Personal Bests — Encouraging Returns
Browsing hasn’t become a Web-only activity quite yet. Shoppers looking to make a major purchase still tend to visit multiple stores and/or revisit the same store before making a buying decision.
Furniture shoppers are particularly apt to dither in light of the wide range of choices—styles, colors, fabrics, etc.—and often conflicting tastes. It’s easy for buyers to get confused about what they saw where and forget the finer points of an individual piece.
[ Program Objectives ]
The management of American Signature Furniture wanted a way to keep visits to its stores top of mind for browsers and to encourage them to come back. The company operates more than 80 furniture superstores that are part of the Value City Furniture chain.
Variable data marketing was still a new concept for American Signature when its vice president of marketing was approached by Marketing Services by Vectra (MSBV), based in Columbus, OH. Within a few days of the first meeting, the furniture retailer indicated it had enough interest to start a project. The concept piece MSBV developed enabled the decision-makers to quickly see how a personalized brochure would be an effective way to follow up with shoppers.
Part of the marketing company’s sales strategy is to follow the now common practice of starting at the top by targeting a prospect’s CEO or senior marketing person. MSBV’s approach differs from some, though, in that it looks to take concrete ideas into the first meeting. This is said to result in a fast sales cycle (about 30 minutes) and a close rate of around 95 percent, which enabled the firm to sell 37 programs in 14 months.
MSBV develops samples of marketing materials customized for a specific prospect because it has found people have a harder time understanding the potential of variable data when shown samples done for other clients. The company has extended this philosophy of investing in concept development by switching to a pricing model that includes free program setup so as to encourage clients to try different marketing approaches. To ensure there is a payoff, it targets prospects that have a high potential lifetime value.