Things are hoppin' down-under!
It's delightfully refreshing to have smart, young people in Direct Marketing.
One of those smart, young people is Greg Smith, a recent Direct Marketer of the Year from Australia.
Someplace between down under and other places I met Greg. And we struck up a friendship. It was interesting listening to all that Greg learned and then shared about his own company and with his employer, the Australian Stock Exchange Limited.
A little background on Greg first
He was born about 30 years ago. Graduated from Macquarie University with a bachelor in Economics. Not a bad beginning if you're going to work in Direct Response.
He took his post-graduate work at the Australian Graduate School of Management, International Marketing Institute.
Let's share some stories with you. First from the Stock Exchange, and next from Greg's own company, Comprehensive Marketing.
Greg's activities at the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) include responsibility for over 40 Stock Market Information products and services, with combined revenue to ASX of A/$6,000,000.
Greg is the National Marketing Manager for ASX. Their Marketing programs include Direct Mail, both in-bound and out-bound telemarketing programs, specific space advertising in targeted journals and newspapers, coordinating marketing with public relations through a network of journalists, and the ASX outlets scattered about Australia.
There are 2 product managers and 4 sales representatives, combined with 1 customer service rep. This team, working with Greg, make it all happen.
For the most part they design all their own pieces and do all the writing. Once in a while a free-lancer will be brought in ... but there is no agency at ASX.
If any specific marketing program
does not achieve a response
of at least 15%,
the promotion is considered
Example #1: A product was launched in the Fall of the year to a market that had well established competitors. From a single direct mail campaign (supported at the various ASX retail locations) a product at the price of A/$275 was sold out in less than 6 months.
Example #2: An established product had a price increase at the same time a competitor was cutting their price. By using the highly targeted database and effective direct mail, ASX managed to double the sales from the same period in the previous year.
All promotions carry an 1+800 number and a response card. Service is available even in North America (specifically the States and Canada) 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with a special 800 number that rings in the Sydney office.
Building success on success
Here are some other examples of successful campaigns launched by ASX with Greg at the helm. During the normal slow December holiday season a direct mail campaign featuring an extremely simply brochure, a product sample and the letter was sent to a highly selected list of 500 Stock Brokers. It was a subscription product...and 80 subscriptions were sold within 1 week at A/$200 each.
A follow-up was done immediately following the holidays when an ad was run in a major Australian financial magazine. 100 subscriptions were sold off this ad.
This 2 part campaign, spaced over 2 1/2 months, generated A/$80,000 in annual revenue, simply by delivering the right product to the right marketplace at a time that was considered not right.
A nother product is called Signal G. It a branded product for Stock Brokers and Investors. It allows these people to get market sensitive data almost immediately.
Each year there are approximately 20,000 financial information related announcements that come out of ASX. Signal G allows those people who need this data for their buying/selling decisions to get it instantaneously.
It includes such things as profit announcements, take over offers, new share issues, quarterly reports, dividend announcements, company administrative changes and other things of interest to share holders.
Signal G is available for on-line delivery by a number of different data vendors who license it (for a royalty obviously!) from ASX.
The program is launched through print advertising in a specific financial magazine, the Australian Financial Review. Fortunately, and for reasons no one really knows, the ad was repeated 38 times in 60 days FREE!...an exposure worth over A/$50,000. What did happen, is that Signal G is immediately recognized, has been branded, and now generates in excess of A/$1,000,000 in annual revenue.
A n extremely low cost and highly personalized direct mail campaign was used to introduce another product.
This was a specialty report on each of the approximately 1000 companies listed on ASX. Each report on each company costs A/$240. The idea was to introduce this package to each of the 1000 listed companies, encouraging them to buy the report on their own company, and other reports that might be of specific interest to them.
The first mailing went to the Managing Director of the corporations. A 50% response rate was enjoyed in the first 2 months.
A follow-up was sent to the Company Secretary of all those companies who did not respond the first time ... and that resulted in an additional 30% conversion.
The reason all these programs work is that Greg began in 1990 to develop a true database for ASX. Up until that time there was absolutely zero being done that could be called Direct Marketing, Integrated Marketing, or anything that even resembled a database. Greg built it from scratch.
A little history: After Greg was selected as the Young Direct Marketer of the Year he toured the United States. And had the opportunity to not only visit various Stock Exchanges, but also a number of leading Direct Marketing organizations.
Such as Reader's Digest, McGraw Hill, Grolier, IBM, several insurance companies and others. From this he learned that a database was going to be necessary if they were going to do good marketing in Australia.
The short part of a long story is that it took awhile to find the right house to make it all happen. Greg drew a list of requirements, followed by requests, followed by wishes. And he shopped it.
He talked to a number of software houses and others who offered various database solutions. None of them could do what he wanted...until he stumbled across somebody who could do almost everything he wanted. And at a reasonable price.
The official go ahead to start the program came in December, 1992. Bata testing was done the following February and the full program was implemented by May, 1993. Today it is rolling and rolling and rolling...there are over 13,000 customers (from a list of zero prior to the implementation of this program) in less than 3 years.
The database has paid for itself. Greg has shown that it has the ability to take advantage of cross-selling and up-selling opportunities, obviously increasing sales through mail and phone. Sales that would not come any other way.
A s a side effect, there are also some benefits in efficiency ... the handling of the paperwork has been streamlined. Because the database allows ASX to talk to the right people, almost always at the right time, certainly about the right product and service.
ASX is so high on their database that they are now seriously marketing it around the world. And are already talking to several other stock exchanges about licensing their program for use in other countries.
Setting new personal goals
Let's close this with a couple of thoughts about Greg's side-line business. As if he didn't already have enough to do!
Greg has been doing some teaching. At the Australian Direct Marketing Association Certificate Course. For somebody who wasn't a student all that long ago, to have come full circle and now be teaching others shows how well he is respected and how well the results of his programs are known.
His agency, called Comprehensive Marketing, is working with a number of clients. One of them is Australian Post, where they are doing a program to pitch some of the seminars sponsored by the Post.
He is also working with one of Australia's largest stationery supply houses, a company in the catalog business.
In between time he's writing a regular column in a small business paper...obviously the articles are about marketing and direct marketing in Australia.
T he next thing Greg wants to do is come to the States for a few years. Or to Europe. Where he can live and work in a different environment, learn as much as he can, and then go back to Australia and do it all over again.