Behind The Scenes: Black Mountain Software’s Tea Campaign

by: David Tyler, BMS Marketing Manager

Black Mountain Software has a long history of giving away nice little gifts through direct mail marketing campaigns and at municipal and school conferences. For example:

  • 2011 iTunes-type gift card for a free downloadable song
  • 2010 Tin of refreshing mints
  • 2009 (Spring) Black Mountain Software cookies
  • 2009 (Autumn) Black Mountain Gourmet Blend coffee
  • 2008 Black Mountain microwave popcorn

Pretty cool stuff! But being new to the company and knowing how expensive direct mail campaigns are, I hesitated last fall before jumping right into plans for another giveaway.  A chat with our Sales team didn’t reveal a lot of solid compelling sales data from past campaigns, but what it did reveal is a strong feeling that the gift items have helped boost our brand recognition and BMS’ positioning as a friendly, service-oriented company that really cares about our customers.  Being a huge believer in the importance of brand strength and positioning, that was enough for me–we launched into plans for a 2012 direct mail and conference giveaway campaign.

After considering everything from survival items to indulgent candies, we decided on tea. Not just any tea, though – a high quality, soothing tea that would lend itself to a campaign promoting those same kinds of features and benefits provided by our software.  And when our super-efficient, user-friendly fund accounting software and utility billing software provides clerks with a little more time in their day, we thought they might like to take a couple of well-deserved minutes to sit back and relax with a wonderful cup of tea.

We identified Davidson’s Organics as the source for our tea, but were then faced with the decision of which of their hundreds of varieties to select for labeling as a Black Mountain Software “Small Town Tea”.  Should we select a traditional tea, like Earl Grey, or should we choose something more unique but also possibly more polarizing? We decided to conduct a taste test as it seemed the answer ultimately depended on how the teas tasted, not our preconceived ideas or their names.

Drawing on my past experience of working for a large food company, I converted one of our conference rooms into a tasting station one afternoon. Staff members sipped  nine different varieties of tea and voted with stickers to indicate their preferences.  The more green stickers a tea received, the more we knew people liked it. A clear winner emerged. It was one of Davidson’s herbal honey teas: Bing Cherry with Almond.  Even the people who felt sure they liked “unflavored” tea best, really liked this subtly sweet, flavorful tea!

Before signing off to have the Bing Cherry with Almond tea packaged and labeled as Black Mountain Cherry tea, I did a final check on the idea. I called a few of our clients to ask them what they thought of receiving a gift of a nice traditional tea versus a nice flavored tea.  Even those that said they typically drink only classic varieties said they would love the chance to try a specialty tea if it were a gift.  Perfect!

About five weeks later, on March 1, 2012, we mailed 6,954 tins of Black Mountain Cherry Tea to prospective clients. And just a couple of weeks after that, BMS Sales team members unveiled our tea to rave reviews at the CCMFOA conference in Wichita, Kansas.  If you see Black Mountain Software at a conference this year, be sure to stop by our booth. We’ll send you home with some delightful tea – in addition to information about our delightful accounting and utility billing software!


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  1. Janice Hoppes
    Posted August 9, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    I liked Black Mountain Software on facebook and received the tea. It is excellent….

  2. Jawahn Ware
    Posted October 31, 2012 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    I love the tea campaign. I met your rep at the City/County Clerk Conference in Athens, GA (Sept 2012).

    I opened my tea this morning…. I am in LOVE!!! I need to find some more.

    I’m disappointed that our size is out side of the scope for Black Mountain Software.

    Wonderful representation.

    • Black Mountain Software
      Posted November 13, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      Thank you for your nice comments, Janice and Jawahn! I hope you have both entered the Tea Giveaway contest for your chance to win more. The contest entry information is on the paper disc inside the tea tin – or email me at and I will give you the URL. The entry deadline is November 30, 2012, so don’t delay. – Darlis, Marketing Manager