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Ad copy is key in Xerox campaign

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Xerox Corp. probably isn’t the first blue-chip brand that comes to mind when an executive thinks about networking. But the company whose name is synonymous with copiers is trying to change all that by communicating its networking capabilities to several business constituencies, particularly IT executives.

In February, Xerox launched a series of direct mail pieces created by its agency, Grey Direct, New York, in a broad campaign touting its "networked multifunction systems." The company wanted to build awareness of its networked product line that includes scanning, copying and printing equipment.

"It’s kind of that unexpected ‘a-ha,’ " said Beth Ann Kilberg-Walsh, manager of marketing communications for Xerox’s North American Solutions Group. "Awareness is key. We’re saying, ‘Look at us as the trusted source for this. It’s not necessarily who you expected.’ "

Trust and affordability were two messages Xerox wanted recipients to remember. The company’s overall advertising message was revamped a year ago, including the tagline, "There’s a new way to look at it," and the direct mail pieces use that kicker as well. Xerox declined to say how much it spent on the latest campaign.

Targeting three audiences

The company decided its best approach was to send highly targeted messages to each of its three main audiences of decision-makers and purchase influencers. So an initial mail drop, sent to 35,000 executives the week of Feb. 17, had three separate versions of copy. Existing IT customers received a message touting Xerox as a "trusted source to provide affordable systems" and encouraging them to do more business with the company. A different message went to IT prospects, and a third version targeted procurement executives and department heads.

"You get a 3-to-1 ratio lift in response if you can talk vertically," said Holly Pavlika, executive creative director at Grey Direct. "Everyone has different reasons for why they would choose a particular product. In most companies, no one is the single decision-maker."

Most of the pieces (80%) were mailed to customers and prospects in Xerox’s in-house database. Grey worked with Xerox to profile and segment that list and advised the company on which outside lists to rent.

The mailer was a bright red "pop-up-book-style" brochure that, once opened, revealed the Xerox logo and body copy.

A relatively new campaign wrinkle for Xerox was the targeting of IT executives.

"Based on focus groups and our field sales feedback, we’ve been learning that IT is a real key player in this market and that they’re asking for more information," Kilberg-Walsh said. "This is an opportunity for us to do that."

Kilberg-Walsh added that with many people changing jobs quickly, Xerox might miss an opportunity by not honing in on other target audiences.

The attention-getter in the direct mail piece was its call to action. "Get a FREE USB Drive," it read. Once potential customers speak with a sales representative and schedule an appointment, they are qualified to receive the free USB Drive. As Kilberg-Walsh said, "It’s the hot little item right now."

Recipients of the mailer receive a follow-up telemarketing call within five to seven days. The brochure includes a URL address where customers and prospects can register. Banner and skyscraper ads on the company’s Web site round out the integrated campaign.

Kilberg-Walsh said Xerox has had positive feedback to its IT mailing and that it has driven a "strong number of qualified leads."

In separate campaigns, Xerox targeted C-level executives and other purchase influencers with direct mail pieces that dropped the last week of February and the first week of March.

The small, blue rectangular cardboard box mailed to top executives presents a simple message about how Xerox products can help top executives boost staff productivity and dramatically cut printing costs. It includes a Starbucks coffee gift card.

The influencer package, sent via Priority Mail to a select group of recipients, looks like a wedding invitation. Aiming to turn the recipients into "heroes" who solve office problems, the piece encourages them to go to the Xerox Web site or call an 800 number, where they will learn how to accomplish certain goals—for instance, a reduction of help desk calls.

"We want to get our message out to as many influencers and decision-makers as possible," Kilberg-Walsh said.

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