A potent marketing tool for Black & Decker

Black & Decker Europe e-business commercial manager Peter Langham identified the objectives of the programme as communicating core brand values and building customer loyalty.

Black & Decker Europe e-business commercial manager Peter Langham identified the objectives of the programme as communicating core brand values and building customer loyalty. The interactive possibilities provided by the digital medium “supplied the ideal means of creating a reciprocal relationship”, says Langham.

E-mail proved attractive because of its low cost; the depth and breadth of tracking; the quick turnaround from inception to results; and the rising penetration of e-mail among the general populace. Black & Decker worked with online agency Digital Marketing Direct (DMD) to develop a long term e-mail marketing strategy encompassing acquisition, retention and feedback, and which could be scaled according to need.

The first phase, carried out in the final quarter of 2001, centred on building up an e-mail database by targeting relevant profile groups and encouraging users to sign up to receive Black & Decker newsletters. E-mail lists, competition websites and affiliate websites were all used in setting up the database. Going through the subscription process, users were asked seven key questions about their DIY habits and where they lived.

This campaign resulted in average click-through rates of 27 per cent, with more than 90 per cent of those users that clicked through completing the questionnaire. Overall, the acquisition campaign beat DMD’s target by 112 per cent.

The second phase involved segmenting the records in the database according to the responses to the phase-one questionnaire. Users were categorised according to their DIY expertise, and a schedule of monthly brand communications was put together for each target group. The core message consistently focused on portraying Black & Decker as an innovator that provides value for money.

Early in 2002, Black & Decker signed up key retailers for in-store promotions and to make a joint effort to increase in-store traffic. An example of the activity in this phase was a Father’s Day e-mail in June 2002, promoting a cordless screwdriver. Newsletters allowed users to examine products up close and encouraged them to visit the retail partner to make their purchase. This specific activity resulted in an eightfold increase in sales of the product.

Within this phased programme, online market research was conducted by targeting relevant users within the database. Typical surveys comprised eight to 14 questions and dealt with product research. Examples included the Dustbuster Vac survey – in which consumers could vote for their preferred Dustbuster Vac design – and consumer behaviour research, such as the DIY habits survey. Responses, says Langham, have been “overwhelming”, with e-mail opening rates ranging from 38 per cent to 60 per cent. Of those users who opened the e-mail, more than 30 per cent clicked through and completed the survey. Recently, in order to keep the database and segments up to date, a DIY survey was sent out (in November 2003) to update consumers’ usage patterns and attitudes and thus ensure that future communications remain relevant.

All online activity is carefully integrated with Black & Decker’s offline marketing and promotions to ensure a coherent message is communicated. E-mail newsletters were sent out to coincide with the 30th anniversary edition of the Workmate workbench in April 2003. This e-mail supplemented brand awareness and generated interest in the new edition. Users were also given the opportunity to click through to a specified retailer to purchase the product.

Another example of integration was the promotion of the 85th anniversary limited- edition Retro Drill, late last year. Postcards were distributed to promote the drill, and led users to visit a microsite in order to enter a competition to win the product. While entering, users were also given the opportunity to register for Black & Decker’s e-mail newsletters – 60 per cent of users registering for the competition also opted to receive newsletters.

The next phase was to begin rolling the programme out to key European markets. A customer acquisition campaign was launched in the Netherlands in June 2003, and will be extended to Sweden and Italy this year.

Langham says that with reduced costs and high response rates, Black & Decker’s e-mail marketing programme has become an integral part of the company’s communication strategy. He estimates that, in comparison with Black & Decker’s offline advertising, digital marketing can reach up to ten times as many consumers per pound spent as television advertising.

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