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Direct Group To Create Full-Service Direct Marketing Campus

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Press release from the issuing company

Pennington, N.J. -- Direct Group, a fully integrated direct marketing solutions provider, announced today that it will create the most advanced and comprehensive full-service direct marketing campus in North America by uniting its direct mail, digital printing and fulfillment operations into one complex at its existing Swedesboro, N.J., location.
The Direct Group vision to create the most client-driven service model in a cost- efficient environment will culminate with the incorporation of its Robbinsville, N.J., fulfillment operation into the Swedesboro production complex. After extensive internal research, which included in-depth sessions with clients and prospects, the company developed its strategy to realign production, technological capabilities and personnel together in one location.  The move also responds to continued client demand for greater efficiencies and lower unit costs.
When complete, the realignment will create an unmatched, tightly coordinated platform designed to deliver highly targeted, multichannel direct marketing campaigns that strategically integrate a variety of print, digital and e-messaging communication channels. This platform also features one of the most advanced postal optimization solutions available, generating significant savings on postage and shipping costs for Direct Group clients.  In aggregate, these integrated capabilities will serve to fortify Direct Group’s industry-leading status as the premier services provider in delivering direct marketing campaigns with superior results. 
“Clients today are demanding more comprehensive and multichannel solutions, and our consolidation of operations is a direct response to those needs,” said Don McKenzie, Direct Group President and CEO.  “Our Swedesboro, N.J., operation will provide state-of-the-art capabilities to create and execute successful direct marketing campaigns in today’s highly competitive marketing environment by providing clients the marketing flexibility to build their businesses proactively both now and in the future.”
A February 2009 report by the global strategic consulting firm Winterberry Group describes successful new directions in direct mail today:  “The transformation of direct mail over the last 12 months has created pockets of real growth opportunity,
including new approaches to leveraging data for better targeting and additional dimensions of personalization.  And the maturity of digital channels has allowed for better integration of mail with e-mail, search and online advertising, leading to improved customer experiences and higher returns.”
McKenzie noted that the newly combined Direct Group operation will offer the latest technology available in direct marketing and is the culmination of a multi-year growth strategy involving more than $30 million of investments in highly advanced equipment, software and strategic acquisitions.  This includes the purchase of database marketing company Enterprise Marketing Solutions, Inc. (EMSi) in 2007, which will remain in Piscataway, N.J., and be the only Direct Group operations facility outside of Swedesboro.  The Swedesboro campus will include the following capabilities:
The latest cut-sheet and continuous digital printing and laser personalization technologies – including full color, black & white and MICR capabilities
- Web-to-print solutions
- Statement processing and critical communication management
- Pick-pack fulfillment, kitting and assembly
- Membership loyalty programs
- Direct-to-consumer, sales-support and direct-to-physician continuity marketing programs
- High-speed intelligent, selective, letter and jumbo inserting and in-line collating
- Small-cell mailing capabilities
- Envelope manufacturing
- Traditional Web-fed printing in up to 10 colors
- Postal optimization and logistics, including commingling and co-palletization for advanced in-home delivery planning and tracking
In addition, Direct Group database capabilities in Piscataway include:
- Database and campaign management
- Modeling and analytics
- Data services, including trigger mailings, demographics, mapping, lifestyle data and credit data
- Online marketing, including e-mail and SMS messaging, personalized URLs (PURLs) and microsites
The Swedesboro complex was the first facility in the United States to install an Océ JetStream 2200, and is also the only production site in North America that houses two such printers. These next-generation printing systems feature high-speed, fully variable, four-color inkjet printing in a continuous environment with MICR technology.  Generating fully digital and fully variable copy at an astonishing 500 feet per minute, these printers allow Direct Group to provide clients the most sophisticated digital printing capabilities in the world with the capacity to produce more than 30 million digitally produced pieces per month.
The Swedesboro location is also home to Direct Group’s proprietary Postal Optimizer® solution, a combination of technology and in-house expertise that significantly reduces campaign expenses in the areas of postage and logistics.  Postal expenses continue to rise on an annual basis and represent as much as 65 percent of the total cost of a direct mail campaign.  In response to this critical cost challenge, Direct Group’s Postal Optimizer strategically combines mail for maximum density and allows for staging and delivering mail in a coordinated sequence.  This, in turn, qualifies campaigns for significant postal discounts and helps facilitate consolidated campaign-response management.
“Our clients tell us that we are without peer in terms of creating high-ROI, targeted programs that integrate emerging digital and Web-based communications with traditional print communications,” said Chris Ryan, Direct Group Chief Operating Officer.  “The newly combined operation in Swedesboro will position us even better to deliver on our clients’ priorities as they continually look to us to provide innovative, highly effective answers to their marketing needs.”  
Ryan offered the example of a leading insurance company for which Direct Group recently designed a centralized, Web-based platform that leverages multiple marketing channels in cost-effective ways.  In this case, thousands of insurance agents across the country tap into a Web portal to order company-approved marketing documents, sales aids, premium items, lead-generating mailers, or e-mails, among other options, all customizable for the appropriate region with the agent’s name and location.  “This is one example of the kind of capabilities that have proven very productive for clients, and have recently helped us secure significant new business wins,” said Ryan.
Direct Group also serves a wide variety of other market segments, including pharmaceutical, telecommunications, travel and leisure, automotive, nonprofit, home security and financial services.  The company’s equity partner is D.E. Shaw, one of the largest investment funds in the world.




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