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Commentary & Analysis

Disney Destinations Cuts Costs and Improves Results With Customized Sales Collateral

Collateral Management &

By WhatTheyThink Guest Contributor
Published: January 23, 2008

Collateral Management & Fulfillment/Personalized Collateral

How do you increase your sales and lower your costs simultaneously? In this month’s PODi Best Practice case study we’ll show you how Disney worked with RI Communications Group to do just that for its B2B events business. The following award winning case study shows how combining relevant marketing with digital printing technology led to more than doubling response and conversion rates while decreasing printing and storage costs by 50%. Learn more from the leaders as this year’s award winners present their case studies at the PODi AppForum, Jan. 28-30 in Las Vegas (www.podiforum.org)

Disney Destinations wanted to revamp the sales collateral it uses for business-to-business prospects interested in booking an event at one of Disney’s five resort destinations. Instead of a box of information about every possible option, prospects now receive a full-color information booklet that contains only information relevant to their events. Bookings are up, prospects are happy to get just what they need, and printing and storage costs for collateral were cut in half.

Program Objectives

  • Create customizable sales collateral for event prospects
  • Eliminate stock sales collateral
  • Make sales collateral more specific to the information needs of individual prospects

Significant Results Reported by User

  • More than doubled response and conversion rates
  • Cut printing and storage costs by 50%

Description

Holly Harrington, Group and Convention Marketing Director for Disney Destinations, analyzed the way the company was handling its sales follow-up for marketing meeting and hotel services at the resort to businesses and realized that it needed to change its sales collateral process. When someone contacted the company to ask for information about the possibility of booking an event at one of Disney’s five resort properties, the staff sent“a box of pamphlets.”

Not unlike its competitors, Disney Destinations was sending out a great deal of information to every event or meeting prospect, much of which did not apply to the individual prospect. The cost of storing and printing the materials was high and if any details changed, the materials had to be discarded and re-printed. It was clear to Harrington that a new, more effective approach was called for. “We want to be a cut above the competition.”

The company was also not doing any follow-up with prospects although if someone called after receiving the materials, a sales person would talk with them. Harrington says that the department knew it had to develop a comprehensive strategy for dealing with prospects.

Having worked with RI Communications Group (formerly Royal Impressions) on a few projects before, including the customer Welcome mailer project that won a 2006 Best Practices award, Harrington was comfortable outlining the situation and asking for a solution. She indicated that the manager of Disney Destinations already had a vision for a strategy and had created a mock-up of a personalized brochure and knew then that they could use the same approach as used on the Welcome mailer and so work on the plan began.

Together the companies worked out a plan that would allow the Disney event sales team to customize materials to each person who called or inquired via the Website for more information. Today, each prospect receives a full-color, 24-page booklet tailored to answer their questions and give them all the information they need to make a decision, including the options that are appropriate for the type of event they wish to have. People who ask about booking a small meeting, for example, receive information only about services related to smaller meetings and not larger conference facilities.

To get the project started, Harrington and her team used contact information for dormant prospects—people who had asked for information but who had not booked an event. They also included in this prospect group information on people who had previously booked an event but had not booked another in the previous 12 months.

Customized booklets were created and printed by RI Communications Group and were mailed. The prospects reacted very positively, Harrington said—so positively that they have continued the program and now mail customized booklets to 25 to 50 prospects a week and no longer use static sales collateral. Response rates—the number of people who request information via the Internet or contact the Advanced Sales Team via phone—and conversion rates—the number of people who inquire who later book—have more than doubled. Storage and printing costs have been cut in half. If details need to change, there is no need to throw away material because nothing is printed in advance.

Harrington added, “Our Advanced Sales Team interacts with our clients and gathers the information on the meeting or convention they are planning. The files are sent twice a week to RI Communications Group where they are printed and mailed to the clients within 72 hours.”

The information in each booklet is drawn from a database and the selection of copy and images is based on the data collected by the team about the prospect. Much of this detail is printed in the booklet, such as meeting size, dates of the meeting, company type, and resort needs. The booklet also includes recommended resorts, events occurring during the selected time, and options.

The booklet is 100% variable with 3,000 combinations of text and images. Throughout the piece, the prospect’s company and meeting name are used, as well as that of the client who requested the profile.

Marketing initiatives, such as e-mail campaigns that encourage recipients to request a profile, have been launched and have educated new clients on Disney’s offerings. Whenever the company does an e-mail campaign, the ?e-mail includes a link to a personalized URL. Once the prospect fills out the necessary information, the system generates a customized profile. Once the client receives the profile and decides that they are ready to book, a Sales Manager takes over the account.

Disney has also been following up with prospects who received a customized brochure and who did not respond or call to book an event. Having access to the information the prospect provided for the creation of the customized brochure makes it easier for the sales person to talk with them about what they want to do.

In addition, a team on the sales staff contacts past clients to find out what their needs are and if they have any events coming up. Once the clients indicate they interested in receiving more information, the team sends the customized profile to the prospective client. Then, once the client decides they are ready to book, a Sales Manager steps in. The piece is specifically for those clients who are interested and need more information and are in the process of selecting a venue for their event or convention.

Overall, Harrington says the new sales strategy is serving the company well. “Meeting and event planners hear about us through different avenues. We send out email campaigns specifically targeting event and meeting planners and those have the appropriate call to action. We also have a dedicated team that contacts our prior accounts that have not booked with us in a while and make sure we have the up-to-date information; so in case a new meeting planner has come in, they are aware of what we have to offer.”

Harrington adds that they track response per campaign and the high response rates achieved in the initial phases have continued.

Going Forward

Once the initial phase of the new strategy was completed, the company began the process of renting e-mail lists and finding contacts to reach out to prospects who have not initiated contact. If someone responds to a prospecting e-mail by visiting a personalized URL they receive a customized brochure and the team follows up later, if necessary. Working with RI Communications Group, Disney Destinations is also working on more customized communications, including exploring the possibility of creating a What’s New mailer.

This application won PODi’s 2007 Best Practices in Digital Print Award in the Business-to-Business Category. “We are honored to have received this prestigious award for a third time; it brings us strong recognition within the industry and validates the work that we do,” said Christopher DeSantis, President of RI Communications Group. “As a result of our continued success together, Disney has become a huge proponent of variable data and relevant marketing.”

 

 

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