outside of the box, the words “Need A Vacation?” were boldly and prominently displayed along with the Ben E. Keith logo. Anyone in the restaurant or food industry knows how few and far between vacations are, so these words were chosen as they would certainly resonate with the recipients. Additionally, the unique size alone of this lumpy mail piece would capture the attention of the mail recipient. Inside the box was a personalized note card inviting recipients to visit the Ben E. Keith booth during the food show and register to win the grand prize of an Alaskan Cruise. Additionally, to reinforce the idea of a much needed vacation, a Ben E. Keith branded luggage tag was included in the box as well.

REASONS FOR SUCCESS

The main reason for success was a clever design that caught the attention of the recipient combined with a great offer (free cruise).

SignsXM Launches with Out-of-the-Box Lumpy Mail

BUSINESS OBJECTIVES

CustomXM added a new division, SignsXM. It wanted to find a unique way to announce its new offerings which included all types of wide format printing, including banners, signage, wall graphics, vehicle graphics and more. CustomXM also wanted to use a cross media, multi-channel approach that would drive results and illustrate CustomXM’s marketing capabilities.

The SignsXM Awesome Banner Thingy Campaign: Complete with personalized box, envelope, personalized mini-banner and a fun-to-follow instruction sheet below. The inside of the box lid had a QR code that led to a fun video

 

RESULTS

CustomXM created a unique, dimensional mail piece that included a personalized mini-banner for all recipients. CustomXM encouraged recipients of their “Awesome Banner Thingys” to post photos on Instagram, which would qualify them for entry into a prize drawing.

420 pieces were mailed to prospects and current clients of CustomXM. Over 12% of recipients responded and completed the online survey. Additionally, over 13% of the recipients posted photos of their Awesome Banner Thingys on  Instagram accounts. Many of these respondents were a different subset than those that responded to the online survey.

The campaign received quite a bit of social media buzz and accolades from local ad agencies. It immediately led to meetings and opportunities for signage and direct mail proposals for clients and prospects. Many of these opportunities led to new business within the first three weeks of the campaign.

This campaign also received national recognition by receiving two Bennys awarded by the Print Industries of America during their Premier Print Awards, an international print competition.

TARGET AUDIENCE

The targeted audience was current clients and prospects of CustomXM.

SOLUTION ARCHITECTURE

At CustomXM, they like to market themselves a little differently. They like to use the marketing tools they are constantly advocating, and they like to have a little fun. They accomplished all this and more with their “Awesome Banner Thingy” campaign.

Recently, CustomXM added wide format services to their offerings. They even created a separate division, SignsXM. But they felt that it wouldn’t be enough just to tell folks about these new services, it would be better to show them. And have them show others.

To engage its target audience, CustomXM developed a dimensional mailer – an 8” x 8” x 1.25” box complete with a personalized label informing recipients that a “surprise” was inside. Inside the box was the following:

  • A personalized envelope and note card introducing the new division and services.
  • An instruction sheet showing recipients how to put together their own Awesome Banner Thingy
  • A QR Code that linked to a video explaining how to construct the Awesome Banner Thingy
  • The actual Awesome Banner Thingy which was a 3.25” x 7.5” vinyl banner, personalized with the recipient’s name, complete with a grommet and very tiny banner stand.

To encourage responses recipients were given two opportunities to participate in a prize contest

  • By visiting their personalized website and completing a survey
  • By sharing a photo of their Awesome Banner Thingy on Instagram
box_campaign_INSTAshots

Above:  photos posted by Box Thingy recipients. Recipients were asked to post photos of their banner-thingys on Instagram with the hashtag #thinkitsignit. The Instagramers were entered into 3 different sets of drawings for prizes and winners were announced via Instagram videos.

 

REASONS FOR SUCCESS

The main reason for success was a clever design and personalized promotion.

 

Article courtesy of W. Caslon & Company, 2015, PODi.org

Resurrecting Funeral Directors Association Membership

The Challenge

The Arkansas Funeral Directors Association (AFDA) works to establish, cultivate, and promote programs and policies that strive to mark the passage of life with dignity and instill high standards for ceremonies that are sensitive to the special needs of those who survive.

With approximately 300 funeral homes in the state, and membership currently at about 80 members, the Association was exploring ways increase statewide membership, while retaining and increasing engagement with its current members. A membership of 150 funeral homes was the desired goal. While cost of membership is often the reason given for those who decline membership or renewal, the association also wanted to explore ways to promote the value of the membership itself.

The Solution

CustomXM, a North Little Rock, Arkansas direct mail and print provider, proposed a concentrated effort to promote the value of membership in AFDA in conjunction with their upcoming 2015 Annual Convention. Because of the small existing membership and potential membership population, we recommended the following:

  • A direct mail campaign consisting of a well-organized and visually attractive brochure. This piece highlighted member benefits and included the conference event schedule, as well as member testimonials. The brochure would feature an incentive offer that reflected a substantial savings for members if they acted before the registration deadline.
  • The brochure mailing also included a well-organized registration form encompassing membership renewal and the conference registration.
  • A series of personalized postcards followed the brochure mailing. The postcards highlighted membership benefits and the available training opportunities. The same call to action incentive was also included in these direct mail pieces.
  • A segmented email campaign was launched just before the incentive offer expiration which targeted A) non-members and B) existing members thanking those who renewed early, and asking them to attend the conference and training. Lastly, an informative email that included the conference schedule was sent to the entire database prior to the registration deadline. All emails contained a link to the AFDA website with event information and links to a downloadable version of the registration form.
The Results

As a result of the campaign, AFDA membership reached new levels and the conference had a record number of attendees. Jeff Smith, President of the Arkansas Funeral Directors Association had this to say:

We had a record crowd this year and exceeded our projected attendance for the banquet, Thursday and Friday Continuing Education, and increased membership 20%.
Thank you! Your creative work with our efforts yielded great results.

What’s New Wednesday – Negative Space

If you are familiar with any visual or graphic design related topics, you probably have heard or even used the phrase, “white space is our friend.” White space, or negative space, is simply that: an unmarked portion of a related graphic, print, canvas or other medium where images or text do not appear. I’ve recently come across an interesting use of negative space that is more literal in nature. It is space so negative, that it doesn’t exist. In theory and in reality, it is full of holes.

Vinyl banners have been a mainstay for outdoor announcements and signage. You see them everywhere – grand openings, auto dealerships, community and sporting events. Banners and signs like these are affordable and effective sales tools. They begin working the moment you put them up, and don’t stop until you take them down. And when the need arises for these to be outdoors for an extended amount of time, or depending upon the height at which these banners will be displayed, you may notice banners with half-moon slits cut into them. This is done to allow the wind to pass through the banners. After all, most advertisers would prefer that they remain banners, and not 6’x10’ sails.

But this may not be the most attractive answer to this problem.

wind-vents-21

Wind slits in banners – a shotgun approach?

Fortunately, an esthetic and functional solution exists, and it’s a wholly pleasant improvement to the situation that involves negative space. Or it’s a holey improvement. Mesh Banner material, a digital media that is 60% material and 40% air (give or take) provides a solution that has some rather eye-catching benefits. This material holds full color images in a stunning fashion, and actually blends into the environment with a near translucent effect depending upon where the direct light hits it.

Mesh banner along walkway at Rockwater Marina.

Mesh banner installed along walkway at Rockwater Marina.

Until recently, I was under the impression that this material was best suited for outdoor environments only. But a visit to JCPenney in North Little Rock showed me how effective this material can be indoors too, especially in the retail environment. In the photos below, you can see how this mesh banner provides an artistic product backdrop when the primary light source is in front of it. Yet, it can appear nearly translucent allowing for product display behind it when the stronger light is behind it.

jcpenny photo 2 jcpenny photo 1

It becomes a very affordable, yet highly effective piece of interior display design.

So if you are looking for an effective way to get your message across, don’t make your audience read between the lines. Instead, let them look through the holes.

 

blog photo

Paul Strack [email protected] @pstrack