Marketing Round Table: Candy Care Package
Welcome to the Marketing Round Table
A lot of our time in the marketing department is spent trying to think of and develop projects that can help us achieve our larger goals like client engagement. Sometimes these projects fall flat and don't yield much success and sometimes they're a terrific success that we want to brag about and maybe share some insight on too. So, we're introducing The Marketing Round Table: a series of blog posts on projects, experiences, and revelations we've had here at UMD and how they've helped us better market ourselves to our clientele.
The Candy Care Package
The first project we want to share with you guys is (naturally) one of our most successful to date. The Candy care packages are a seasonal marketing initiative we take on during Easter and Halloween each year. With a lot of careful planning and love we prepare specially designed boxes filled with goodies and some personalized tokens of our appreciation.
"It was definitely created out of a sense of loyalty to our customer"
At first, we started by letting each of our sales reps choose an allotted amount of their most substantial customers to participate in the program. After that preliminary run and an overwhelmingly positive reaction from our clients, we decided to expand past that small pool and it's been absolute positive returns since, both quantitatively and qualitatively.
How its Made
Each season, about five weeks out from project launch, we start by setting a budget for the boxes which will fluctuate based on cost of materials and shipping. Accounting for everything like crinkle paper, candy, notecards, the custom art we've prepared on stickers, the cost typically comes out to 3 - 3.5 thousand. Using an application we are able to compile and combine lists of participants and start projecting costs to ship out to everyone.
About four weeks from product launch, we order all supplies and allocate everything we'll need from start to finish of assembly. Depending on the season or new ideas that come up, we like to customize these with some extra flair like cobwebs for the Halloween boxes or unique confetti for Easter.
Two weeks out we begin the arduous assembling process. Commandeering a region of our offices for some time, we create dedicated stations for assembling the packages. At this point our sales team gets started handwriting the hundreds of note cards that will in time all find their way to the hands of one of our loyal customers.
About a week out we start working out the shipping logistics which can be a giant hassle. We highly recommend you work the mechanics of this out well before the time actually comes. In order for our packages to begin arriving at similar times to our customers, we have to ship in waves that move from west to east. Be warned; some post offices will also give you a hard time when undertaking a massive shipping project like this. We ended up having to take our packages to the sorting facility once because of this.
|Halloween Style Box
|Brown Crinkle Paper
|Ubie Stickers (Bat, Ghost, Standard)
|Gummy Body Part Candy (1 Piece)
|Non Chocolate Candy (4 Pieces)
Above you'll see a line item break down of one of these projects.
We of course tracked plenty of metrics while doing this so we could reflect and hopefully show off. Here's what we found:
Order per client increased and Nominal Return Rate Increased
One of the more immediately obvious outcomes was that clients who received these care packages were ordering from us more often than our average client had. In the absolute worst instance of the project, we still saw an increase of 22% in average orders but in the wide majority of cases we saw increases ranging from 80%-100%. It's within reach to say that these care packages compelled our clients certainly to interact with us more (whether that be through quotes or otherwise) and absolutely compelled our clients to purchase from us at higher frequency.
Probably a more explosive display of this same development is our nominal return rate which essentially measures how many of our clients will go on to become repeat customers. This field increased explosively for participating customers. Abundantly clear is the fact that we became the obvious and maybe only option for custom flash drives for clients that received our packages.
There were a lot of effects from all this that would be difficult to measure but we think they matter in the grand scheme and you should consider them too.
In an informal but meaningful way, we became friends or at least familiar with plenty of our customers. While we have no metric currently to measure it, we cannot discount the basic relationship building we did with some of our largest and smallest customers all in one fell swoop. We can all appreciate the value of brand recognition; for businesses like ours, a strong bond with our customers as business partners and friends is invaluable.
We also would be remiss not to account for the note cards which, besides being handmade and full of love, also feed into our twitter campaigns and help amplify the impressions being made by the boxes. Just by getting our social media info into the box with the treats, we were able to translate a significant portion of our success over to the digital arm of the marketing department.
What you should know
So naturally now you're wondering if something like this is the right move for you. In general, go for it! We think these projects are an easy and sincere way to reach out to your clients (or just some of the priority clients if need be) and we can testify on the significant RoI. That being said, there are some things you need to consider when deciding if a campaign like this is going to help your business.
We did not operate these in a vacuum. Each time we did this, these projects were easily slotted into an existing marketing plan that supported and enhanced our efforts. This was not an off the hip attempt to reach out to people, the infrastructure and technique had already been developed and tested. So you should understand that a candy care package is not a significant marketing attempt all on its own. Along with twitter we also have a wide array of channels of talking to our clients regularly and promoting our ongoing efforts.
We benefit from being warm and kind, do you? Something worth considering when doing stuff like this (especially the more heartfelt stuff like writing notes) is whether your clientele wants to view you in this light. Does the nature of your work support doing something like sending candy and stickers to your customers? The reality is that while most would probably still appreciate the package, it does not necessarily increase the odds of people wanting to do business with you. For many people out there, marketing themselves this way might do more harm than good (looking at you plumbers and lawyers.)
Thoughts and RoI
To be frank, we've gotten pretty good at running this seasonal event. We've learned how to efficiently fund, plan, and execute the project and we've tweaked it over the years to get the best results out of it. It's also a lot of fun for us to do; package time is usually pretty festive for us and is a welcome break from the normal.
What's more, is that we know we make money doing this. When we break down the average cost of these packages and the cost to execute the whole plan, our return on investment (or RoI) is undeniable.
On average we immediately generated ~$350 more from clients that participated in the program than we did from similar clients who simply received our typical top tier customer service and care. Over the entire lifetime of the client however, we can expect to see another ~$800 in revenue generated from that same client.
A few takeaways from this project: finding new ways to stay in contact with, and in good standing with, your clients is key and moreover, it pays off. Also, when undertaking a multifaceted marketing campaign like this one, it's important to carefully plan each step and equally important to measure all the results so as to adjust or justify your techniques and approach.