Among the company’s objectives were to automate its direct mail subscription retention efforts, reduce the use of pre-printed materials, increase customers’ use of Web-based self-service and account management options, and increase the percentage of subscribers who auto pay via credit card or bank draft electronic payments.

[ The Solution ]

Utilizing internal resources, Gannett created a comprehensive solution for direct marketing that it dubbed Automated Direct Marketing (ADM). ADM provides a centralized marketing process that automates the sending of retention messaging to new customers.

The system automates the production of direct mail and e-mail communications with personalized marketing messages. Printed materials are produced in-house in consolidated daily production runs to take advantage of postal and production economies. The vendor of Gannett’s company-wide e-mail system distributes the e-mail communications.

New subscribers receive a series of nine print or e-mail “touches” in the customer retention campaign. Everyone receives an order confirmation, start verification, guide to the newspaper and service check that is versioned based on the payment type selected.

In one communication, the newspaper asks subscribers who are not using EZ Pay automatic credit card payment to convert to this plan. If a customer converts to EZ Pay between the time when the “Thank You” e-mail is sent (upon completion of a transaction) and when the “Welcome” e-mail goes out (the first day of newspaper delivery), then the Welcome piece will have different copy and will not contain a switch to EZ Pay incentive offer.

All of the communications (postcards and e-mails) are sent to customers at specific times in their subscription cycle. Real-time automation means any change in a subscriber’s status is immediately reflected in the messages. Each local newspaper market uses a template, but copy, images, pricing and incentives, even the timing of mail drops, can be customized.

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