In late 1993, Bose Corp. unveiled its Wave radio, not fully sure of its target audience. But a direct-marketing program from Pam Watson and her team found a following for the Wave.
The Wave delivers high-quality sound for about $350. Yet Bose elected to sell the device direct to avoid possible problems on store shelves. The radio is much more expensive than clock radios, which is what the product resembles, and looks too different from traditional high-quality stereo components.
The solution: "We followed all the tenets of direct marketing," says Ms. Watson, director of marketing for the Direct Marketing Group at Bose.
The marketer, through agency Wickersham Hunt Schwantner, Boston, used simple, b&w direct-response print ads in numerous publications to offer not just additional product information but also a 30-day home trial.
The campaign has become more targeted as Bose honed in on its audience, comprised mainly of males who enjoy music but want simplicity in their electronic products. Last year the marketer broke direct-response ads on cable TV.
As a result of these tactics, sales of the radio have roughly doubled each year.
Ms. Watson notes there have been some who doubted the Wave's potential. Among them: agencies that elected not to pitch for this business when it was available.
"I don't think anyone ever thought we could sell this product direct and be as successful as we've been," she says.