Greyhound: a plan to hold its ground

In this special report, nine direct marketers use case studies to analyze the role of direct marketing within integrated advertising campaigns.Drawing from a broad cross section of examples, they review the objectives of the campaign and explain how their direct marketing...

In this special report, nine direct marketers use case studies to analyze the role of direct marketing within integrated advertising campaigns.

Drawing from a broad cross section of examples, they review the objectives of the campaign and explain how their direct marketing strategy leveraged each component of the media mix Ñ television, radio, magazines, newspapers, out-of-home, point of sale and direct mail advertising.

The case studies include campaigns for financial services, office equipment, a courier service, a government agency, a long distance telephone service, a radio station and a retail store.

The report continues to page 23.

Greyhound Courier Express, the courier division of Calgary-based Greyhound Lines of Canada, had by 1992 secured a strong niche in the station-to-station segment of the Canadian courier market.

However, increasing competition and a downturn in the economy was affecting the courier industry and Greyhound recognized the need to protect its share of the market.

Greyhound reasoned that the best strategy was to concentrate its marketing efforts on its existing account customers.

One-on-one relationships

In order to maximize revenue from this group, it would build one-on-one relationships to increase customer loyalty and reduce attrition through an integrated marketing campaign driven by a direct response component.

Until June of 1992, Greyhound had relied on public relations and print media to carry its message to the public.

That changed with the launch of the Great Greyhound Courier Express Sweepstakes – a customer appreciation and incentive program that employed direct mail, telemarketing, magazine and newspaper advertising, posters, and even a promotional Scratch ‘n’ Win incentive at the point-of-sale.

Joint project

Greyhound Courier Express and its advertising agency, Vancouver-based Palmer Jarvis Advertising, entered into a joint project with Go Direct Marketing to assist in the design and implementation of this program.

The first hurdle that had to be overcome in implementing a relationship-building campaign was determining exactly who Greyhound’s courier customers were.

Greyhound had more than 30,000 corporate account customers on its billing system, but it did not have the names of shippers and decision-makers, making it hard to establish meaningful one-on-one relationships.

To accomplish this, an attention-getting $3.6-million Sweepstakes promotion was launched for account customers that shipped with Greyhound.

The key component of the program was that individual shippers had to register their names to win.

After two mailings, more than 20,000 individuals from Greyhound’s 30,000 corporate accounts had registered for the program.

This overwhelming response established a two-way communication channel and allowed Greyhound to begin educating customers, cultivating relationships and developing loyalty on an individual basis.

Sweepstakes mailings were sent to all customers on a quarterly basis and frequently through billing statement stuffers.

Having gained the attention of customers through the promotional element of the campaign, mailings could focus more and more on product features and benefits.

Variety of tactics

A variety of other marketing tactics were employed to attract, up-sell and retain customers to the program.

First, the involvement of all front line staff was encouraged.

From the more than 3,000 employees and independent agents across Canada who received all communications in advance of their customers, to the drivers who distributed Scratch ‘n’ Win cards at point-of-sale, the participation and support of all levels within the organization was critical to the success of the campaign.

Generate inquiries

Face-to-face customer service was supplemented with a variety of media to create awareness and generate inquiries among prospects.

All new customers attracted were immediately enrolled in the on-going database marketing program and their names forwarded to sales staff on a weekly basis for individual follow-up.

Because direct marketing focusses on the needs of the individual customer, a sophisticated marketing information database is essential to the success of any program.

Individual preferences and buying behavior need to be monitored, the effectiveness of all communications quantitatively measured and new marketing opportunities identified. Ultimately, the marketing information database drives marketing decisions and tactics.

In Greyhound’s case, customer billing information is sent to Go Direct Marketing via modem on a weekly basis.

This financial data is overlayed against the marketing database in order to track the effectiveness of the program overall, and to identify companies that may require individual attention.

Segments identified

For example, top customers, new customers or growing customers can be identified for special treatment from the salesforce, recently lapsed customers targetted with buying incentives to reactivate their accounts, and new products cross-marketed to customers based on their previous purchasing history.

Now, the customer database can be segmented not simply by industry or company size, but by demonstrated buying behavior and response or inquiry information.

This allows Greyhound to communicate with customers individually, based on that customer’s relationship with the organization.

In the competitive courier market, where product differentiation is often hard, the relationship developed with individual customers through a well-coordinated and sustained integrated marketing campaign can provide the competitive advantage needed to sway or keep a valuable customer.

Glenn Chilton in a partner in Vancouver-based Go Direct Marketing.