Commentary & Analysis
Turf Wars: Developing Multi-Media Communications Strategies that Reach Customers
By Barbara Pellow February 15,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: February 15, 2006
By Barbara Pellow February 15, 2006 -- Today's marketers want to make sure that they are speaking to customers on "their turf" and on their conditions. Now more than ever, doing so means marketing executives need to better understand what their turf is and reach consumers utilizing multi-media communications strategies. Nearly three-quarters of those possessing printed sales material like catalogs look to the Internet in some fashion while they are making a purchase According to Ovation Marketing, nearly three-quarters of those possessing printed sales material like catalogs look to the Internet in some fashion while they are making a purchase - they want to have multiple sources of information while going online and making a purchase decision. Buyers who use multiple sources to make a decision and subsequent purchases are far more valuable than single-source buyers. Anything marketers can do to solidify the bond between buyers using printed material and the Internet, and/or a retail location or office sales call will make the buyer that much more valuable to the seller over time. Even with all of the new technology swirling around us, the key is to continue to approach potential customers on multiple fronts with the same integrated message. And that's where campaign management tools like XMPie help document services providers deliver value. XMPie provides tools that enable cross-media dynamic publishing--an essential and growing segment of the CRM and Marketing Automation market. Its software lets enterprises or their document service providers develop and execute highly customized, information driven, cross-media campaigns. Such personalized communications have resulted in high response rate direct mail in combination with a cost-effective business strategy with attractive ROI. This past week, I talked with two document solutions providers who employ solutions using XMPie's technology: Yoffi Digital and Toppan America. Stefan Agustsson, principal from Yoffi Digital and Gavin Jordan-Smith, Director from Toppan America, shared how entering the world of cross-media helped them grow and evolve their respective businesses. Yoffi Digital Yoffi Digital Press, a commercial digital printer, and Trekk Cross-Media, a full-service marketing and communications agency, both based in Rochelle, Illinois, established a partnership to drive clients to new marketing approaches. Their focus was multi-channel communications that incorporate multiple client touch points. Yoffi positions itself as a new breed of commercial digital printer, combining traditional print experience, emerging print technologies and a strong marketing alliance with Trekk to deliver closed loop 1:1 marketing strategies for its client base. Yoffi started the business with a strong vision for the organization. Early on, the partners decided that the firm would be a leader in the development and delivery of variable data direct mail campaigns. Yoffi's head of Technology and Production Stefan Agustsson said, "We formed Yoffi Digital Press two years ago. We started off with virtually nothing and built a business strictly around digital. I came from the offset printing industry and we saw the market starting to consolidate. Digital offerings opened up a whole new door to our existing customers while at the same time attracting brand-new customers to us." CRM Focus Yoffi's direct mail emphasis led the company to seek out customers that had a focus on customer relationship management (CRM). Yoffi's customers have typically been in the retail space because, according to Agustsson, "We find that retailers have a large amount of data about their current customers, as well as a need to drive more store traffic." Yoffi's value proposition is the ability to help leverage that information to augment sales to current clients as well as find clients with similar demographic profiles to expand market share. According to Agustsson, "We deliver both customer acquisition and customer retention for these retail customers." A Lumpy Mailer They began their business with an innovative sales process of their own -- creating a personalized "lumpy mailer" that initiates a conversation with prospects about how a personalized marketing strategy could drive their business. That is how the two companies sparked a campaign idea with Wolverine Shoes --resulting in a personalized direct mail campaign designed to drive traffic to the shoe company's major retail partner. "What people don't always realize is that we're not targeting a smaller audience…we're targeting the audience." Campaign development began with the data. Trekk and Yoffi worked closely with Wolverine and its partners to build a national list of 50,000 customers who had purchased and registered similar products, organized around proximity to retail stores. According to Jeff Stewart, technical director for Trekk Cross-Media, everything begins with the data, from campaign strategy to design. "What people don't always realize is that we're not targeting a smaller audience…we're targeting the audience." The campaign included a custom offer and an individualized color map based on the address of each of the 50,000 recipients, showing the nearest retail location at which the prospect could buy their shoes. There is a link to a personalized URL on the mailer. According to Agustsson, "This offers an effective call for action and response mechanism to bring about a high level of interaction with the customer. This mechanism also includes built-in tracking to enable continuous monitoring of the campaign's progress as customers enter their personalized pages and is a tool for gathering relevant information. The mailer was also designed with a unique UPC bar code to track responses. Because the promotion requires the customer to bring the mailer to the retailer, the campaign results will be closely tracked by Trekk, Yoffi and their client. West Marine looked to Yoffi to help them boost holiday sales with a personalized campaign that gave clients a compelling reason to visit its retail stores. This successful direct mail campaign featured eye-catching graphics and two attractive offers --a cash discount on purchases and chance to win a handheld GPS unit. For boating enthusiasts, both offers were of great interest. An individual bar code was printed on each postcard, which was tied to West Marine's point-to-sale system, providing a means to track sales generated from the campaign. To further promote the GPS sweepstakes, postcards featured a customized map showing the best route from the recipient's address to the nearest West Marine retail store. The results? 14 percent of those who received the customized direct mail campaign visited a West Marine store, generating record holiday sales. And customers who redeemed the discount coupon spent twice as much as those who received a generic version of the mailing. The overriding message from Agustsson is that the combination of direct mail, the internet, and personal touch at a retail outlet leads to results for the firm's customers. It has also led to results for Yoffi. Revenues in 2005 exceeded $2 million and projections are that the business will double in size in 2006. Toppan America Toppan Printing Company America Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Toppan Printing Co. Ltd., one of the largest printing companies in the world, operates multiple Xerox iGen3 presses at its plant in Somerset, N.J. According to Gavin Jordan-Smith, director of digital communications, "The combination of digital color and our ability to deliver multi-channel communications has transformed the company's business and led to significant growth, customer retention, new customer generation and profit." Is that the combination of direct mail, the internet, and personal touch at a retail outlet leads to results for the firm's customers. Jordan-Smith said, "To secure additional business we needed to innovate. We wanted to open doors to customers that we weren't already talking to. A value proposition for increased revenues and improved ROI with multi-channel programs was the answer." Toppan did a surgical breakdown of the various industry sectors they currently service. The application focus was 1:1 fully customized marketing solutions for the cosmetics, financial, pharmaceutical and agency markets. The firm decided they wanted to bring digital to new customers versus simply generating offset transfer. Digital print and multi-channel communications were designed to be a business expansion strategy for Toppan. One of the company's financial services clients wanted to enhance client retention for a specific pension fund program. The financial client was losing participants between 20 and 30 years of age. This is a group that typically changes jobs and in many instances was "cashing out" to pay credit card debt. Toppan leveraged XMPie to develop a multi-channel campaign to improve retention. Before the pension fund participant cashed out, a multi-part personalized direct mail campaign educated the individual on the benefits of continuing with the fund. There was a link to a personalized URL which invoked a trigger point to a call center. Jordan-Smith said, "This multi-touch approach is essential to client retention. Many of our financial clients are seeing response rates in excess of 18 percent. We have leveraged the learning from this and other campaigns into other industry segments." Based on the delivery of an integrated offering, the digital division has added 144 new customers in the last year and a half. The benefit for Toppan is significant. Based on the delivery of an integrated offering, the digital division has added 144 new customers in the last year and a half. There has been good synergy with the traditional commercial printing business based on the ability to deliver not just digital print, but a full solution suite. Toppan expects 10 percent growth in its core commercial print business. The digital division has tripled revenue in the last 12 months from its first 6 months in operation and expectations are that business will triple again this year. The Bottom Line Marketers are seeking ways to more effectively use prospect and customer data to execute marketing campaigns across and among the full range of media channels available. The most successful campaigns reach consumers in a sequenced and consistent manner. These campaigns also create the indirect benefit of enforcing and enhancing corporate branding. Document service providers that both understand and can participate in this evolving world of multi-channel marketing will build a more loyal customer base and, most importantly, grow their businesses.