Case Studies

Changing the Channel - Migrate Customers from Direct Mail to Email

50% reduction in direct mail expenses
80% of customers on file now include email


A division of an international organization faced historic changes to their customer base in the automotive service sector. Significant dealership closings combined with a downturn in the economy caused many of the body shop customers they supported to disappear from the market.

Our client was looking for a way to migrate from a purely direct mail communication model to a multi-channel approach, relying on email to do the heavy lifting. The communication process used for managing these relationships through direct mail was slow, labor intensive and costly, with a large amount of waste in the form of returned mail costs due to customer data that was not up to date. The client saw the potential speed and cost saving benefits of using email and web technologies to communicate with their customers, so they set a goal to be paperless by the year 2013.

The challenge in meeting this goal was the acquisition and maintenance of accurate contact information from their customers and getting them to “opt-in” for email communications. This was further complicated by the fact that they sell to their customers through a network of 1,200 distributors and have limited access to contact information, which made it difficult to manage the on-going updates.


The Phoenix team used their extensive knowledge of this industry to craft a campaign that would achieve the client’s goals. We crafted a multi-channeled approach to address the contact information issues and a program to migrate customers out of direct mail and into email-only communications.

A multi-channel campaign composed of variable data direct mail, email and a web registration process was created with an incentive to those that responded within a specific time period. Responses were collected via a BRC reply card and a web contact form using a pURL to link to the respondent’s data. This information was collected in a single database that became the central source for customers to manage their contact information and opt-in for email communications. Responses to the campaign required little human contact due to the web technology used and slashed the response time cycle to less than a week.

The campaign had a 42% response. The size of the original email contact list has tripled and all emails now meet the CAN-SPAM requirements for opt-in. Over 3,000 address records have been updated and the first-class mailing campaign has helped in cleansing the data list to remove over 1,500 records that are no longer in business.

The emails that replaced the historic direct mail program achieved an average 35% open rate and 55% click-through rate. This newly created channel of communication has opened many possibilities for the organization to market its products to end users, and the on-going use of this campaign has acquired emails for 80% of their customers.

A Single Source for a New Magazine

Exceeded client expectation for quality and cost
Increased membership engagement
10% increase in membership renewal rates


A nationally recognized attraction determined that converting its current member newsletter into a quarterly magazine format would be a more effective member communication platform, but this daunting task raised concerns. Key considerations included developing exciting and relevant content as well as improving efficiency, graphic design and print quality, accountability, and cost-effectiveness — all while increasing consumer engagement. Compound that with managing the various vendors needed for outsourcing publication content development and project management, and you can understand their concerns. This raised the question: Will the cost savings of outsourcing offset the internal resources needed to manage multiple vendors?


They found a solution to all of their concerns at Phoenix Innovate. We provided the advantage of leveraging the core disciplines under one roof:

  • consultation
  • project management
  • creative, photography
  • writing
  • production
  • print
  • mail

The response was overwhelmingly positive. The client found that this approach exceeded their expectations for both service and cost savings. The new publication contained fun and interesting content, creating a deeper connection with members while educating them on the organization they support.

The organization also benefited by developing a more engaged membership that was educated about the value of their membership. This paid financial dividends by achieving a 10% increase in their membership renewal rate.

Annual Fund Raising Campaign with a Personal Appeal

400% increase in ROI
Increased response rates up to 38%


The goals were to:

  • Increase the total amount contributed.
  • Spend the same or less money than the historical budget.
  • Evolve their approach to use new communication channels.
  • Engage a younger demographic.
  • Create a stronger connection with their audience.
  • Achieve these goals during the great recession.

The historical approach to communications was homogeneous, with a uniform message sent to all recipients.


Phoenix evolved this approach to create multiple individualized messages based on the audience segment. We used data analytics to identify patterns and relationships within the organization’s data to segment the audience and significantly increase the effectiveness of the messaging. We reshaped the nature and focus of the messaging from organization-centric to donor-centric, connecting the recipient to the personal benefit of their contribution.

We developed a multi-channel communications strategy for the campaign, adding email, web and social media. Our work increased the number of communication opportunities from one to at least four per recipient and we added channels that appealed to a wider and younger demographic. Contributions could now be made with greater flexibility.

By better allocating economic resources, we were able to add specialized content, such as video, that developed a deeper connection and allowed for easy sharing through social media.

The 38% response segment provided proof that when an organization is able to connect to its audience with specifically targeted and relevant content, passion to participate is activated.

Direct Mail Campaign with Increased Response

Doubled response rate over previous year’s campaign


Increase the response rate over the previous year’s promotion.


The client sells a product to physicians for distribution to their patients. Phoenix researched the audience and learned how marketers typically appeal to them. We knew we needed something unique that would capture the attention of the office managers enough to open the mailed appeal. We incorporated creative use of color and graphic elements that were vibrant and unique, allowing our mail piece to stand out from the rest. Our strategy doubled the response rate over the previous year, from 7.5% to 15%. A great success for our client!

Qualified Lead Generation Incentive Campaign

Over $500,000 in new sales potential generated


An international OEM has eight regions with over 100 employees across the U.S. that regularly interact with dealership service managers. The OEM and our client have a shared goal to provide the latest service equipment to dealers so they can offer high quality, cost effective services to consumers. To this end, they were looking for a new and innovative way to motivate OEM regional business centers to provide qualified leads. These business centers had never participated in a campaign of this type and their involvement would create a new, untapped business development channel.


Phoenix developed a contest that encouraged regional business centers to submit leads from dealerships. We built a website to help facilitate and manage the leads and the contest. The online solution provided a user-friendly avenue for the business centers to enter leads, as well as the perfect tool for our client to view, measure and act on the leads. To increase the level of participation, prize incentives were offered to the regions capturing and submitting the most leads. A self-registration process was implemented to eliminate the need to manage access. To add to the competitive spirit, a virtual graphical chart was developed to display real-time results to contestants so they could see their standings compared to the other business center regions as they added leads.

Membership Acquisition

308% increase in ROI (from 2.5 times to 7.7 times ROI)
Cost per member acquisition reduced from $25.00 to $10.23 (59% decrease)


Improve membership acquisition performance and reduce the cost of application processing while cutting or reducing the client historical budget costs.


By applying data analytics and segmentation strategies on historical information assets, we gleaned findings that allowed us to build strategies focused on the highest performing audience segments. One such strategy allows us to diversify a single broadcast message and provide relevant content to targeted, multi-segmented audiences based on their interests. In addition, we field-tested various direct mail formats to measure response and discover the most effective methodology.

Our analysis provides insight needed to implement practical and cost effective solutions for targeting the most receptive audience segments, reducing direct mail costs and driving more membership applications to the website.

Membership Renewal

33% reduction of direct mail costs
20% reduction in cost of membership application processing


Migrate renewal notifications from direct mail to email and drive membership applications to their website while retaining or improving renewal rates with no additional costs.


Using our experience and proven strategies, we created a model that incorporates multiple communication channels, including direct mail, email and web, allowing each member to select his or her preferred communication channel throughout the renewal cycle. Combining this methodology with targeted messaging, diversified by audience segments, gives us the ability to enhance response rates. These online processes also significantly reduce member application form processing time and costs, as staff is no longer needed to manually update the information. The model routinely exceeds the client’s expectations, reducing overall costs and increasing renewals by 10%.

This program is ongoing. Based on what we learn from each cycle, we test and implement new strategies to enhance response rates and drive down overall costs.

Member Communications/Retention

Click thru rates increased 100%
Website traffic increased 100%
Increased understanding of membership benefits by 1,000%
Increased renewal rate by 10%


Create a deeper bond and affinity between members and the organization that establishes a higher perceived value of membership resulting in greater motivation to renew.


Phoenix overhauled a poorly performing email program and expanded a single broadcast message into multiple individually targeted messages for each member segment, including relevant content for each. We reshaped the nature and focus of the messaging from organization-centric to member-centric, emphasizing member experience and value. Through analysis of historical email viewer activity, we ascertained that gaps existed in the level of understanding that members had about their benefits. From this data, we developed ideas to create a program educating and engaging members more effectively, producing these positive results.

Membership Fulfillment

Reduction in time for members to receive member kits by over 300%
Greatly reduced call center activity


Reducing the overall time between membership application and member kit delivery from seven weeks to two weeks.


Members historically would not receive any communication or their membership cards until the member kit arrived in the mail, typically seven weeks later. This process left members with an inaccurate impression that benefits were not accessible until their credentials arrived. Phoenix created an automated system to communicate with applicants within a week of their application, allowing members to immediately utilize their membership benefits. Our technology team also implemented a process that allowed our client to shrink the member kit production and delivery time to within two weeks after application. One major benefit of this process was a significant reduction in call center activity and inquiries about membership status.

OEM New Vehicle Launch

10,000 entries generated
2,500 "tell a friend" emails
100 new vehicle sales within 90 days


To generate interest in a new vehicle launch that would engage consumers and spread awareness through word of mouth.


Phoenix Innovate created a sweepstakes contest asking industry magazine readers to describe the new vehicle in seven words or less for a chance to win an all-expense-paid trip to New York City. Readers were encouraged to get creative and have fun with the contest. To ease entry, we developed a microsite, enabling readers to submit their entries online, vote for the winner and tell friends about the contest. Through the microsite, we were able to track entrants and provide leads to the OEM’s dealership leads system. Phoenix also developed the rules and handled the prize acquisition and fulfillment.

The contest resulted in over 10,000 quality entries and over 2,500 "tell a friend" emails. From these leads, our client closed over 100 vehicle sales within 90 days following the contest.

Re-branding and Website Redesign

Increased and sustained website traffic


A manufacturer of instrumentation systems for the RV, PRV, boat, motorcycle, truck and military markets pride themselves in creating solutions that are engineered and built with the enthusiast’s experience firmly in mind. They wanted to position their blended offerings in a very unique way within each vertical they serve. They realized their current website did not support the depth of their enhanced value proposition.


Phoenix was enlisted to craft more accurate, focused messaging and present it to the market through a completely redesigned website. We incorporated the latest web technologies to enhance the user experience and more effectively position the company as a forward thinking solutions provider. Audio and animation were incorporated into the web interface resembling a vehicle dashboard, demonstrating instrumentation solutions engineered from a user perspective. Our services included developing the new branding message and creating a site experience to enhance and communicate the real value offered.

The launch of the re-branded site was coordinated with a major trade show. Site traffic improved considerably and sustained higher levels of traffic over the previous site. Our innovative approach met the timeline requirements within budget and provided program management, design and consultation that exceeded client expectations.

Cost vs. Quality

Client won best of show award while saving $20,000


To take a client’s previously approved annual report design concept, along with precise paper specifications, and produce it at a cost savings.


Phoenix Innovate was able to locate an alternative paper stock that was equal to the look and quality of the original stock specified. Phoenix also recommended a slightly smaller finished size for the piece that easily accommodated the existing design, but maximized the production efficiencies.

"Walsh College has a long-standing relationship with Phoenix Innovate for exactly this reason. They continue to find ways to produce stellar work, provide excellent service and meet our budget restraints. And this is paramount for our organization, as we are no different than any other business—we are tasked with sustaining or exceeding a level of quality whilst containing costs."

- John W. Lichtenberg
Vice President, Chief Marketing and Enrollment Management Officer
Walsh College

Innovative Proofing Methodology

Saved 90% of costs to print and mail including postage
Prevented a HIPAA violation


Due to strict HIPAA laws, we have specific instructions not to cleanse or manipulate the data we receive from our client, a medical insurance administrator, for their mailings. This restriction prevents us from performing quality control measures to the data that we would normally undertake to ensure quality aspects of the data and mailing requirements.


We created and employed an innovative proofing methodology that identified a potential error in the data we were provided. We asked our client to take another look at their data. They discovered that the data flaw discovered by Phoenix Innovate was quite significant. It amounted to a savings of about 90% in print costs, mailing service costs and postage costs. Perhaps even more importantly, it helped prevent a HIPAA violation!

Data Hygiene

Reduced list size by 50%, lowering the cost of print, mail and postage for this and all future mailings


Our client, a religious based organization, had used the same mail service provider for many years. We were given the opportunity to perform mailing services for their annual Christmas card mailing.


As part of our normal process we asked the client to allow us to analyze their database and provide an objective data integrity assessment. Through data hygiene processes, Phoenix Innovate removed 65,000 invalid records from their list. This enabled them to cut their printing, mail service and postage costs in half and allowed them to redirect those dollars into other marketing efforts—money that would otherwise have been wasted. They didn’t realize that their previous vendor was not properly performing these data hygiene functions for them.

Create an Email Prospect/Customer List from Scratch

Over 500,000 email group members in less than 2 years
Increased customer per visit spend from $150 to $450


A regional auto service retailer wanted to develop email relationships with its best customers and legitimate prospects based on personal connections and brand loyalty.


Phoenix Innovate created a preferred customer campaign to connect our client with their audience using email. Our solution implemented custom technology that integrated the client’s point of sale system to our variable email engine, which allowed us to generate custom emails containing service orders, estimates and receipts. These transaction emails allowed us to communicate the advantages of becoming a member and gain a valid opt-in program that meets CAN-SPAM requirements for on-going email communications. The sign up process also offered members an opportunity to personalize the content of their emails to receive only the information relevant to them.

The results of Phoenix Innovate’s program greatly exceeded the client’s expectations. The size of the email list has grown to over 500,000 members, while redemption of exclusive discounts has increased by 300%.

Reduce Program Fulfillment Cost and Acquire Contact Information

72% response rate
$144,000 annual savings


A division of an international organization faced historic changes to their customer base in the automotive service sector. Significant dealership closings combined with a downturn in the economy caused many of the body shop customers they supported to disappear from the market.

Our client needed a way to understand the registration and update status of specification cabinets placed with customers. Understanding the level of use of these cabinets was difficult because a network of 1,200 distributors installed them. Historically the process of acquiring the registration information and managing it was expensive, labor intensive and slow, with a six-month average cycle of response time.


The Phoenix Innovate team worked quickly to gain an understanding of the challenges facing our client and the opportunities that existed to achieve their goals. We crafted a multipronged strategy to address specification cabinet registration and fulfillment along with contact information updates simultaneously.

A direct mail pURL campaign was created to manage the 6,000 product specification units used in the field by the client’s customers. Historically, unit updates were automatically mailed to all customer contacts in the organization’s database. They rarely received requests to stop mailing the unit updates and only undeliverable mail was removed from the database. By using a customer specific registration process that allowed customers to provide their contact information and status of their unit, the campaign was able to increase response rates. Not only did this yield significant savings in the cost of producing and distributing the units to customers that no longer required updates, it also increased the amount of accurate contact information and accumulated email opt-ins. Responses to the campaign required little human contact due to the web technology employed and slashed the response time cycle from six months to less than two weeks.

The results of Phoenix Innovate’s programs have been exciting. Over 3,000 contact information records have been updated and the campaign has helped in cleansing the customer list by removing over 1,500 companies that are no longer in business.

The registration campaign had a 72% response rate, 45% of respondents updated their contact information while 50% provided an email address. Even more importantly, the program has identified 448 customers and 128 non-responders that do not need unit updates, which saved our client $144,000 annually.