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Awards case study: How O2 secured sales appointments by sending ‘Digital Dave’ by direct mail

Find out how


bypassed barriers to the diaries of its top prospects and achieved an ROI of 13:1 using direct mail and disruptive technology


O2 is one of the most well-known and best-loved brands in the UK, with a strong reputation as a mobile network provider. However, due to the changing needs of its business customers and a decline in average revenue per user (ARPU) from its traditional services, there was a need to extend into a new market of digital services. Being one of the big three telecoms companies in the market, business customers cannot differentiate between the service providers.

Summary and strategy

O2 had previously tried to engage its hard-to-reach mid-market prospects via calls from the sales team, but had no luck arranging sales appointments. However, calls had revealed frustration with the service currently being received; not having a consistent point of contact for any queries or complaints, and having little contact after sign-up.

This insight led to the strategy to prioritise the top 50 prospects and spend more time on them, and to create an approach that would give them a clear impression of the personal service O2 offers its customers.

O2 Business’ USP is each client getting their own Digital Advisor to help them find the latest technology solutions. Service from their digital and mobile services provider is really important to customers. To pave the way for a sales call and provide an ice-breaker, O2 created a personalised holographic ‘Digital Advisor’ direct mail. The Digital Advisor proposition from O2 answers the need for a dedicated point of contact. The role of the direct mail was to find a way to dramatise it and grab the attention of key decision-makers. Fifty customised scripts were created, where the Digital Advisor speaks to each client personally telling them what O2 could do to help their business.

Each hologram mailing was tracked, allowing O2 to follow up swiftly with a sales call, capitalising on the impression the hologram had made.

The campaign exceeded its target for sales appointments and has generated an ROI of 13 (based on contract period margin) with several conversations ongoing.


  • Kick-start interest and open conversations with O2’s top mid-market prospects with a view to securing sales appointments.
  • Set a target of 10% converted to opportunities (appointments secured), which equates to five opportunities. Actual opportunities secured was seven.
  • Reposition O2 as a digital services provider, measured by the type of contract secured which was more than as a mobile services provider.

The target audience

Business customers refresh their contracts every two years. Changing providers is a considered decision, and the sales lifecycle is a long one.

There is lots of inertia in the market, because they are big contracts that take a while to complete. Therefore, it can be hard to get business customers to switch. The customer is also concerned that there will be downtime, which can affect their business.

IT directors and IT managers were targeted with this campaign, as one of many financial decision-makers whose job it is to build a business case for switching, and then convince others of it within the business. The hologram was sent as a DM pack to the key decision-maker at each target business. When opened, a holographic Digital Advisor – Dave – appeared inside the box, and explained why they should switch to O2.

You can see the work in the video below.

MBA O2 Award Entry

Media, channels or techniques used

Having gathered data about each of the 50 companies, 50 customised scripts were created, allowing the holographic digital advisor to speak to each client personally, and tell them what O2’s digital advisors could do to specifically help their busines. When the direct mail personalised hologram was sent out, boxes were tracked to allow O2 to follow up swiftly with a sales call, and immediately capitalise on the impression the DM pack had made – allowing them to convert this icebreaker into face-to-face sales meetings.

Timescales of the campaign

  • Research: 21–30 July
  • Planning: 1-17 August
  • Phase one: 18 August – 23 September (video production, building of the bespoke box and screens)
  • Phase two: 23-30 September (delivery)
  • Follow-up: 12 October – 5 November (Follow up email)
  • Reporting analysis: 6–27 November


This includes creation of hologram box plus delivery via courier to 50 contacts.

  • Planning, account management (researching contacts), creative design and copy for scripts (two per contact), shoot for video, tech logistics, etc.
  • Two rounds of amends only.

Disrupt Box – Digital Dave

  • Route one hologram, production total for 50 units: £19,950
  • Agency fees: £14,888
  • Grand total: £34,838


Ten (20%) of businesses in the first week responded positively to the follow-up sales call and appointments were arranged for all 10 (where previously the sales team was having no success with calls and emails in arranging appointments). One has now been converted to sale, and using the margin over a three-year contract, this one sale to date has achieved an ROI of 13. As more are converted to sales, the ROI can only increase.

Jennifer Beirne, SMB channel marketing manager at O2, said: “Using personalised content and clever tech, we found a way to bypass what had been an almost impossible barrier, into our prospective clients’ diaries. The direct mail is a disruptive piece of technology which reflects the way O2 Business is successfully disrupting the market with digital solutions. With an ROI of 12.9 we fulfilled our objectives – this has now set the marker for our future campaigns with MBA!”

B2B Marketing Awards 2016

This case study was submitted as part of the judging process for the B2B Marketing Awards 2016. It was shortlisted under 

Best use of direct mail


Best use of direct techniques and technologies: O2 Hologram Box – Digital Dave for O2 by MBA


See the winners

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