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The Cigarillo Campaign

Liam Curley
Liam Curley
4 min read
The Cigarillo Campaign - A 2,500% ROI

I converted cold leads into dream clients at an ROI of 2,521%.

Here's how I did it:

The Mailer

The cigarillo campaign

I created a custom designed cigarette box.

Chocolate cigarillos inside, plus a small card with a landing page URL and a unique password for each recipient.

Seems random, but it's not, and your mailer won't be either.

Snail mail is a quiet channel

Nobody sends letters anymore

Nobody sends letters anymore.

Or at least, not as many as used to.

In the US, mail volume is down 50% since 2006. In the same period, responses grew 173% (source).

Meanwhile, digital is saturated with marketing spam.

The Product

The product - Construction Contracts

Your campaign begins with your client, or your product if you're in-house.

Mine sell construction software. Construction = old school.

Many contractors use handshakes and verbal agreements when working with subcontractors.

My client's software generated professional contracts for contractors.

Start with the Headline

Start with the headline

The campaign plays with the headline, which ties into the value you offer your client.

For this campaign:

"A new way to manage contracts and procurement."

The alternative? The old way. Back of a cigarette packet, which led to the mailer idea.

This builds the narrative for the entire campaign and everything connects back to the value your product offers the recipient.

The Target

The target

Users are worth a lot to my client. More than £14k lifetime value.

We didn't set a wide net. Get specific about what your dream client looks like. A hyper targeted approach.

For us, this looked like:

  • Based in London
  • Revenue less than £15m
  • Employ subcontractors


Mystery in marketing

Humans don't like ambiguity and tension.

We hear the beginning of a story, we want to hear the end. (I wrote more on mystery here).

Who sent me chocolate cigarettes!?

Don't give too much away about the product in the mailer. Leave them wanting more. Give them enough to get intrigued, but don't satisfy the intrigue within the mailer.

They'll find answers on the landing page.

Send them Online

Send them online

The mailer gets attention, but nothing beats digital for measurement.

The campaign is designed to draw people to digital.

I inserted a card containing a URL and a unique password. This is where you lay out your value proposition and product features.

The sales team follows up with recipients that check out the page.



You want something to land on your recipients desk that they'll share.

Humour does that.

The goal is that they'll show it to colleagues.

The more people see the mailer, the more people know and remember your campaign. That helps your sales team when they're making calls and need to get past gatekeepers.



This wasn't scattergun.

We targeted 100 ideal customers. We only needed one sale to get a return on the campaign. Campaigns like this only work in B2B environments with high value customers.

With only 100, we had the time and budget to customise, which means the recipient is more likely to open.



For any direct mail campaign, it helps to include a gift.

This works with the persuasive element of reciprocity.

I'm not talking about thoughtless swag. It needs to tie into the campaign, which ties into the value you offer the customer.

The Results

The Results

Here's the summary:

  • Response rate - 28%
  • Conversions - 4%
  • Return on Investment - 2,521%

The campaign turned ice cold leads hot. Here's what one of the sales team said:

"Very warm response to cigarillos and marketing - easy phone call."

And another:

"Responded to my first email and said that the cigarillos were a pleasant surprise. Demo booked with Director."

One more:

"Prospect received the cigarillos and loved them! Said he loved the marketing device, it was 'beautiful' and thinks our product is very interesting. Asked me to schedule a call."

There you have it. If you have high value clients, and a list of dream clients, try your own personalised direct mail campaign.