8 B2B Direct Marketing Response Examples that Drive ROI

Jaycen Thorgeirson
Founder & Chief Storyteller
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If you need to achieve real business outcomes, such as booking a meeting or landing a big opportunity, expensive tech stacks and pretty ads aren't going to cut it. You need a high-impact B2B Direct Marketing Response program. (Not sure of the difference between direct response marketing or brand advertising? Read this.)

Last week, we walked through the steps you need to reach C-suite executives with your direct response marketing.

Now, let's check out 8 real-life examples of B2B direct marketing response campaigns that drove ROI and built brand intimacy.

Image by gumgum

Super Marketing for Your Super Prospects

GumGum, an applied computer vision company, wanted to win over T-mobile. The CMO researched the buying committee, starting with the executive leadership team, and discovered the previous T-Mobile CEO is a huge fan of Batman. 

Knowing this, they created an entire comic book, T-Man, and Gums, to show T-mobile what a super partnership they could have. GumGum's editors, writers, illustrators, and letters created a delightful, colorful story and shipped 100 copies to T-mobile and its agencies of record.

They won the account and likely made one hundred friends. Because T-mobile is such a high-profile account, the initial expenditure on the comic is dwarfed by the benefit of a lifetime relationship. This just goes to show that if you have a valuable audience, take the time to get to know them and then show up in a highly relevant way and beyond what they expect.

Photo by LiamThinks

"Made You Look"

Intridea, a web products, and services company, wanted to get the attention of the ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. Their ultimate goal was a meeting, but they knew they had to go big.

Intridea bought a billboard across from Ogilvy's Manhattan office. The billboard read simply, "Ogle this, Ogilvy," with a URL that led to a unique, personalized landing page. This was pretty simple, too, with some funny GIFs and a playful message: Made You Look.

They wanted a meeting, and they got it… With the Ogilvy New York CEO and the OgilvyOne managing director, two of the highest-level decision-makers in the company.

Image by DemandBase

Segmentize to Maximize 

DocuSign had over 450 enterprise accounts that they wanted to win over, all in different stages of the buying process. You might think that volume is too high for a B2B direct marketing response campaign that feels personalized and relevant, but not with their system.

First, they created a display ad campaign that showed different messaging depending on the prospect's stage in the buying process. The display ad campaign led to their website, which showed six industry-specific sets of images and copy depending on what was most relevant to the prospect.

By segmenting their prospects, they made their messaging personal and relevant, running a B2B direct marketing response campaign that resulted in a 22% increase in their sales pipeline.

The One-Two Punch

O2 is an ICT service provider based in the UK with a lot of competition. They need to reach executives with little time and a lot of options. 

To be as relevant and specific as possible for their perfect prospects, O2 created individual reports for each target organization showing how much the company would save and earn in revenue if they partnered with O2 for their ICT service. 

They mailed the reports to over 2,000 employees at each prospect organization, including c-suite execs and board members. Following the report delivery, sales reps followed up to schedule a face-to-face meeting. This one-two punch of information and follow-up is highly effective in B2B direct marketing. 

In O2's case, they exceeded their pipeline targets by over 300%. This is what sales and marketing alignment needs to look like when going after your key target accounts. 

Caffeine Inducing Responsiveness

Qualtrix is a digital customer experience software that helps track and improve conversions. They knew they needed to reach C-suite decision-makers, but those execs are not the ones who end up using Qualtrix in their jobs every day. Because of this, Qualtrix also wanted to reach the influencers in marketing operations and IT & Security, who are most concerned with marketing data.

They sent a door opening package to C-suite execs, encouraging them to download a 10-step Guide to Healthy Data Management guide while also offering them a box of high-quality coffee to "give their data a jolt." 

Simultaneously, they sent influencers in Marketing and IT a postcard with a single-serving packet of coffee offering an analysis of their customer database. This high-impact B2B direct mail campaign brought them front-of-mind at multiple levels of the organization. Now, that's what orchestrating success should look like! 

Photo by Business Insider

Redeem Your Bobblehead

Salesforce wanted to draw in Directors of Marketing and above-level executives to their conference, Dreamforce. 

Decision-makers are intensely busy at that level of an organization and receive many invitations to industry conferences. They needed something to instantly get their attention and encourage attendance.

So, Salesforce found a custom bobblehead maker on Etsy and gave them the LinkedIn profile photos of the Directors and C-suite execs they most wanted at Dreamforce. 

Salesforce sent a pic of each exec's bobblehead to them and invited them to pick it up at the Dreamforce conference! If someone couldn't attend the conference, they could still pick up their bobblehead… after a meeting with a Salesforce rep.

31% of bobble-headed prospects scheduled a meeting, and the campaign led to increased attendance at the Dreamforce conference. Who said B2B marketing isn't personal? 

Step-by-step to the C-suite

SOMAmetrics helped one of their clients reach their perfect prospects with a multi-step B2B direct mail campaign that ensured each stage was personalized and highly relevant. Their client's primary problem was that their product was being confused by C-suite executives with project management software, which they already had.

After significant research into their client's prospects, SOMAmetrics created a white paper discussing the challenges CEOs face and how their client's product would provide the solution: identify bottlenecks in their organization to complete their projects faster and reach out their goals. 

They followed up with a personalized series of vlogs, blogs, and case studies delivered in a nurture email campaign. Then, they targeted the CEOs with a sales email series and a direct ask for a meeting. In the first 60 days, this campaign earned 278% ROI in new accounts.

A Winning Combination

BillingTree was sending direct mail, but they didn't see a significant return on their investment. They asked us to help with their outreach efforts. 

We went to work building strategic creative that would be unignorable and incite recipients to act. 

100 rugged, fully branded, and secured cases were sent to their most valuable prospects. The exterior of the case and an accompanying personalized notecard explained that the contents were "worth thousands ."The catch? We didn't include the combination. The only way in was to reach out by scanning the quick response (QR). 

These prospects were significant individuals, often C-Level executives. By having them scan the code, we knew we had their attention at that moment. This intel was passed onto the sales representative to cue the follow-up effort. 

On receipt of the code to unlock the case, we built in a second surprise. Opening the case revealed a video message which auto-plays on opening. The video message contained a purpose-built animated explainer to tell the story of how BillingTree's solution specifically could save them thousands of dollars. 

If they were willing to learn more and book a meeting, they could redeem the gift card contained in the case. 

This campaign has achieved over 700% ROI and has won multiple awards in B2B Marketing competitions and the USPS. You can read more about it here.

More Direct Marketing Response Examples

Our B2B Growth and Enterprise customers have seen great success with direct marketing response campaigns. You can see those same results by focusing on your perfect prospects and creating a relevant, personalized, and high-value campaign.

For more inspiration, read these additional stories:

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