OfficeMax aims to provide the best office products at competitive prices for individuals, families and businesses of all sizes. OfficeMax’s strong business-to-business presence depends on a close relationship between their corporate office and OfficeMax sales representatives.
With a massive corporation such as OfficeMax, and a sales team of over 15,000 reps working out of their homes, it’s difficult to keep everyone in the company on target with the latest sales and marketing messages. They needed an email marketing solution to help maintain consistent messaging among their entire sales force.
Ann Stoddard, Global Communications Manager said, "I wanted to take advantage of email marketing by sending out an e-newsletter to our sales force. I wanted a product where I could add images, include trackable links and have flexibility in terms of design. Above all, I wanted it to look really professional." In 2004, Stoddard set out to find the best solution for OfficeMax. "I evaluated a couple of options and liked VerticalResponse’s interface the best. It was cleaner than other competitors’ service and had a lot of options in terms of templates. I wanted to find a worthwhile investment and VerticalResponse has been just that," she said.
OfficeMax first started using VerticalResponse to communicate with sales reps but then the corporate communications team at OfficeMax also began to use VerticalResponse to create email newsletters for 2 company-wide newsletter programs, reaching all 10,000 OfficeMax employees.
Together the email campaigns and company newsletters improve brand awareness and strengthen the OfficeMax identity. "We are able to build a brand identity with our newsletters. With consistent and regular emails, we are able to increase recognition and I am very pleased with the amount of response from our employees and representatives." VerticalResponse has enabled Office Max to effectively and easily communicate with employees while strengthening its brand.
To create a personalized email, OfficeMax starts with a pre-designed template in the product. "Our internal creative department has created a banner so that the newsletter is branded and professional. The nice thing about VerticalResponse is that anyone here can use it," added Stoddard. To help launch these newsletters, Stoddard has been able to easily train her colleagues to use VerticalResponse as well. "You don’t need to be graphic artists or html programmers to achieve finished, polished results," she said.
Sending out three newsletters a week is a large order but with the easy-to-use product and templates, OfficeMax employees are able to easily produce eye-catching emails. "All we worry about is content and it’s amazing that we can create fabulous looking emails without being highly technical," shared Stoddard.
On top of being able to design, create and launch professional looking emails, OfficeMax is able to track their results. "The advantage is the ability to go into the back-end and see which links people click on or which topics interest them. We don’t have the tools to do that internally so VerticalResponse has made email marketing so much better and effective for us," commented Stoddard.
Being able to track who opens and clicks on emails has helped OfficeMax stay on top of the training that sales representatives receive. Stoddard noted, "we are able to pull eports of who has opened or clicked on the emails and we work with sales managers to determine which representatives are staying informed. The newsletters are full of important offers and information that the sales force needs to know to effectively communicate with their customers."
Then, by tracking the click-through rates of each newsletter, OfficeMax is able to determine how to piece together the offers and content in the emails. "We know that certain positioning or headlines or messages work and we know what doesn’t work. Reporting within the product gives us a gauge of how we are doing and it’s a great feature," said Stoddard.
Since OfficeMax uses VerticalResponse to reach out to over 10,000 people through three weekly newsletters, it has come to heavily rely on VerticalResponse for its internal communication. Stoddard stated, "we can count on VerticalResponse for two things: support and product reliability. Since we use this product every week, we are glad to have access to a helpful support team and a reliable product. We’ve never had an 'oops' moment, which is great since we use it all the time."
A long-time customer and frequent user, OfficeMax understands the importance of email marketing. Stoddard added, "I know past employees from OfficeMax have gone on to use VerticalResponse at other companies and I can’t say enough about VerticalResponse. We will be customers for a very long time."