By Barbara Pellow October 17, 2005 -- Several weeks ago, I had the opportunity to interview Yoffi Digital Press and its marketing partner, Trekk Cross-Media. 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. The ultimate objective is to provide timely, relevant information and a better ROI to customers. As a "new breed," Yoffi has developed an entirely new set of criteria for driving digital success in the printing industry. Early on, the partners decided that the firm would be a leader in the development and delivery of variable data direct mail campaigns. Vision and Market Focus 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. Stefan Agustsson, Yoffi's head of Technology and Production 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 as well as attracted brand-new customers to us." Neal Steinhour, Yoffi's VP of Sales added, " With the advent of Do-Not-Call lists and spam filters, the best way to communicate with someone is direct mail. We decided this would be our specialty. We felt it was the most up-and-coming and profitable segment of the market." With the advent of Do-Not-Call lists and spam filters, the best way to communicate with someone is direct mail. 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." Partnering Delivers a Complete Value Chain In November 2004, Yoffi announced a partnership with Trekk Cross-Media, formed by four marketing communications experts in 1995. When Trekk was established, the founders wanted to distinguish the organization by blending traditional and new media services that would provide lasting results for its clients. The collaboration between Trekk and Yoffi has enabled both firms to greatly expand their customer base and deliver more cost effective 1:1 communications strategies. According to Jeff Stewart, VP of Technology Services at Trekk, "The interesting thing about cross-media and variable communications is that to pull it off, you have to have multiple types of disciplined people all participating as a team. You need creative people, you need data base people, you need systems people. You need printing and manufacturing process people. It has to be a large team. It is very difficult for a single organization to do it all. By combining the core strengths of both organizations, we have been able to successfully go after new clients." "The interesting thing about cross-media and variable communications is that to pull it off, you have to have multiple types of disciplined people all participating as a team." The partnership already has garnered significant business from high-profile clientele, including national shoe manufacturer Wolverine, enterprise technology consulting firm The Revere Group and global manufacturer Maruyama. Other clients include a major credit card company, a full-service provider of customer relationship management services, and the nation's largest marine products supplier. Selling ROI Both marketing and finance executives are under incredible pressure to make every dollar count. Marketing managers need to demonstrate an ROI for their programs while finance executives are assessing the payoffs delivered by marketing investments. A recent McKinsey survey found that CEOs expect marketing leaders to cut costs and increase contributions to growth. At the same time, the rise of new channels, such as the Internet and wireless communications, and the increasing importance of word of mouth and sponsorship, make marketing resource allocation decisions much more complex. A recent McKinsey survey found that CEOs expect marketing leaders to cut costs and increase contributions to growth. Yoffi and Trekk realized that their combined talents could offer significant value to customers and prospects by helping them more concisely define marketing ROI. According to Stewart, "What we are finding right now is a shift in the mindset of marketing managers and advertising managers in terms of media options. But they may not know how to do it, what the right metrics are, or whom to call. Three to four years ago the awareness and acceptance didn't exist." Going Beyond the Typical Together, Trekk and Yoffi help companies go beyond the typical, which in the case of most direct marketing, is either no personalization (mass-marketing) or minimal personalization, such as just using a recipient's name. They help companies leverage customer and other data via targeted, measurable communications vehicles that deliver highly relevant and compelling messages. Geography, gender, purchase history, photography and special offers are examples of the range of variables companies can use to target readers and engage them in a dialog. A "results orientation" is essential when working with clients. Trekk's Steinhour cited several examples of measurable ROI. He said, "A West Coast customer was sending out static direct mail pieces. We challenged them to pilot a variable piece with different offers, and the response rate on the variable piece was 40 percent higher." In another instance, Steinhour reports, "One of our customers in the New Mexico area is a regional bank. We worked with them on a campaign that consisted of 15,000 targeted direct mail pieces. In return, they received approximately $23 million worth of new investments in CDs, savings, checking and home loan mortgages." A regional bank's targeted campaign of 15,000 targeted direct mail pieces resulted in approximately $23 million worth of new investments. Trekk and Yoffi recently developed a direct mail campaign for Wolverine, a national shoe manufacturer. The resulting direct mail vehicle, intended to drive traffic into a national department store carrying Wolverine shoes, not only used the recipient's name, but also provided the closest store location with address and a dynamically generated map showing the route from the recipient's residence to the store. Developing A Campaign: The Critical Components When asked about the key elements associated with building a good campaign, Stewart had a solid roadmap. He said, "There are three things that really drive a campaign. First and foremost, we look at the data starting point. Is it just a simple list of names and addresses, or is there additional information we can pull in? The second element is the offer. We are doing the piece for a reason. A compelling call to action and an enticing offer need to be developed before we design the piece. And then finally, we have the creative development and execution. The variable elements that we pull together based on the data could be different offers, gender specific information, variation by region of the country, buying habits, or what is popular in a specific area. Once you start down this path, the mind really races. With today's technology, imagination is the only limitation to what you can do." Three things drive a campaign: The data starting point, the offer and creative execution. Building a "New Breed" of Printer Yoffi is a start-up digital print service provider with a solid understanding of the printing industry. As the digital print market evolved, Yoffi demonstrated a clear understanding of "what it takes" to be successful. Yoffi started the business with a vision and a defined target market. The company augmented its capabilities by building a partnership with Trekk. The marketing partnership between Trekk and Yoffi combines creative, technical and delivery capabilities that address a range of strategic communications challenges, from improving response rates, to reducing mass-marketing waste, automating processes and ensuring consistency and continuity. It delivers the "full service value add" that clients require in today's market. Finally, the partners use a consultative approach to one-to-one marketing, helping clients leverage key data to communicate relevant and timely information to individuals as efficiently as possible. They believe that personalized, compelling calls to action generate a dialog, and a dialog dramatically improves response. They track and demonstrate the ROI to build case histories and expand the relationship with existing clients. Personalized, compelling calls to action generate a dialog, and a dialog dramatically improves response. A lot can be learned from this. The company started with a solid vision, made decisions quickly, and is growing its business rapidly because the decisions were made in alignment with the vision. And Yoffi knows the value of leveraging the right partnerships to augment its own capabilities, as evidenced by the success of its work with Trekk.