With an exciting new program that helps large-scale retailers leverage their corporate real estate portfolios, Virtual Premise knew they had a winner.
The question was, how to break through the noise at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual Big Show event – and gain attention from the market?
- Direct mail
Virtual Premise, Inc. is a leading SaaS provider of real estate information management solutions for corporations, retailers, restaurants, landlords and commercial real estate service providers. The Virtual Premise solution provides companies with a simple way to collect, manage, and report on complex real estate information from anywhere, at anytime.
In 2008, Virtual Premise wanted to create interest, attention and ultimately action among one of its largest vertical markets: the retail industry.
To accomplish this, Virtual Premise created a new program — called Impact — that offered a set of cost-saving tools designed to help prospects find additional ways to leverage corporate real estate portfolios for strategic advantage.
Wanting to launch its new program at the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) annual Big Show event, Virtual Premise turned to Arketi Group for help in generating attention within its key vertical market.
Timing around this campaign was critical to (1) drive market awareness leading up to the company’s participation in NRF’s annual Big Show event and (2) better position Virtual Premise for when market conditions improve.
Virtual Premise had a basic but unverified contact list of names, email and physical addresses but had no new product announcements or other compelling reasons for its Sales executives to reach out to this key audience.
To determine Virtual Premise’s market positioning, Arketi conducted primary research to understand the purchase decision-making process, as well as the most important purchase decision attributes and benefits. Additional research involved reviewing four of Virtual Premise’s top competitors’ taglines, top-level messages and positioning on their respective websites.
From this analysis, Arketi learned that, despite challenging economic times, no competitor currently offered a cost-saving program to the market.
Arketi’s next task was to brainstorm various direct mail concepts that would generate attention and cause people to read the offer. Virtual Premise chose an "Indiana Jones" theme where prospects were enticed to enter a giveaway for a new high-end GPS system that was hidden (virtually, of course!) somewhere in the world. The prize would be awarded at NRF from among entries received over the web or at the show that identified the correct location of the hidden GPS.
Arketi and Virtual Premise next developed and executed a six-week, multi-touch, multi-activity promotional campaign aimed at retail industry prospects that included traditional direct mail, email marketing, personalized URLs, event marketing and traditional contest marketing.
Arketi first designed and wrote copy for the postcard and poster, which invited prospects to “Join the Search for Real Estate Savings with Virtual Premise,” announced the contest and contained a personalized URL-coded landing page for prospects to visit and register.
As unique elements, the postcard contained a clue to the whereabouts of the “buried” GPS and the poster offered prospects the ability to obtain “super clues” to the whereabouts of the GPS system, either by calling a Virtual Premise Sales representative or by visiting Virtual Premise’s booth at the NRF show.
Arketi also developed copy for the personalized landing pages, emails, which contained “Clues of the Week” and audience-specific content, and an outbound calling script for the Sales team.
At the end of the contest, Virtual Premise awarded the GPS system to the winning entry that correctly identified the Lost City of Petra (the real-world location used as the location of the Holy Grail in the Indiana Jones film) as the secret location of the GPS unit.
At the start of this campaign, the Virtual Premise/Arketi Group team had a number of objectives:
- Generate at least $250,000 in revenue opportunities,
- Overcome the traditional campaign “throw-away” reaction by meeting or exceeding standard direct mail and email response rates,
- Generate attention, interest and buzz in a market saturated with promotions by garnering media coverage,
- Develop a verified prospect list within the retail vertical market,
- Engage prospects in a way that kept interest over an extended timeframe, and
- Provide the Sales team with a compelling reason for a follow up call.
Results of the direct mail-based campaign were impressive. It generated more than half a million dollars in sales pipeline opportunities for Virtual Premise, as well as participation that topped traditional standard direct mail and email response rates by 325%.
Based on the success of the initial Search for Value promotion, Virtual Premise re-launched the campaign to a second market segment to promote a cost-savings program, where it achieved a participation rate greater than 16 percent overall.
The campaign for Virtual Premise earned these industry awards:
B2B marketers are struggling to stay connected to key prospects as sales cycles get longer. Fortunately, this challenge is not insurmountable. Arketi Group Vice President Micky Long outlines how a compelling business case for automating lead nurturing combines a number of different strategic components. Marketers must be willing to collaborate with their counterparts in Sales, solicit buy-in from key executives and decision makers, and develop a comprehensive plan to ensure a seamless implementation.