Direct marketing guru and author Denny Hatch has a colorful name for executive assistants. He calls these good people, whose responsibilities include screening phone calls, sorting the mail and helping to manage the daily activities of their high-powered bosses “White Fang.” And these days “White Fang” has very capable assistants of his or her own in the form of caller ID, voice mail and email filters.
Let’s face it, a big part of their job is to keep us – the B-to-B Marketer – out. But because these senior-level executives can make or break our sales and marketing efforts, it’s imperative that we find ways to get our message in. And few marketing tools are better suited for this task than direct mail. That said, I present –
Five direct mail tips for marketing to senior-level executives.
- Make Your Mail Peer-To-Peer Personal – Consider sending a personalized direct mail letter “written” by your CEO, CFO, CIO, etc. on his or her corporate stationery to his or her counterpart. Play up the commonalities both people share, the business and professional challenges they face that only someone in their position truly understands. I call it honcho-to-honcho marketing and it can be very effective. For example, one organization had success with a simple peer-to-peer letter bearing its CEO’s name, personal telephone number and a brief description of what the company offers.
- Use Dimensional Mail – In the lead-generation category of the Direct Marketing Association’s 2005 Response Rate Report, response rates for dimensional mail came in a close second to telemarketing (5.28% vs. 5.53%). As a tool for producing executive-level leads I have no doubt it ranked first. Simply stated, anything uniquely packaged, any envelope with a bulge, anything mailed in a box – you can usually count on these mailers making it past the mailroom and White Fang. A couple of examples –
- A company selling an enterprise level software package targeted 70 CFOs at large corporations. One group received an authentic strait- chicago white sox hawaiian shirt with sales collateral conveying the message that, “Most CFOs don’t realize how constraining their financial software can be until it’s too late.” Another group received a full-size hammock and attached pillow. The messaging theme for this mailer was, “When making changes to accommodate your growing business needs, does your financial software leave you hanging?” The program was a huge success, helping the company produce $2 million dollars in short-term sales and additional deals later on.
- Another marketer mailed a box. Inside the box was a silk napkin embroidered with the receiving company’s logo, a set of silverware and a menu of the sending company’s services. The offer? The sales rep would bring a catered lunch to a scheduled appointment. Question: How might we tweak the above offer if our goal is to have the executive dine at our place of business and tour our plant or offices? How about we offer to send a limo to take the executive to and from our offices? Remember, this is the Big Kahuna we’re targeting. A good meeting at your place of business could be worth hundreds of thousands, maybe millions in revenues for your company. And you’ll only pay the $300 – $400 for the limo if the executive takes you up on your offer.
It’s been reported that the typical executive gets 175 pieces of mail a week. Granted, that’s a lot. But that number is a mere fraction of the emails and voicemails they get, the majority of which they’ll never see or hear. In summary, if you’re looking to generate more response from the folks who occupy the corner offices, a well thought out, well-planned, well-written direct mail effort is one of your surest bets for success. So if direct mail isn’t part of your current game plan in targeting this highly influential group, I urge you to add it to your lead-generation playbook. Who knows, you just may end up making White Fang and her boss your friends.
write by sanders