Commentary & Analysis
Adding a Little Coney Island: Make Your Marketing Memorable Part 2
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: March 15, 2007
--- Special Feature - Secrets From The Samurai of Sales Adding a Little Coney Island: Make Your Marketing Memorable Part 2 Read Part 1 By Harvey Hirsch March 15, 2007 So what's the big secret? As I mentioned yesterday, I prefer to engage my client's prospect with an emotionally charged 3-dimensional mailer, and now that I've discovered the power of variable imaging and personalization, I wanted to incorporate this technology into my mailers. But I quickly found out that this was not so easy to solve. It seemed that if I wanted 5,000 window envelopes personalized, I had to print 6,000 because I would lose approximately 20 percent during die-cutting and assembly. Not good! I would not know which names were lost until they were all finished and I physically had to check them off. Was there a more efficient way I asked my suppliers? Nobody had an answer to my dilemma. The new approach costs about 13 percent of what the client is used to paying and they can analyze and change the pitch quickly. I'm into product development, so what could I come up with to change this formula and get what I needed? Hmmm. What if we die-cut first, then we print. Would this work? I created a special die, pressed it and ran it. Then I lined up the artwork, hooked into the database and ran a few on a small laser printer. Wow, it worked! We now have the beginning of a new method for producing short-run, multi-dimensional personalized products manufactured on-demand. Did I lose you? Die-cut the piece first and then print on it? What a concept. Another Speed Bump Now I was ready to test a program with a client, based on this revolutionary concept. But when I went to my digital print supplier he flatly refused to run already die-cut sheets on his system because if they fell apart and damaged the guts, who would pay for repairs? Uh-oh, another speed bump! Well, if I wanted to go ahead with this I would have to work around this problem. Fortunately, we had a small connected digital copier/printer in our office for proofing and I was able to get it to merge data and print on these "templates." And, it became the beginning of a brand new product category. A New Marketing Product Category? There are currently 4 types of direct mail available for companies to use; 1- flat mailers consisting of postcards and letters or brochures in envelopes, 2- lumpy or dimensional mailers, everything from a pen in an envelope to boxes, 3- non-personalized mail using ink-jetting or mailing stickers and, 4- VDP personalized and versioned mail consisting of essentially the flat mail section. The new concept seemed to be a fifth category: Personalized and versioned 3-dimensional mailers, printed on-demand. Was this really possible? Could I create products that would be highly adaptable to variable data, versioning, short-run? And could it generate a profit? It seemed like a tall order, but if it worked it could be the beginning of what became a new business model. Let me show you what I mean. These photos are of a fish-themed mailer containing 7 shaped and personalized die-cut fish and an A-7 invitation containing a die-cut reef holding a hand folded origami fish, all personalized with the recipient's name. It generated an amazing 50 percent response for client, Superior Printing Ink Co. How does this play in Peoria? Since direct mail pieces like these are more expensive than a basic flat envelope you don't send as many. But you also do better targeting of your customers. Imagine, if you will, a marketing program where data is modeled to identify the ideal customer so only 20 dynamic mailers are sent out to test the pitch and the database. Let's say the cost of each mailer is $20, and 5 people respond--a reasonable (in my experience) 25 percent response. The cost of each respondent is only $80 when amortized. By comparison, the current cost of generating a prospect from a suspect is well over $600 using more traditional options. The new approach costs about 13 percent of what the client is used to paying. More importantly, though, the client can analyze and change the pitch instantly, analyze the sales person's telemarketing follow-up skills and closing rate, and make changes before the next mail drop of another 20 units. What company wouldn't like to cut their costs of lead generation by 77 percent? What does it take to feed your company in today's competitive environment? What do you send out and what does it return? Are you learning how to manage your client's assets, utilize critical data in your 1:1 versioned pitch, tickle your customers with PURLS? Have you planned to attend the PIA/GATF's VDP Conference in November, PODI's yearly Conference, or the On-Demand Show, coming up next month in Boston? Did you send your sales people to a Xerox, Kodak or HP seminar last year or are you just going to hire a couple of web-to-print specialists and hope they can sell? Have you considered the valuable technology available today, or have you just crawled into your shell to face the probable? Which ride are you getting on?