Case Study: Dot-com drugstore discovers a route to parents via Clorox

By Published on . aimed for diaper bags instead of mailboxes as it delivered its marketing message to parents using 25,000 daycare centers and preschools nationwide.

As one of 19 advertisers in the Clorox Care Necessities mailer, the online drugstore reached 2 million parents during April. Elwell Associates, Dallas, has produced the Clorox Co. mailer annually for the past five years, reaching's target demographic -- working women between 25 and 49. used Clorox's direct marketing program, at a cost of about $45,000, because it allowed the dot-com to deliver its message to parents, particularly mothers, in a relevant context, said Tim Hogan, director of marketing. "We wanted to reach that audience and reach them in their role as caregiver."

Mr. Hogan said it's natural for to turn to offline direct mail to promote the site.

"Ultimately, all of Internet marketing is direct marketing," he said. "It's a direct response medium. We're not covering new ground here, but the importance of targeting is everything, particularly if we can reach these busy professional moms who are shopping online and feeling comfortable making a purchase." tracked responses using a coded URL and saw response rates from targeted parents double and sometimes quadruple compared with general marketing or marketing targeted to Internet users, Mr. Hogan said. Conversion rates, the percentage of people who actually buy a product on the site, tripled compared with the conversion rate for new visitors and doubled compared with past offline direct mail offers including solo mailings. tested two creative pieces in the mailer. The mailer included either an ad focusing on the time-saving, hassle-free attributes of shopping online or another focusing on the benefit of using online shopping to free up more time to spend with one's family.

The company started to see results from the mailer the day it was distributed, with the emotional, family-oriented creative piece garnering the greater response.

"We will continue with programs like this," Mr. Hogan said. "And we will work more to test a broader range of direct marketing options."

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