Case Study: Oregon Zoo Direct Mail

March 13, 2014

When it comes to acquisition and lapsed mail, the typical strategic approach is to define a control package, then test elements of the package over time to deliver incremental improvements. When there’s a 300 pound baby in the picture, it calls for something a little different.

In Portland, Oregon, there’s almost nothing that beats the excitement of an addition to its beloved Oregon Zoo elephant herd. Little Lily’s arrival in the world just before the zoo’s 2013 spring membership campaign provided the opportunity to go big and get creative, capitalizing on community buzz and media attention.

The approach: A baby announcement. Whimsical in color and font, centered around images of young Lily.

Lily OE Reverse

Lily OE Front

Winning techniques from previous packages were implemented, among them, a $10 discount offer and a free window decal for supporters to sport on their car windows – a proud tradition for zoo members.

The creative focus of the letter was the story of Lily’s birth and the magic of her early days with her family. It was painted with a powerful emotional “insider” focus, interspersed with benefit-driven selling points and punctuated with proven, mission-based conservation messaging to spread the word about the wider work of the zoo.

This bold combination of strategy and creativity paid off. Acquisition results clocked in at 1.2%. Incredibly, lapsed results clocked in at 4%, delivering 4,500 former members back to the ranks of zoo supporters – an increase of 122% over the previous year. The campaign realized more than 80% net revenue, and netted more than $200,000 greater than the previous top performer.

Now that’s the way to announce the birth of a brand new baby!

And sure, we realize that most organizations don’t have the advantage of irresistible baby animals, but every organization has something special, so keep your ears and eyes peeled for opportunity, and when you find it, be willing to trumpet it loudy.

Find the link to the full package here.

Lily decal