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Of Doughnuts and Dollars: How To Use Food To Win New Business


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How to use doughnuts, a personalized digital promotion and smiles to build a successful advertising agency new business program. More at

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Of Doughnuts and Dollars: How To Use Food To Win New Business

  1. 1. The 360 ViewOf Doughnuts and Dollars
  2. 2. 1Ralston360Executive SummaryVIEW I: OF DOUGHNUTS AND DOLLARSWhat do doughnuts, business-to-business marketing and incredibleROI have in common? Plenty. In this issue of The 360 View, wegive an overview of a B-to-B direct response marketing programthat yielded results 20 times greater than the industry average. Of Doughnuts and Dollars The 360 View
  3. 3. 2Marketing agencies, whether direct marketers or advertisingagencies, are often chided for their inability to practice what theypreach. After all, how much great B-to-B advertising for and byadvertising agencies have you seen? How many brilliant directmarketing ideas for otherwise smart direct marketing agencieshave crossed your desk?The latest 360 View is a case history of a marketing company thatdoes, in fact, practice what it preaches. A company willing to spenda significant amount per marketing package to introduce itself to anew market and generate high-quality leads.Who is this company you may ask? Well, it’s Ralston360. So staywith me and I’ll outline a successful program that includes KrispyKreme glazed doughnuts, the chance to win Krispy Kreme stock,the opportunity to help sick children, personalized digital printing,a PIN-managed sweepstakes, a program-dedicated website tocapture and track those PINs and an email program to completethe loop. Pretty tasty, huh?A CURE FOR ACUTE MARKETING ANXIETY Good marketers occasionally wake up in the middle of the night with a wide-eyed stare worrying about the success or failure of their sales and marketing programs. This white-knuckled fear has been exacerbated over the past few years by theincrease of general media clutter and the growth of measurableinteractive media and program options. With real-time measurementtools come ever more management scrutiny (read: proof of anindividual’s success or failure), which drives even more anxiety because,after all, we finally have a good grip on what works and what doesn’t.I am a member of this insomnia-ridden little club. I wake up oftenwondering if our marketing programs are effective, and it’s a drag.To help cure this anxiety-based problem, we created the Ralston360“Doughnut Program.” Here is its case study. It is a case study basedon two of our primary biases: A bias towards action and a biastowards getting noticed. Of Doughnuts and Dollars The 360 View
  4. 4. 3 PROGRAM OBJECTIVES We are based in Bend, Oregon, have been in business for 19 years and have a strong and diverse client roster. Our clients range across multiple categories that include technology companies, financial services, consumer products, health care, even casinos. Bend has been good to us (a strong business, great long-term 360 marketing. clients plus skiing, fishing, golf, mountain biking— you get the idea). A well-rounded approach We do, however, have a raging case of business wanderlust. In order to creating Delighted to grow faster and to take advantage of the current economic Customers.* rebound, we felt that we needed a presence in Portland. We opened our Portland office in January. We even changed our name from RalstonGroup to Ralston360 to signal our expansion and recently enhanced direct and database marketing skill-sets. Portland is one of the most competitive markets in the country for marketing agencies. Like San Francisco, Portland has one of the highest ratios of talent-to-potential-clients. Because of this, we knew that any business development program we launched had to meet three key objectives: 1. The program had to immediately capture the attention of our target executives. We needed to hook ‘em fast. These executives are C-level and marketing executives at approximately 100 Portland area companies. They are very busy and are the target of many other marketing firms. They often hear the standard “we are great” messages from our competitors. They were ready to hear something new. 2. The program had to quickly and viscerally communicate how smart and creative we are. It also needed to demonstrate our integrated marketing talent, from branding to design to data-driven marketing. We did not want to bore people by just sending our portfolio with the standard, ineffectual “we’re cool/choose us” message. 3. The program had to deliver a high percentage of face-to-face meetings. This was the bottom line, the key metric, the only grail worthy of holiness. If successful, we would roll out the program to other markets. Of Doughnuts and Dollars* Find out more about creating Delighted Customers by visiting The 360 View
  5. 5. 4THE 360 DOUGHNUT PROGRAMWhat do business people want to hear or see from marketingcompanies seeking their attention? A portfolio of past work? Coolposters? Business books? Tchotchkes? I have received all of theseplus more in my days as a client. Sorry. They just don’t work anymore.What works? Something that reaches deep into our humanconsciousness. Something that’s glazed-coated and calorie-laden.Something like…Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Who doesn’t love theseultra-sweet treats? These anti-Atkins mini-bombs? That emotionallycharged Krispy Kreme bite? It’s a universal winner.The 360 Doughnut Program was about delivering the ultra-satisfyingKrispy Kreme experience to key decision-makers listed in ourbusiness development database. More importantly, it was aboutmaking a fast, emotional and highly gratifying connection thatwould arrest that elusive moment of attention.(See pages 8-9 for a detailed look at this campaign.)This multi-element program consisted of the following ingredients:Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts. (Krispy Kreme came to Portland in2003 and is still a novelty.) We generally delivered one box perperson at companies with multiple target executives. In companieswhere we targeted just one executive, we delivered two boxes tocreate more departmental excitement and to get the conversationmoving. (“Hey, where did these doughnuts come from?”)A chance to actually “own” a piece of Krispy Kreme by winning ashare of Krispy Kreme stock. Of Doughnuts and Dollars The 360 View
  6. 6. 5A box-sized cover card to top each Krispy Kreme box. The cardswere digitally printed on heavy stock with a personalized messageand unique PIN so that each recipient could enter online to see ifs/he had won a share of Krispy Kreme stock. Of course, everytargeted recipient was a winner. (Why not, right?) Other corporatecolleagues could enter the contest to win their own shares of stockby entering online as a “Guest.”A program-dedicated micro Web site that included a page for PIN and“Guest” entry, a registration page and a thank you page. These pageswere directly tied into our database, which provided real-time trackingdata on who visited (based on their unique PIN), who registered andwho received our automatically generated follow-up email.(See pages 9-10 for a detailed look at this campaign.)An option. Since many companies have rules about receiving gifts,we offered executives the option of donating the stock to the Make-A-Wish® Foundation of Oregon, one of Ralston360’s pro-bono clients.Continual improvement. Because the program was real-time, weused digital printing for the box and Web pages for the promotion.This allowed us to immediately leverage prospect feedback to makeongoing minor adjustments to the box, Web site copy and art, theoffer and email creative messaging to improve our communications. Of Doughnuts and DollarsFast follow-up. Everyone got a personal call within 4 working daysof the doughnut delivery. The 360 View
  7. 7. 6 R E S U LT S – T H E F I R S T W AV E We thought that the program would work. We just didn’t know how well. Frankly, this is one of the best-performing, lead-generating programs we have ever run. 20% of recipients registered at the The results: Ralston360 micro site To date, 20% of the targeted executives have registered at the micro site. Most took the stock and some passed it on to Make-A-Wish Oregon. (For comparison’s sake, the industry average conversion rates for programs targeting high-level executives is 1-3%.) We have scheduled meetings with 40% of the targeted companies.The industry average is 2% It is very interesting to note that about half of our meetings were set up with recipients who did not register. For whatever reason, they didn’t take the time to register online. However, the program itself resonated so strongly that they scheduled a meeting anyway. Companies not interested in meeting now were very happy to take our call* and suggested that we call in the future. We made the connection and have a fun connection to use as a reminder when we call again. *OK, there were a couple of C level executives that might have taken a call from Warren Buffet… But not us. A number of the people contacted were willing to provide valuable feedback on the program, in many cases unsolicited. It was this feedback that is helping us to modify the program for future rounds of targeted companies. This feedback-loop also helped to form a bond between us and our prospects. THE PROOF IS IN THE PUDDING (OR DOUGHNUTS) This program put smiles on peoples’ faces (and maybe a couple of cavities in their teeth). It delivered our primary objective of getting meetings to introduce Ralston360 and it quickly put us on the Portland map as a company with fresh ideas, high energy and integrated marketing skill sets. Most importantly, the program made us look smart. (Smart is good.) It also gave me a few great nights of sleep. (An added bonus.) The program isn’t over. We are expanding the successful 360 Of Doughnuts and Dollars Doughnut Program beyond Portland. The 360 View
  8. 8. The Ralston360 Doughnut Program
  9. 9. 8 CARD FRONT D E TA I LA box-sized cover card was createdto top each Krispy Kreme box.The cards were digitally printed onheavy stock with a personalizedmessage and unique PIN so thateach recipient could enter onlineto see if s/he had won a share ofKrispy Kreme stock. Of Doughnuts and Dollars CARD BACK The 360 View
  10. 10. 9 L A N D I N G PA G EA program-dedicated micro Website that included a page for PINand “Guest” entry, a registrationpage and a thank you page. Thesepages were directly tied into ourdatabase, which provided real-timetracking data on who visited(based on their unique PIN),who registered and who receivedour automatically generatedfollow-up email. Of Doughnuts and Dollars R E G I S T R AT I O N F O R M The 360 View
  11. 11. 10KEEPING A GOOD THING GOINGAnd, yes, there’s more. For all of our targeted recipients, our nextstep is to maintain contact frequency, a critical element of B-to-Bmarketing. We can’t just drop off the face of the earth and expectprospects to remember us. Our quarterly follow-up program, whichwill have a lower cost per contact, will leverage music to reach theheart and soul of our prospects. First food, then music.Y O U R N E X T S T E P T O W A R D A G R E AT N I G H T ’ S S L E E P If you need a program as powerful as ours for your business, give me a call. I would love to share my perspective on how you too can create a B-to-B campaign that helps you stand out from the crowdand meet your business objectives. I’ll even sweeten the deal with acouple of Krispy Kremes.I’m making this offer because I am pretty sure that you are not 100%satisfied with all of the elements of your current marketing program.I’m also pretty sure that you recognize that working with people whodo not do the same old, same old makes a heck of a lot of sense.Pleasant dreams. W H AT I S T H E 3 6 0 V I E W ? It’s a series of white papers featuring marketing insights from Ralston360 CEO Peter Levitan. The 360 View provides business and marketing professionals with new perspectives on what makes marketing communications work. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Not in theory. But in the real world, right now. To get a fresh outlook on the business of creating, nurturing and maintaining Delighted Customers, check out Peter’s next 360 View. You’ll find a visionary approach to marketing communications. And a 360º view of how to make it work. Of Doughnuts and Dollars Past 360 Views can be seen at The 360 View
  12. 12. W H O W E H AV E D E L I V E R E D F O R Just a few of our clients in Oregon,WE DELIVER Washington, and Idaho:Ralston360 is dedicated to helping clients ACCENT OPTICAL TECHNOLOGIES –the global leader inexceed marketing objectives. We are dedicated optoelectronic process controlsto getting our clients and their messages BANK OF THE CASCADES —nationally recognizednoticed. We use lots of gray matter to make Northwest bankthis happen. CLEAR CHOICE HEALTH PLANS —Medicare-PlusWe do not have a one-size-fits-all solution, and insurance programrecognize that the most effective program is FARMERS & MERCHANTS STATE BANK —Idaho’s largestbased on the right brand strategy, advertising, community bankdirect response, PR or grass roots marketing. IDAHO POWER —publicly traded regional electric utilityOur mantra is simple: We help our clients MICRON TECHNOLOGY —North America’s largestacquire, stimulate and retain Delighted computer memory supplierCustomers. SAFECO —one of America’s most respected insurers SUNRIVER RESORT —the Northwest’s leading golf and destination resort And some clients from our staff’s deep, dark past: ADIDAS INTERNATIONAL AMEX AT&T COCA-COLAWHY WE DELIVER GENERAL MILLSRalston360 is a full-service marketing companywith 20 years experience in national and local JOHNSON & JOHNSONmarkets. Our management has worked in major NORTHWEST AIRLINESagencies in San Francisco, Seattle, New York, PBSMinneapolis and London. We offer strategicresearch and guidance leading to effective SARA LEEmarketing solutions for print, broadcast, SUZUKIcorporate ID, collateral, direct marketing,trade marketing and the Internet. We make it easy to reach Ralston360: 877 577 5790 toll free
  13. 13. Bend_Portland19797 Village Office Ct.Bend, Oregon 97702877-577-5790fax