When ultra-upscale men's clothing retailer V Couture opened in Perrysburg, they needed a promotion program which would attract their target profile: men earning upward of $250,000 annually. Their agency had proposed an expensive mass media campaign including TV, radio, outdoor and newspaper.
Demographics indicated there should be only about 1,250 target prospects in the Toledo GMSA. A mass campaign as proposed would be massively inefficient - 99% of the budget would be wasted on unlikely V Couture customers. Shopkeeper Valentine Ononye indicated that he needed only 150 new clients over a year to reach his sales goal, since each client would typically spend $15,000 - $20,000 annually.
Working with Haley Wilkins of Winged Design, we recommended a direct marketing approach, and the client agreed. Using internet sources, news clippings and a knowledge of the Toledo community, we compiled a list of 800 prospects who fit the target profile. Three beautifully packaged gifts were delivered to each target at his workplace over a period of six weeks: 1) a designer necktie 2) a pair of gold cuff links and 3) a $100 gift card. Each package also included a brochure and a handwritten note from Mr. Ononye inviting the prospect to join the exclusive V Couture "Designer's Circle." Members would receive invitations to exclusive fashion events and meet the world class designers who would be attending. A dedicated Designer's Circle website greeted the prospects with a video introduction by Mr. Ononye and a virtual tour of the store.
While the direct marketing program was not much less costly than the mass marketing campaign the agency had proposed, it was 100% efficient in reaching the target audience - every penny was spent directly on target prospects. And the impact of the program was far greater than a media campaign would have been. We experienced a response rate of more than 50%, a stunning performance in a medium which generally considers 3% a success.
By the end of the first flight of deliveries, V Couture was receiving enormous buzz at the highest levels of the community.
Prospects we had missed were calling and asking to be included in the promotion. At the six month mark, V Couture had achieved their marketing objective of 150 solid new clients. By the end of the year, business had increased 500%! A few corporate executives made a point of visiting the shop to return the gifts, saying their company policy forbade accepting such valuable items, but the objectives were still reached, as the targets took the time to visit the store and many even made purchases.
The business has been so successful that after less than two years they have opened an additional new store in Sylvania targeting a slightly different demographic. We have crafted a novel promotion using viral marketing and flash mobs, as well as traditional advertising, for the new store, V Concept.