Fresh Data Blog
Fresh Data Archive
Case Study: Selling Breakfast with Multi-Channel Direct Mail
Date: June, 2012 --
multi-channel direct marketing projects are enormously complex and expensive to
conduct. Others can be remarkably cost-effective at a less than grandiose cost
or price. A recent direct mail case study from the award-winning Texas restaurant
chain Café Express is a good example of the latter.
The company operates
in the cities of Dallas, Austin and Houston and prides itself on its fresh
handmade food. It has been very successful in the lunch and dinner categories
and has a reputation (also its motto) for "Great Fast Food". This
emanates from the skills of its owner, Chef Robert Del Grande. According to the
company's website, "Café Express has always been distinguished by its
"made from scratch" philosophy. Every day we chop our own vegetables,
and we make our own chunky chocolate brownies from scratch."
had recently entered the breakfast market, but customer response was still
pretty sleepy. In fact, some modest research disclosed that most people didn't associate
the chain with breakfast, since its reputation was built on its lunch and
dinner menus. That being the case, the solution was clear: market.
campaign's objectives were obvious: Raise customer awareness about the
breakfast offer and generate traffic. The initial target population would be
local customers identified from the company's database of email subscribers,
online customers and catering clients.
adopted a multimedia approach which included direct mail, online and social
media. The direct mail approach was relatively simple: Invite the local
customers to breakfast. It selected 20,000 local lunch or dinner customers to
receive a direct mail offer. Social media outlets were used for word-of-mouth
message multiplication, otherwise known by the technical term ‘buzz”.
local customers received personalized direct mail packages which included a redeemable
breakfast gift card and a personalized URL link. (We don't know if the company
earned last Summer's 3% discount from the USPS by putting a QR code to the PURL
on the envelope, but if you’re interested in this summer’s discount be sure to
read USPS Mobile Barcode Redux from this month’s newsletter.) Letter copy
invited the recipients to use their PURL to activate their gift cards in order
to claim the free breakfast. While on the website, people were prompted to
complete an online survey which harvested useful demographic and customer habit
data. With the survey completed, the activation process was finished and the
card became redeemable at any Café Express location in Dallas or Houston.
to the social media link, customers who visited their PURL were also empowered
to inform others of the free breakfast offer by posting on Twitter, LinkedIn
and/or Facebook. Doing so was
incentivized by entering those sharing the promotion with their social network
into a prize draw for a $100 gift certificate.
measure this was a very successful campaign. The total response rate was 24%
and, judging from the logins at the PURLs, the 20,000 direct mail packages accounted
for 62% of that response. 20% of the respondents activated their gift cards by
mentioning this offer on social networking sites. The demographic questions
disclosed that the Café Express customer tended to be a woman in her 40s and
comfortably well off with a household income exceeding $100,000.
Seems like a
fairly straight-forward campaign, but there was, of course, a data challenge.
Names and addresses had to be correct and current, and the PURLs had to have
the names correct. Internal letter and PURL copy was also personalized or the
gift card wouldn’t properly activate. And of course if you didn’t know who the
survey respondent was, you wouldn’t have reliable data. Not to mention the fact
that getting a woman’s age incorrect can bring dire consequences.
Whether you are
looking to append business intelligence to better target within your existing
database, need to build a marketing database from scratch, or simply need to
correct and validate the postal and/or email data within your file(s), talk to
Data Services in advance of your next campaign to ensure your data delivers!