Pinpoint or shotgun?

  • Sep 15, 2005

In a recent case study, a business owner sent personalized pizza cutters in custom-made boxes to a dozen key decision-makers that he wanted to get appointments with. The boxes, which contained the pizza cutters and a letter, were delivered just before lunch along with (and here's the kicker) a real pizza from a well-known pizza chain. He liked to say that the whole promotion cost him about $350, including the tip. Result: all 12 called and scheduled appointments.

Why spend nearly $30 per recipient on a promotion? Why not send out 200 or 300 items that cost a dollar or two apiece and increase your potential response twenty-fold?

It's a fair question. And there are good arguments supporting both strategies. In the case above, the recipients were marketing executives at local firms who had been specifically chosen because of their business potential. Of the 12 appointments he got, 10 firms ended up doing business with him. He generated about a half million dollars in revenue from that initial $350 investment.

The point is that a blanket approach isn't always the answer. Most people think of logoed items in terms of sheer volume — thousands of pens or calendars, hundreds of mugs, calculators or t-shirts — and that's fine, but it's not the only way to spend your money. Sometimes it makes more sense to specifically target key recipients and spend a higher amount on fewer people. It's the same budget, but the results can be dramatically different.

Pizza box