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Launching a Successful Multi-Platform Campaign

With brands looking to tap into cross media marketing programs to further reach customers, forward-looking graphic communications firms are offering clients a slate of multi-media services in addition to print.

Take The Lab, a New York City-based integrated media arts company, which creates advertising and marketing content for print, digital, and broadcast platforms. The Lab got its feet wet as a print production house, and now offers a full spectrum of content creation services, along with traditional print production, retouching, and design services.

Offering all these services under one roof is a viable way of working, says David Bridges, president and CEO, The Lab. "It is pretty well established that the results are better for an integrated campaign," he explains. "Moving forward, more and more companies are seeing the benefits of seeing their campaigns translated consistently, with the same idea, rather than running separate campaigns for different platforms. Right now though, I don't know of any other company that is able to offer the amount of diversified content that we can, from print to online to social media to broadcast, to CG (computer-generated) print imagery and animation."

Getting the Staff on Board

The Lab creates final assets—such as a print ad for a magazine or video for an online ad—for integrated campaigns. The idea, adds Bridges, "is to not have multiple vendors duplicating assets or multiple teams within one company working independently within each medium."

One of the biggest challenges working in multi-channel campaigns is reconfiguring the workflow to ensure it is at its most efficient. The cultural change within the facility has to be addressed. "The staff isn't working in a silo-type environment anymore," says Bridges. "They need to be retrained, to learn to think about the work in a more general, flexible way. We're taking people who are set in their ways—whether they're from a print world or a digital world, and trying to get them to look beyond how they are used to dealing with things traditionally."

The digital team will work with the print team to adjust assets to make sure they look exactly the same as they do in print. "Our digital team will pick up the files to build an online campaign and our retouchers, for example, will take the approved files in print and work with the digital team to do color corrections in Flash," explains Robert Pepe, director of operations. "Verizon Red and AT&T blue have to be the same whether the final asset is in print or digital."

Every PDF begins in Dalim's TWIST workflow. Within the digital and print arena, Dalim's TWIST automated workflow system is able to facilitate content in whatever file format is necessary for the platform. TWIST drives color management for proofing as well.

Keep Data Consistent

Ensuring the data is in sync across the different touch points is a key element for any cross media campaign, notes Judy Berlin, director of Worldwide Marketing, XMPie, A Xerox Company. "You have to keep the message relevant, intimate, and consistent," Berlin says. "You can't make one offer in a print piece and then lead them to a PURL and have a different offer."

A campaign can include personalization and variable data imaging, PURL, email, mobile messaging and SMS, QR Codes, and social media.

Cross media marketing fosters more personal communication between brands and their customers, notes Berlin, necessary because these customers expect a high level of customization. "It is transforming the way brands communicate, turning one-way broadcast and complex dialogue into interactive, real time communication with millions of people," says Berlin.

XMPie is calling the management of the cross media process ICM, or individualized communications management. "Managing the one-to-one dialogue in a business workflow is the next frontier," says Berlin. "We feel there is a gap, not so much in the technology, but in the complexity of managing this dialogue. An ideal ICM solution should reengineer the process of campaign management, making it more efficient and effective."

The John Roberts Company's recent campaign for its own cross media marketing division, JRX-Media, proves the effectiveness of a well run multi-platform program. The 60-year-old Minneapolis-based shop, which provides a one-stop source for printing and related services, unveiled JR-X Media in 2010 to integrate cross media marketing services into the company's more traditional graphic communication offerings.

JRX-Media's multi-platform campaign used customized print, email, PURLs, and QR Codes to attract visitors to its booth at the University and College Designers Association's 2011 fall conference in Phoenix. The conference is for designers in the higher education field, a growth vertical for JRX-Media, notes Ann Marie Keene, Marketing & Business Development, John Roberts.

"Try Us on for Size"

The promotion, called "Try Us on for Size," began with a personalized postcard offering a free t-shirt, sent to registered attendees four weeks prior to the conference. Male attendees received a postcard showing a blue t-shirt; females, a pink t-shirt. "The postcard recipients were directed to the PURL, where they confirmed their email address, which was great for us, because we didn't have the majority of the attendees' email addresses," says Keene. "There was also a QR Code they could scan. We emailed back a thank you and a ticket that they printed out and brought to our booth, where they received the t-shirt. Each t-shirt was packaged in a personalized tube—blue or pink—with the recipient's name and a greeting on a label: Hello, Darryl…"

XMPie technology helped make it all happen. JRX-Media invested more than $500,000 in the new division, expanding its use of XMPie technology—it was already a uStore user—with XMPie's PersonalEffect cross media platinum cluster, including uProduce, Marketing Console, uCreate, and XMPie's Email Service.

Functioning as the system's engine, the uProduce server captured all the requests from the website and pushed them to Marketing Console, which tracks and graphically displays all the metrics—on a computer, iPhone, or iPad—allowing JRX-Media staff to "track on the go." The uCreate plug-in, which pops up in Adobe Creative Suite, connects the data and logic to the design, ensuring that the male recipients, for example, received the postcard with a blue t-shirt. The follow-up personalized emails were sent out via the Email Service. A Kodak Nexpress was used for digitally printing the personalized postcards.

Rockin' Response Rate

The numbers speak for themselves—and for the power of print. There was a 63.9 percent response rate from the personalized postcard. "We've done many marketing campaigns; this was highest response we had," says Darryl Drozdik, senior Web developer at JRX-Media, John Roberts.

"Anything over 20 percent is considered really good," adds Christine Winter, PR/marketing programs manager, XMPie. "Our customers double their campaign response rate when they include multi-channels and personalization."

Interestingly, the majority of the responses came through the PURL, while only three percent came through the QR Code. "We thought more people would have used the QR Code, given the audience," adds Kyle Kennedy, senior software programmer, John Roberts.

The campaign's aim—to generate hot leads, new business, and awareness—succeeded on all three fronts. The booth at the UCDA conference was "insane," says Keene. "It was great seeing everyone at the conference wearing our t-shirts—the students, the bar staff, even everyone at the hotel."