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Kodak develops direct for SOHO

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Eastman Kodak Co. introduced a new online design and printing solution for the small office/home office market last month called the Kodak Creative Network, with a multipronged direct response strategy to get the word out.

The Creative Network is designed to make high-quality marketing design tools and printing available to and affordable by small businesses.

Direct mail, is a cornerstone of Kodak's marketing plan.

"We're looking at three major areas for marketing," said Margaret Jones, current product marketing manager at Kodak Creative Network: "Online, direct marketing and public relations through radio and events."

Firewood Inc., San Francisco, a boutique agency, handled the campaign, and Internet Marketing Initiative, Chicago, handled search.

All the advertising is designed to telegraph to new business owners that a wide range of products can be created using Kodak's new tool.

"We're looking at [appealing to] people who appreciate the creativity but don't necessarily need to be creative themselves," said Kathy Mahoney, future product marketing manager at Kodak Creative Network.

Bradley Hazelrigg, a partner at Firewood, agreed. "The creative is built around showing the real-life possibilities of how easy it is for [business owners] to get new cards."

The design tools the software offers include industry-specific templates—such as for business cards and sales brochures—as well as finishing options.

"We offer them a lot of options based on the business they are in," Mahoney said.

The templates cover 12 vertical industries, including beauty, construction, massage and spa, and real estate. The service can also accommodate very small orders, rather than imposing a random minimum on the customer.

Direct shows print quality

Direct mail is a perfect way to illustrate the quality of the finished products, Jones said. "The direct mail is going to be an important element," she added. "We are able to put our product in front of our prospective customer through direct mail. They are able to see a sample and the quality behind it."

The mailings will employ digital variable printing, meaning they will be personalized to each recipient. One postcard showcases three versions of business cards that show the prospect's name and address printed on each. Copy across the top reads, "You're open for business. Now go get your free cards." The other side of the postcard has the offer, with a URL directing the recipient to a landing page.

Jones said direct mail is also a great way to reach new businesses, the campaign's primary target.

"When we first find people who are starting a new business, we can reach them most quickly through direct mail," she said. "It takes longer to obtain their e-mail."

The first wave of direct mail will go out later this month; there will be three tests of 10,000 pieces each. Lists used will include rented as well as free government lists. Kodak said it will rent lists for direct mail as well as e-mail from infoUSA, through its Walter Karl Inc. and Yesmail subsidiaries, and also from other sources, such as Entrepreneur magazine.

Online will figure prominently as well. "We'll initially have a broad mix of online play," Jones said, "paid search to really target the people who need our services, and banner advertising to gain awareness."

E-mail marketing will also play a role. "We're testing some specific compiled and subscriber lists," Jones said.

In addition, analysis was done on the Kodak Gallery member database to develop a list of small office/home office businesses (SOHOs) that will receive e-mail messages. Kodak is also investing in co-registration and affiliate marketing programs with partners such as latimes.com to build its database.

Advertising banners will be displayed on Web sites such as AOL.com and Feedburner, an RSS and blog feed, and on Tribalfusion, an online ad network. With AOL, Kodak is using a behavioral targeting strategy.

"We're doing behavioral targeting with AOL on the AOL Small Business section," Hazelrigg said. "The criterion that's been established is that, in order for banners to be served, the viewer has to have looked at or visited content regarding starting a new business twice within the last two months."

In terms of search, Kodak is purchasing keywords on AOL, Business.com, Google and Yahoo. It is buying a total of 6,383 keywords and phrases, including "postcards" and "business cards."

Said Hazelrigg of the overall campaign: "We're doing quite a bit of testing to figure out which media channel and which offer and product combination has the lowest cost to acquire a customer, and the value of that customer."

"We also think radio is important for our marketing mix," Jones said. "There's a high entrepreneurial listener base. We want to catch them when they are listening to the radio." Radio and events will be handled by PR firm Ketchum.

Kodak plans to attend upcoming events, although it has no firm commitments yet. "We'll be looking for opportunities to reach SOHOs with our messaging through local events," Jones said.

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