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June 2008
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Magic 8-Ball Says 'Ask Again'

THE POLICE officer who has a car stolen. The fireman with dead batteries in a smoke detector. The magazine editor who sends an e-mail out with typos in it. There's a special kind of embarrassment that comes with screwing up at something related to one's own profession.

Yet, one of the regrettable truths of the printing--aka graphic arts, marketing services, communications--industry is that many member companies have a poor track record when it comes to sending out self-promotion campaigns to their own customers and prospects. Adoption of digital printing has been a game changer because of the need to educate the market on the printing process and the use of variable data, personalized URLs (PURLs), etc. That twist has also put a premium on coming up with creative applications of the technology and flawlessly executing the campaign.

[ The Proposition ]

F.P. Horak, Bay City, MI, wanted to showcase its PURLs marketing capabilities, along with promoting the company's digital color printing and variable data marketing services. It was seeking to generate "warm leads" for the sales staff to pursue, with the objective of setting up face-to-face meetings and landing new business.

Doing a self-marketing campaign using the technology was the obvious solution, and it paid off. About 30 percent of the recipients visited their personal landing page and more than 6 percent signed up for a meeting with the sales staff. Ultimately, 10 of the initial prospects ended up becoming customers.

[ The Solution ]

The success of any direct marketing campaign, especially one incorporating variable data, in large part hinges on coming up with a suitable, clean database of quality prospects. F.P. Horak started by purchasing a list of businesses within Michigan that mirrored its existing customer roster, including manufacturing companies, financial institutions and universities. It then folded that data into the company's mailing list of current customers.

What set Horak's efforts apart was it had a staff person research each prospect to make sure that company was a good fit for the campaign. Furthermore, it called each firm on the list to get the correct name of a marketing contact.

To create the direct mail piece, an internal team was assembled that included F.P. Horak's electronic graphic services department, its business development director, marketing coordinator and HP Indigo press operator. "We have the method to end the marketing madness" was the slogan the team came up with to reflect the campaign's theme of making better marketing decisions.


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