Faced with increasing pressure to validate performance, today’s marketing professionals are implementing more integrated strategies and deploying tools that enable them to better track their return on investment (ROI). Variable data printing (VDP) enables marketers to track campaign effectiveness...
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Southeastern printech is one of myriad firms “specializing” in political campaign printing. Situated near Savannah, GA, and Hilton Head, SC, the company has churned out political brochures, rack cards, direct mail, postcards, and yard signs for nearly three decades. The company is gearing up for yet another busy election season.
Higher Ed, Too
Institutions of higher learning are using personalized VDP to their marketing advantage as well. Sheetfed/digital printer Rider Dickerson, Inc., Bellwood, IL, hosted its second annual printForum conference in May, where Chicago marketers can learn about the latest trends and technologies. “We rely on Rider Dickerson to help us stay on the forefront of marketing,” commented Nicole O’Connell, director of enrollment marketing at Loyola University Chicago, for which the printer created a dimensional package targeted to 700+ high school guidance counselors. Incorporating a cleverly designed, personalized outer wrapper and letter, the box also provided Loyola the opportunity to send copies of its student viewbook, a poster, and other key enrollment communication pieces.
For variable-data applications, the 109-year-old firm uses a two-color, 10-by-15-inch high-speed envelop press along with an HP Indigo 7500 digital press (installed in mid-2011) and VDP software from MindFireInc. “We’ve gone from being a traditional sheetfed printer to offering everything from digital solutions and integrated marketing to large-format and specialty printing,” CEO Bill Barta said of his firm’s five-year transformation.
Rider Dickerson also helped Robert Morris University (RMU), another Chicago-area institution that has grown to 10 campuses, build a recruitment campaign that included targeted letters and postcard mailings to prospective high school students. Rider Dickerson consulted with RMU on how to target prospects by variables including degree preference, scholarship level (test scores), campus location, and athletic talent. From this analysis, the print service provider recommended a cross-media campaign that would invite prospective students to visit a personalized URL. An online dashboard tracked page visits on a daily basis, which allowed the enrollment management team to adjust campaign messages in successive rounds of communications. This targeted, flexible approach helped RMU increase its lead pool over the previous year’s campaign by 79 percent.
In another higher-education application, Keiger Direct, a Xerox customer and the direct mail and variable data printing division of Keiger Printing, Winston-Salem, NC, used a one-to-one cross-media campaign to help nearby Salem College boost its incoming enrollment by more than 10 percent last fall. Salem is a small women’s college with an enrollment of approximately 1,100 students. Keiger’s strategy employed separate marketing tracks for high-school sophomores and juniors. The campaign aimed at sophomores leveraged much of the previous year’s strategy. The initial e-mail included a PURL linking to a survey and was followed by a mailer that also included the PURL as well as a new personalized QR code. A brochure using the survey responses was then sent out, with 562 possible variable combinations, including images directly related to the recipient’s intended major and ethnicity and supported by targeted response e-mails.
For juniors, the initial e-mail included a different PURL that linked to a new landing page, which asked what the student’s favorite activity was. Once their name and e-mail address were confirmed, they could access a virtual tour of Salem College. This page was completely interactive and included YouTube videos, slide shows and links to the college’s social media sites, such as Facebook. The high school junior would then receive a personalized, eight-panel brochure highlighting what life would be like at Salem College, integrating images based on the activity that they indicated in the survey as well as a variable picture and bio of their admissions counselor.
Approximately 73,000 unique QR codes and PURLs were generated for this campaign, all using MindFireInc software. To integrate each of these variable elements into the various Adobe InDesign layouts and ensure consistent, automated content across the various media channels used in the campaign, Keiger Direct utilized XMPie (Xerox) software and technology. Production was handled by the iGen4 Digital Press paired with a CX Print Server powered by Creo.