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Commentary & Analysis

Why I Love This Press Release


By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: November 2, 2006

--- Variably Speaking Why I Love This Press Release by Heidi Tolliver-Nigro November 2, 2006 -- Recently, I read a press release that had been hanging around in my email but I'd never opened. As I read it, I couldn't help but jump up and down inside. It's very rare that I actually love a press release. I loved this one. The press release was from Vertis Communications, and as I read it, it was as if every paragraph reflected a major theme in an article I'd written recently. It was almost TwilightZone-esque, actually. Vertis is going to love me for this, but I am going to reprint the five-paragraph release here, along with my commentary on what, exactly, encouraged me so much. Vertis Communications' New DataDrivenDesign to Increase Marketing Response and Return BALTIMORE (September 12, 2006) -- Vertis Communications today introduced DataDrivenDesign, an advanced approach to targeted communications using comprehensive market intelligence and sophisticated consumer research to better understand purchase plans and trends. The DataDrivenDesign approach applies data gathered from Vertis Communications' proprietary research to develop highly targeted campaigns that speak to consumers on a personal level. If you read last month's "Variably Speaking" column, "What to Name Your VDP: Another Look," you know that the conclusion to the discussion about nomenclature re: VDP was that, if we're focusing on what to call 1:1 print applications, regardless of complexity, we're focusing on the wrong thing. Customers don't understand terms like "1:1 print marketing," "variable data printing," and the like. These are industry insider terms that have very little relevance outside the world of commercial print. What I loved about this paragraph is that it wasn't written for the commercial printing industry. It was written for customers. Although Vertis offers 1:1 print personalization/variable data print, it didn't use the term here or anywhere else in the release. It simply talked about the benefits of this technology. "Marketers are constantly looking to implement programs which will resonate with their target audience, motivating and inspiring consumers to make a purchase," said Ann Raider, chief strategy officer, Vertis Communications. "Our DataDrivenDesign program empowers delivery of targeted advertising concepts to the marketplace based on information drawn from a comprehensive range of studies." Using the DataDrivenDesign approach, analysts identify consumers with the highest potential to purchase products or services by examining transaction data, geographical location, direct mail response and mailing lists. Armed with this data, Vertis Communications profiles consumers to determine high-potential habits. These consumers are further segmented into groups with similar demographics, lifestyles, and behaviors. Using the introduction as a springboard, the press release now shifts to a more in-depth description of how, specifically, this can be accomplished. In other words, "We actually know what we are talking about." I love when companies give specifics, not just promises. Vertis Communications' proprietary research, Customer Focus®, includes RISC AmeriScan information, which is utilized by data analysts to predict the designs, colors, graphics, and messages that will have the strongest impact on key customer segments. The combined data helps create direct mail, advertising inserted products, displays, door hangers, and other direct marketing items that will be the most effective among potential consumers. Could it be? A press release is actually speaking a marketer's language? You rarely see this in press releases -- at least, not in the ones I get. More typically, releases are written for corporate investors and company executives, full of lofty sounding language that doesn't actually tell you anything. This release is actually speaking directly to customers. Imagine! "Vertis Communications is constantly evaluating and refining targeted messages by measuring and analyzing client campaign results," said Raider. "DataDrivenDesign takes this approach one step further by pinpointing current customer buying trends and predicting response, revealing fresh sources to drive new business and help marketers attain a higher return on investment." One of the topics I've been hounding on lately, both in this column and elsewhere, is that VDP printers and their customers need to do more with their data than simply create great campaigns. They need to use the results of those campaigns to "wrap back around" to the next campaign, as one market services company calls it, and use them to tweak and refine future campaigns. Printers have a very difficult time getting this information out of customers, however, and this was one of the points of another recent column, "What's In a Name?" in which I discussed how many VDP specialists are getting out of "printing" altogether. I wrote: "This is one of the reasons that an increasing number of printers are changing their names from 'commercial printers' or even 'graphic services providers' to 'marketing services companies.' If this name change is more than semantic, and is accompanied by the requisite marketing and business development expertise, the benefits can be significant." Among those benefits? Customers are far more likely to share results with a marketing services company than a printing company. Once printers change their focus, they find that getting customers to share back-end information is far easier. Another benefit is the ability to charge for creative and project development services, but that's another story. About Vertis Communications Vertis Communications serves as marketing partner to many of today's Fortune 500 companies. Vertis Communications leverages its vast experience in managing large, complex, time-sensitive assignments to turn its clients' marketing ideas into realities. Headquartered in Baltimore with more than 100 locations nationwide, Vertis Communications offers world-class consulting, creative, research, direct, media, technology, and production services. In 2005, Vertis was recognized as one of the "Most Admired Companies" in Marketing and Advertising by Fortune magazine. To learn more, visit www.vertisinc.com. Why include the company description? Because, while the unified blend of three companies formerly known as Webcraft, The LTC Group, and TC Advertising makes a substantial portion of its revenues on printing, it didn't mention printing at all in its description. Nor is printing even implied in its name. It's a perfect example of a topic I've been covering a lot lately. The point of all this is that the industry is changing. Analysts and consultants do a lot of talking and writing and presenting on how printers need to change business models, become marketing services providers and database specialists, and develop business development skills. Now, it's starting to happen, and the trend is gathering steam. As a commercial printer, you may look around and see a lot of printers and think this trend is being exaggerated. But ask yourself, if commercial printers who become digital and VDP specialists take "printing" or "graphic communications" out of their names, will you notice that they are gone? Or will you just continue to focus on the competition you can see? Just because the competition has shifted from printing to marketing doesn't mean that they aren't generating large volumes of print -- and going after your business, as well. It's a classic case of "what you can't see can hurt you." And that's why I love this press release.



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