Maintenance and/or Engineering Equipment Managers at Potato
Processing Plants throughout the US. We identified 150 plants in the US that process
potatoes for chips, french fries, and other food products.
of Product Advertised:
Industrial Centrifuges and Systems for extracting
starch from the wash water used in potato processing plants.
Most Important Marketing Communication Objective:
to convince an old, stale (pardon the pun) industry to "stop doing it the
way it has always been done" and to warm up to a totally new, and somewhat
radical, production concept.
the potato processing industry, starch is an unwanted by-product of the dicing
/ slicing operations. The starch has to be extracted from the wash water and disposed
of at a cost to the plant. The residual starch that isn't captured causes problems
with machinery, increases the cost of wastewater treatment, etc. Scrap potato
peels and pieces also cause similar problems. These problems have always existed
in this industry and they are well-accepted. The audience is basically a hard-working,
blue jean bunch that doesn't like change. So imagine trying to tell this group
that the starch they hate so much can be sold for a profit, and that the goal
shouldn't be to make as little of it as possible, but rather, to make as much
of it as possible and to capture it (i.e. with a centrifuge… which we just happen
to sell). After they stop laughing, then we can tell them that they can create
a substantial profit increase for their plant, but that they have to adopt a whole
new production mentality and change the entire production line. No problem, right?
an "its way too good to be true" story to tell, and an "I don't
believe anything and I don't like change" audience, we determined that anything
that even remotely looked like "slick advertising" may not be considered.
Thus, we used a no-frills, logical, white paper and case study type approach to
get right to issue. We sent the designer on vacation, and prepared an ultra-simple,
low-cost piece in-house that used bold and colored text to make key points stand
out in an instant, and we incorporated obviously non-professional (but "very
real") photos to illustrate the story. This simple mailer contained only
a cover letter (A) and a two-page write-up (B) We spoke in the audience's language,
we backed up our claims with facts, we offered a case study booklet (C - this
was typically emailed as a PDF) for additional information, and we enticed them
with a money back guarantee. One key to the project was the list, which we developed internally. Another key to the project was the follow up calls we made on the
client's behalf to encourage the recipients to take action.
wasn't an awesome print piece, it's creative was in its simplicity, and it was
one of the most least expensive projects we have ever done… but the results were
absolutely amazing! Over 50% of the list (79 of 150 plants) requested additional
information. Capital equipment has a slow sales cycle time, especially in the
potato industry, but this initial marketing effort generated 10 face-to-face meetings
across the US (this is 7% of the total list). 5 on-site tests were conducted and
3 plants purchased centrifuge systems for a total of $800,000! 2 more systems
are expected to close in the near future for another $450,000, and the
client is estimating that this effort will generate another $10,000,000 over the
next 3 years as plants work the cost of the system into their annual budgets.
The client stated that they heard over and over again, "…you really caught
my attention with that mailer you sent out…". The client stated, "these
are not easy sells by any means, we still have to work for them, but the mailer
and the targeted marketing approach did exactly what we wanted it to do… catch
the attention of a tough-to-please audience and get them interested… it is
obvious from the results that it worked exceptionally well.".