List Management, Variable Data Printing, and PURL

Our Valvoline case study shows the results of using personalized URLs (PURLs), list management, and variable data printing solutions with direct mail marketing.

The Company

Valvoline, a division of Ashland Inc., serves more than 100 countries worldwide and is a leading worldwide marketer, distributor and producer of quality branded automotive and industrial products and services. Valvoline is one of the largest producers of motor oil in the United States. Valvoline World Headquarters are in Lexington, Kentucky. In North America, Valvoline is divided into two main sections; the “Do It For Me” (DIFM) business, which includes over 800 company and franchise Valvoline Instant Oil Change locations, and “Do It Yourself” (DIY) business, which includes mostly marketing automotive related products and non-franchise Valvoline Express Care locations.

The Project

Valvoline has always done a very good job marketing to their Do It For Me (DFIM) franchises because they collect information into a customer relationship management system at each of the Valvoline Instant Oil Change facilities. Valvoline recognized that they failed in marketing to their largest growing market segment, the Do it Yourselfers (DIYers), mainly because they never had a way to target these specific individuals. Valvoline expressed that they wanted to find and engage with English and Hispanic DIYers that were specifically located around O’Reilly Auto Parts stores across the US. Additionally, Valvoline indicated that there was a need to gather odometer information from their loyal DIYers as well as any prospective DIYers so that they could target these DIYers with specific Valvoline products.

The Solution

United Direct Solutions was able to research and provide a list of English and Hispanic DIYers located near each of the O’Reilly Auto Parts stores across the US. After gathering this list, United Direct Solutions presented the idea of utilizing variable data printing to create a postcard that contained a personalized URL (PURL). The PURL lead to a survey so that Valvoline collected the information from the customers. This personalized postcard was printed in English or Spanish based on the customer, and also contained two unique incentives to respond to the mailing. One incentive was a free Valvoline baseball cap if customer responded online, and second incentive was a coupon (with a trackable UPC code) for a free fuel injector cleaner if the coupon was redeemed at any of the O’Reilly Auto Parts stores.

variable data printing United Direct Solutions
The Results

There were a total of 330,471 postcards mailed. The PURL generated a response rate of 6.1% or 20,158 responses. The in-store coupon redemptions totaled 7.9% or 26,107 responses.

Utilizing the PURL technology, Valvoline was able to view the success of the campaign and view the responses in real-time. United Direct Solutions completed the fulfillment for all of the baseball hats to each of the responders, shipping them within 24 hours of the online response.

With the odometer data that was collected from the responders, Valvoline presented specific Valvoline products to each responder, personalizing it for their benefit. The responders received trackable coupons designed for them, and all yielded high in-store response.

Additionally, this PURL marketing effort solidified the marketing relationship between Valvoline and O’Reilly Auto Parts, because Valvoline shared responder data with O’Reilly Auto parts to cultivate customer relationships.

Recommendation from Valvoline

“We came back from the O’Reilly National Managers Conference in Nashville this past weekend and Valvoline won Marketing Vendor of the Year Award for our efforts to drive sales in a mature category — specific call-outs were the DIY PURL marketing efforts around NextGen and our Hispanic Marketing execution. Valvoline couldn’t have won it without the guidance and unique solutions presented from you and your team – thank you very much Chase! United Direct Solutions is a best-in-class organization.”

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