Ross PrintMarketing : Blazing the Campaign TrailJune 2011 By Erik Cagle
For all of those in the printing industry who roll their eyes every time a company distances itself from its printing roots by using the nom de guerre "marketing services provider," well, Eric Ross will vehemently argue that customers aren't really buying printing—they're in hot pursuit of the results generated and fostered by printing.
Ross has a point and, in the case of Ross PrintMarketing, the printing element is not as important as the overall campaign. The value proposition offered by the Denver-based firm is as a purveyor of marketing tools, some of which are print-based (such as direct mail), and others that are data-driven (including response rate and ROI analysis).
Printing is never the final destination for Ross' clients, but merely a means to an end—or rather, a continuation. According to Ross, founder and president of the company, direct mail is primarily a customer retention device for its franchise-based clients with mass market television budgets.
Frankly, Ross himself probably isn't that big a fan of the "marketing services provider" moniker because he sees a bevy of companies that lay claim to such status, but fall short in executing the vision. But that's not Ross' battle; his main concern is in ensuring that his 32-year-old firm continues to deliver on the commitments that have convinced some original customers to stick with the company over the long haul.
"Clients can tell the difference," he says, of those firms that are marketers as opposed to the pretenders. "When my marketing team initiates the selling process, we begin with campaign development. We're not trying to fit customers into some kind of template. We start out with the clients' marketing needs. In the case of direct mail, I'm putting together a three-, six- or 12-month direct mail marketing campaign. The results of each campaign must be measurable and accretive to the client's business.
"We really are a marketing partner first, and the fact that we control the manufacturing makes us an extremely powerful partner in that we can keep our promises. We do everything under one roof; we are the point of responsibility. So, when a client gives us a campaign and it needs to be 'in-home' at a certain date, we are the agency.
"At the end of a campaign, we produce a response rate and ROI analysis for clients. They can see exactly how many products were sold, how many dollars were generated, what the response rates were, what the return on investments are. That's how people judge Ross PrintMarketing."