Variable Data Helps Drive Customer Retention
The Guardian Club is a membership organization that provides a wide variety of automotive and travel services. Though it is a national organization with centralized marketing initiatives, each regional office has a budget for area-specific outreach. The director in our region, which contains 12 branch locations, wanted to market heavily to new members. She explained that the first year of membership is critical to establishing long-term relationships, and believed that members would be more likely to renew if they felt the company was thinking of them, and were informed of the many services and benefits available.
Since Guardian was marketing to recently enrolled members, we knew that their data would be the key to their campaign. We decided on a sophisticated, highly variable direct mail campaign in which the member would receive one mailing per month for seven consecutive months. Each mailer included a personalized welcome letter, brochure, self-mailer, and insert with an incentive designed to track responses. One of the inserts offered a referral bonus to members, and a discount on annual membership to the referral. One self-mailer, which featured an invitation to call Guardian’s auto insurance brokers for a free review of the member’s current policy, used a sophisticated variable-print technique to divide leads equally among the agents in a specific location. In addition to customer retention, the campaign served as a cross-sell/upsell opportunity.
The mailers were sent to 5,600 people. The referral program had a response rate of just over 2.5%, yielding 144 new members in 9 months. The insurance mailer garnered 1,568 calls, a response rate of 28%. Over a 12-month period, attrition was 50% lower among the 5,600 people targeted in the campaign than the general membership base. The campaign was extremely cost effective and required only a ½% increase in annual membership to be paid for in full, which the 144 new members easily covered.