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B2B Marketing Spotlight: Data Retailer Gets Creative

Date: June, 2015 --

Habitual Fresh Data readers will know that we’re constantly on the lookout for creative marketing campaigns to share with our audience and one such unique campaign recently came to our attention from an international B2B database retailer – a relatively competitive space where differentiation often comes down to matters of universe size and depth. However, in this case the company choose purposely to do something wrong with their marketing piece in hopes of demonstrating what’s right with their data…

            We don’t know what it’s called, but the strategy must have a name, perhaps “Annoyance brings attention” or “Spell a prospect’s name wrong and you are toast” or something equivalent.  In any case, the Danish company “Greens” is a business-to-business data supplier. It offers carefully collected and updated data for sales and marketing purposes.

Its database has constantly updated material on some 600,000 companies and the company works constantly to assure its data is accurate and complete – e.g., no misspelled names!   

The challenge: Generate attention within a target group of some 3,000 large Danish companies for which the company had contact names of the marketing or sales manager and get their attention by marketing their offering in a manner that stands out from the usual way such services are marketed. And to do this on a very small direct mail budget.

Greens decided that its rather ordinary business offering needed something to set it apart from the ordinary in a memorable way – irritate the target.

How do you irritate marketing and sales professionals without alienating them? Get under their skin, but don’t approach their breaking point of dismissing your promotion?  

You do something that irritates them, does not insult them, and which makes them feel a need to correct you, which means they’ll probably take your phone call. The answer?  Misspell their name.

In each letter, the recipient’s name in the address window had a mistake. On the letter a piece of toilet paper was attached.  This helped the reader visualize the true value of a direct marketing letter, or any sales approach, when the target’s name is not presented absolutely correctly. The value? 0. The letter will go straight to the trash bin or to paper recycling, from where it will emerge as toilet paper. 

Having made the point of Greens’ professionalism, the letter included a personal code that could be entered at the Greens website in order to check the personal information they maintained about the company and the addressee himself.

Naturally, the campaign landing page also contained an order device for a demonstration of the database “Greens GO” to see more of the company’s capabilities. There was also a prize draw!  And of the course the envelope contained a flyer with more information about Greens.

Results?  Prior to the main mailing of some 3,000 pieces, 300 of the target group companies received the mailing; after the main mailing, another 200 managers were interviewed. The results certainly validated the use of this technic for this population. 


                                                    Test                        B-to-B Norm

                                                    Test                        B-to-B Norm

Remembered mailing:               69%                             51%

Remembered message:           33%                             25%

Wrong name detected               77%

Letter was read                           49%                             45%

Discussed with others                9%

Actively answered                      49%

Visited homepage                       29%

Ordered demo                              6%


Probably most interesting is the response rate: 49%.  For a direct mail b2b promotion for business data, this is an incredible response rate.

This is not a marketing technique without risk. And a lot of data has to be extremely correct before it can be made “a little” incorrect. When planning or looking for a similar technique, be sure to consult with Data Services, Inc. to assure the data you will be using will be properly handled.