Chocolate-covered sugar cookies

It should be no surprise that a direct mail marketing company like Mostad & Christensen Inc. (M&C) runs some effective campaigns promoting its own products and services. The company, which sells mailing lists of accountants to clients looking to market to the CPA market, promotes its “CPA-Accountants Hot List” through targeted – and hard-to-resist – direct mail campaigns.

“We’ve done mailers with smoked salmon, with taffy, with Brownie Points brownies – we try to make them kind of fun mailers and they seem to work really well,” says Kim Seldal, in-house list manager for M&C. Last year, mason jars full of chocolate coins were sent to 50 previous clients, resulting in some $24,000 in orders.

The most recent effort was a shipment of chocolate-covered sugar cookies – imprinted with the CPA-Accountants Hot List brand, logo and contact information – and a can of key lime lemonade mix, which went to 37 brokers and end-users who had ordered in the past. The orders were meant primarily as a thank-you for the customers’ previous orders, but also included a 15% discount on orders placed before the end of July (the packages were shipped on June 7).

As with other promotions M&C has done, this effort played on the theme of the treat being mailed, with a note saying, “What could be more refreshing than lemonade and cookies in the summertime? How about a great offer on a great mailing list?” In addition to the treats, which came in a box with a branded ribbon, Seldal included her business card, a tip sheet on marketing to accountants and an order form.

The goodies cost only $12.25 per package, but shipping chocolate in the middle of the summer cost an additional $14.85 for second-day mail and the inclusion of ice packs. Seldal considers this a great return on investment, since of the 37 packages sent, M&C received seven e-mail responses and one order (as well as two new prospects), which more than paid for the promotional gifts.

M&C also sees this effort as having a longer-term impact on the company’s relationships with the recipients. “It’s the goodwill it puts out there,” says Seldal. “It keeps our name out there, and that gives it value.”

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