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Cross-Media Services — Getting Results that Count

May 2009 By Mark Smith
Technology Editor
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CROSS-MEDIA is one of those adjectives to which so many printers can lay claim—like green or high-quality printing, value-added services and quick turnaround—they can lose meaning as a point of differentiation. The lack of an established definition means every company can decide for itself what capabilities and service offerings are required to be a cross-media services provider.

There are two components to this work—the marketing expertise to develop a campaign and the production capabilities required to execute it. The services that companies most commonly offer beyond variable data printing include the combination of personalized URLs (PURLs) and landing pages, along with e-mail and SMS/mobile messaging.

One extension of the concept is the creation of more elaborate Website experiences for recipients of PURLs, including use of Flash video and audio components. Since few “printers” have built in-house studios for video and audio production, it’s more common for this work to be contracted out or provided by the client.

In its fullest conception, cross-media means coordinating a marketer’s efforts across all media—print (all forms, not just direct mail), television, radio, online, outdoor media, etc.—for consistent messaging and so each individual component can leverage and reinforce the others. In theory, that might lead to one company doing all of the production work. It’s more likely, though, that multiple parties come together at the concept and creative stages to craft an integrated campaign; then the individual parts can be executed separately.

Using the Metrics System

The ability to measure and track responses to the messaging is the most important defining characteristic of a cross-media campaign and supplier. What the responses will be, and how to measure them, needs to be identified up front and designed into the campaign. Suppliers must then be able to track responses so that information can be used to refine the campaign, as well as provide a means to demonstrate an ROI to the client.

Nu Graphics Etc. in Woburn, MA, defines cross-media more broadly by focusing on what it delivers to clients, notes Jonathan Ward, vice president of Marketing Systems. It established a division that “helps clients enhance demand generation activities or automate daily tasks, such as response management and literature ordering,” he explains. “Plus, we provide clients with the ability to run analytics and metrics in support of key performance indicators (KPIs).”



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