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TJ Tedesco

View from Mount Olympus

By TJ Tedesco

About TJ

T.J. is team leader of Grow Sales, Inc., a marketing and social media services company operating at the intersection of compelling content, clear vision and quality communication practices. In this blog, fire is a metaphor for print. Hang on, this ride will be weird...

Prometheus crept into Mt. Olympus, stole fire, returned to the lowlands, ran from house to house distributing it, got caught, was chained to a rock, lost his liver to a huge ugly bird and was rescued by Hercules. Leveraging his fame, Prometheus started Fire Enterprises Inc.  (FEI). Since fire was the hottest technology of the time, company success came fast and furious. Two generations later, fire isn't such an easy sale. Now led by Prometheus' grandson Org, FEI's growth is non-existent, competitors are pounding and prices are in the toilet.

Statement Stuffers Help You Cost-Effectively Grow Share-of-Customer


Last week, Fire Enterprises (FEI) marketing maven Marka told savvy salesperson Zoot how enclosing public relations pieces in direct mailers can help persuade prospects to buy from them. This week, Marka shows Zoot how including low-cost marketing pieces in invoices can lead to more business from existing customers. Remember, fire = print.

One afternoon Marka and Zoot stopped in the office of Bill, their Accounts Receivable supervisor. Bill was busy at his desk preparing invoices for FEI customers.

“I’ve been thinking,” Zoot said. “Every month, we mail our customers invoices. Since we’re already mailing them something, why don’t we stick a capabilities piece or other inexpensive FEI-branded item in there?”

“Good thinking, Zoot,” Marka said. “Statement stuffers are cost-effective ways to keep the FEI brand top-of-mind with customers. Why not make our invoice mailings pull double-duty as branding tools?”

“What are some examples of items we can stuff in invoices?” Zoot asked.

“Do you mind?” Marka pulled down a whiteboard in Bill’s office and started scribbling.
Statement Stuffer Ideas

  • Business cards
  • 3x5˝ capabilities sheet
  • Folded 8.5x11˝ capabilities sheet
  • Branded pocket calendars
  • Branded paper rulers

“What about including pens or other three-dimensional ad specialties items?” Zoot asked.

“Could get expensive,” Marka said. “Think about the production and added postage costs to include items like those. If we’re going to send pens to every customer, we might as well go all out and do a lumpy mailing, making sure we target key-decision-makers, not the Accounts Payable people.”

“That brings up another issue,” Bill said. “Most of the time, the Accounts department will receive these invoices—these are not necessarily the people we want to influence.”

“That’s a fair point,” Marka said. “Will a statement stuffer mailing reach as many key decision-makers as a standard direct mail campaign would? Probably not. The value of invoice stuffers is cost-efficiency. It’s possible that only 40- to 50 percent of key decision-makers will see this piece. But since each piece costs just a fraction of Drachma, it’ll still be a cost-effective program. We can improve the chances that these stuffers reach the right person by including a note on each one, something like ‘Jen—Please route this to Robbie in Purchasing. Thanks.—Bill’”
“Bill, that was a very good point you made,” Zoot said. “I didn’t know you had such a knack for marketing.”

“What can I say?” Bill said. “I’m multitalented.”

FEI stuffed capabilities lists into their next round of invoices. After two months, sales from existing customers went up 19 percent.

Next week: Marka and Zoot discuss the value of customer case studies. 

Today’s FIRE! Point
Include low-cost “stuffers” in your customers’ invoices to strengthen your relationship with them and grow share of customer.

FIRE! In Action: Main Street Software Uses Lumpy Mailers to Grow Sales
Marketing Manager and President Val Aubry sent out a strategic series of lumpy mailers. The mailers achieved an 8 percent response rate and helped her grow her business 40 percent during a recession.

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