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December 2011
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Print in the Mix

Executing Multichannel Relational Communications

According to survey findings in the July 2011 Journal of Marketing, there is an ideal level, mix and alignment of multichannel personalized communications with customers that spark customers' preferences for those channels, with the goal of maximizing customer spending.

The survey included 3,370 randomly selected clients of a large auto dealership with a high-volume service department who had visited the service department within the past year. The communications via telephone, e-mail and direct mail were developed to remind them of needed services, to announce new products and locations, survey customer satisfaction and announce promotions.

Two mailings offering a $5 gift card produced 1,162 complete responses, for a 36 percent effective response rate.

Select Top-Line Results

• The results indicate that there is an ideal level of communication volume that varies across channels and, after the ideal level is exceeded, customers react negatively. This negative response can be exacerbated by the use of multiple channels; however, aligning the channels with customer preferences can attenuate such negative effects.

• Using three-month increments, the ideal level of communication to spark customer interest—for this particular auto dealership—was three telephone calls, three to four e-mails, and between nine to 10 direct mailings.

According to one of the authors,  Andrea Godfrey, “The results highlight the importance of considering the impact of specific channels, individually and in combination, rather than aggregate volume as a means to manage the communication channel mix more effectively. The study’s findings also underscore the need to avoid inefficient allocation of marketing resources by developing protocols that limit total communication through all channels and specify effective channel combinations.”

To read this entire Print in the Mix Research Summary and other print market research studies, go to Print in the Mix is a free and easily accessible clearinghouse of research on print media effectiveness, published by the Printing Industry Center at RIT and made possible by a grant from The Print Council (

Odd Expo Fellows

The new normal of the 2008-2011 era appears to be creating some very abnormal bedfellows on the printing industry trade show circuit. The Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC) can take some of the credit for the "bunking up" mentality with its slew of co-located events during the past two Graph Expo shows in Chicago.

GASC's move seemed like such a good idea, it has been co-opted by the franchise community. This past August, Allegra Network held its annual convention and expo at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The same could be said for AlphaGraphics—same dates, same venue. No, someone at the Caesars front desk didn't use poor judgment. It was all by design.

According to Allegra Chairman Carl Gerhardt, the respective organizations had been in talks for the past few years about co-locating their annual franchisee get- together. His longtime friendship with AlphaGraphics CEO Kevin Cushing didn't hurt, either.

“For some time, the vendors have been saying that there are too many shows,” Gerhardt says. “Combining the conventions makes it easier on them.” The idea itself was relatively simple: Combining the events allowed vendors to set up at a single expo as opposed to double the cost for individual booths at two shows. The conventions would remain separate; AlphaGraphics and Allegra franchisees wouldn’t be sitting in the same conference rooms at the same time.

According to Gerhardt, corporate staff and franchise members alike were quick to get behind the idea. The biggest obstacle was coming up with dates that would work for both organizations, and they had to figure out how to share the revenue for the joint expo component, which included 130 booths.

On the Allegra end, former Kodak chief marketing officer and author Jeffrey Hayzlett, and Robert Richman, product manager for Zappos Insights, were the keynote speakers. Franchisee roundtables covered such topical subjects as environmental sustainability, sales management, social media, QR codes, resales and exit strategy, and acquisitions.

It's been an eventful 2011 for Allegra, which earlier this year moved into a new, 67,000-square-foot facility in Plymouth, MI. Its corporate team now shares space with one of its largest franchises, formerly located in Wixom, MI. One of the biggest changes at Allegra is in its executive team, where Mike Marcantonio has taken the helm as president and CEO. Bill McIntyre has retired, while Gerhardt has settled in as chairman. Marcantonio made a sizable investment in the company and will preside over the evolution of franchisees becoming marketing services providers.

As part of this movement, Allegra unveiled its new Marketing Resource Center (MRC), a home office support organization created to aid franchise members in developing and executing marketing programs and products. The MRC complements Allegra Network University.

Kelsey Conaway is the new marketing coordinator at Columbus, OH-based Hopkins Printing.

Proforma announced 10 new companies within its network. New members include: Bob Batz, Proforma Court Enterprises, Westminster, MD; Kent Bradbury, Proforma Image Marketing, Houston; Tom and Jennifer Bright, Proforma WALLPrint, Branford, CT; Debbie Hazlewood, Proforma Spirit Promotions, Oak Park, CA; Dean Miller, Proforma Miller & Associates, Fort Collins, CO; Pratt and Sudhir Pande, Proforma IdeaPress, Norcross, GA; Diane Ross, Proforma Imagine More, Fairport, NY; Lee Ann and Marc Steffens, Proforma Infinity Creative Resources, Pewaukee, WI; Kevin Traywick, GCT Printing Solutions, Powered by Proforma, Poteau, OK; and Beverly Zichy, Proforma C&B Elite, Wesley Chapel, FL.

Cheryl Kahanec, executive vice president of EarthDigital, an EarthColor company, has been named the recipient of the 2011 Naomi Berber Award by Printing Industries of America.

Three new appointments have been made at Green Bay, WI-based Primadata Inc. Michael Reed has been named general manager; Tim Luft is the company's new development manager; and Jaci Malueg has been promoted to customer service manager.

Transcontinental Inc., Montreal, has appointed Nelson Gentiletti as chief financial and corporate development officer. He now reports to president and CEO François Olivier, and is a member of the executive management committee. Gentiletti is also in charge of strategic planning, M&A and IT. PI



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