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Informative Inc. rolls the dice with first integrated campaign

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When Informative Inc. created its first integrated marketing campaign, which debuted last month, it needed the effort to resonate with one of the toughest targets out there: marketing executives.

To break through to this savvy audience, the South San Francisco, Calif.-based company, which provides interactive market such solutions as surveys, community portals and blogs, opted for a humorous campaign that parodies marketers with “gambling problems”—those who roll the dice when determining what customers want and need. The campaign includes a microsite at www.stopthegamble.com and a direct mail effort consisting of a roll-the-dice game and a brochure.

The effort, created in conjunction with Partners+simons, Boston, targeted 1,500 marketing executives at advertising agencies, marketing services companies and marketing departments at companies in the consumer products, media, financial services, pharmaceutical, software and consumer electronics industries.

The direct mail piece included a game that communicated the campaign's central message: Stop gambling and start getting precision in your marketing decisions, said Camille Lepre, marketing and communications consultant at Informative. “We wanted to call their attention to the fact that often, as marketers, we’re taking a gamble on our marketing decisions,” she said. “Informative is saying, ‘You don't have to take a gamble. You can be precise based on customer research.’ “

The idea behind the direct mail piece was to make it past corporate gatekeepers to reach high-level marketing executives, said Todd Baird, senior brand director at Partners+simons. "We knew we couldn't send flat mail," he said. "We had to do something dimensional and make our point in a fun, entertaining way."

Baird said each die in the kit displayed words that represent media decisions a CMO might make. For instance, rolling the dice might reveal that the player should add more print advertising.

A brochure accompanying the dice game explains Informative’s Adaptive Conversation technology and drives recipients to a microsite that features case studies, a demo of the technology and three tongue-in-cheek video profiles of marketing execs who have hit bottom with their gambling problems.

One video, for instance, tells the tale of Norman, a VP of product development at a consumer electronics manufacturer who rolled the dice when faced with pressure to create a must-have product for the holiday season.

”Make it blue, make it pink, add a camera. It is a camera? Add another camera. One day, my three-year-old niece says, ‘I like kittens ‘cause they’re furry.’ So for a while, a furry kitty cell phone seems like a good idea,” Norman confesses, as he holds up the unfortunate product that resulted.

As the music picks up and the video shifts from black-and-white to color, Norman explains how partnering with Informative enabled his company to stock the shelves with products he knows his customers love.

Preliminary results for the campaign have been strong, said Bill Thompson, senior VP-sales and marketing at Informative. Of the 1,500 executives who received the direct mail piece, 12.9% went to the microsite, he said, with an average time per visit of 5 minutes, 56 seconds. Awareness has also increased, Thompson said, with page views at Informative’s corporate Web site up 150% since the campaign began.

Thompson said the campaign hits a nerve with the target audience. “I think people can identify with the issue of gambling as well as the risks and problems that are exaggerated somewhat in the brief videos but that are certainly relatable,” he said. “People would like more precision and speed in their marketing.”

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