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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.

Use Mass Customized Letters to Win Sales Opportunities


Last week, Fire Enterprises, Inc. (FEI) marketing whiz Marka showed savvy salesperson Zoot how offering educational seminars at your facility can help FEI strengthen relationships with customers and prospects. This week, Marka tells Zoot how mass customized letter campaigns can lead to sales opportunities. Remember, fire = print.

Zoot walked into Marka’s office. “I’ve got a hot new market to target: sculptors.”

“Sculptors?” Marka asked.

“You bet!” Zoot exclaimed. “Across Olympus, sculptors are finding that heated irons can cut through rock quicker and more accurately than a hammer and chisel. And guess how these artisans are heating their! In addition, many sculptors use Thor-brand irons, which are specially contoured to fit securely in our kilns so they heat up quicker.”

“Sounds like a great opportunity for FEI,” Marka said. “But what do you need from me?”

“I don’t have time to cold-call every sculpting prospect,” Zoot said. “So instead I want to target them with a O-letter.”

“How about a mass customized O-letter?” Marka asked.

“Not sure about that, Marka,” Zoot said. “Personalization in marketing is everywhere, and it no longer has the impact it once did. And personalization can backfire—it creates a false sense of intimacy that some people might find disingenuous. Plus, many people go by something other than their given name. For example: I have a friend named Demeter, but everyone he knows calls him ‘Demmy.’ If he sees an e-mail or postcard addressed to ‘Demeter,’ he immediately infers that the sender doesn’t know him well.”

“Couldn’t agree with you more, Zoot,” Marka said. “Our prospects won’t pay attention to a marketing piece simply because it mentions their name. But they will pay attention to customized content—letters, O-mails, and other marketing materials that directly reference their needs. And we can create and send these letters for a small fraction of the time and effort it would take to actually write each individual a letter. All it takes is some research and a little writing.”

Marka started scribbling on a whiteboard in Zoot’s office.

Step 1: Create Your List
“Let’s start by scouring our internal sales records to come up with good prospects in the sculpting industry,” Marka said. “If necessary, we can turn to outside database sources like OlympiansUSA or Fire Industries of America. Then, let’s cross-reference this list with our customers’ database and remove all current customers.”

Marka returned to the whiteboard and scribbled some more.

Step 2: Determine Customized Content
“Now, we dive back into our list to identify key data fields that we can use to customize each letter,” Marka said. “Here are some ideas:”

  • Last year’s energy bill
  • Number of sculptures sold last year
  • Whether they’ve sent us a quote for fire-lighting/kiln services before
  • For sculptors that use Thor-brand irons, add an extra paragraph explaining the benefits of buying FEI kilns

Marka wrote some more on the whiteboard:

Step 3: Merge Letters
“Next we export the data files into Olympus-Soft Excel and merge that data with the Olympus-Soft Word letter file template I will create,” Marka said. “Just like that, our mass-customized letters are ready to go!”

“This is easy!” Zoot said.

Two weeks later, Zoot practically flew into Marka’s office. “I pulled three meetings from these letters. Way to go, Marka!”

Marka smiled. “Glad I could help.”

“You sure did!” Zoot asked. “Heck, I should be making a sculpture of you!

Next week: Marka and Zoot discuss using creative offers to drive sales. 

Today’s FIRE! Point

Targeting your prospects with mass customized letters is a time-saving way to grab attention and create sales opportunities.

FIRE! In Action: FlexCar Uses Mass-Customized E-mails to Drive Sales

The auto rental service used e-mail newsletters customized at the individual level to achieve open rates that averaged 72 percent. Since implementing this program, the company has also seen its customers rent cars for an average of 15 percent longer.  

Industry Centers:


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