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IMCs: Don’t Be Intimidated —Sherburne

June 2008
IN APRIL, I attended the Kodak Graphic Users Association (KGUA) as a member of the press. This group is probably one of the longest running user associations in our industry, previously having been associated with Creo and Scitex before all of the acquisitions. This was the first time the group invited the press, and I was pleased to be there with four other colleagues from North America.

With 314 members in attendance, it was the largest gathering the group has seen—at least in the past several years, even with the economy in turmoil, Drupa around the corner and the IPA Technical Conference competing for many of the same attendees in the same timeframe. The group’s board attributes this spike in attendance (a 50 percent increase) to the aggressive integrated marketing campaign (IMC) conducted to drive attendance and interest in the group.

The campaign involved more than 59,000 direct marketing pieces between mail and e-mail, with 23,000 of those incorporating personalized URLs (PURLs). There were some 400 hits back to the PURLs as a result of the campaign. In addition to increased attendance levels, KGUA membership is up 11 percent over last year.

Personalized Touch

There is a message here: Integrated marketing campaigns work! But they can be intimidating. An integrated marketing campaign, as I have discussed before in past columns, consists of a direct marketing campaign, generally highly personalized, that uses not only the mail, but also integrates the Web and e-mail, as well as other communications media. Increasingly, especially outside of North America, this includes SMS messaging to handheld devices such as cell phones and PDAs.

It can also be argued that these campaigns are more environmentally friendly. In theory, since they are more targeted and relevant, and deliver higher returns, there should be fewer pieces that are mailed and discarded without being read. They also allow marketers to be able to reach out to potential customers with a postcard or tri-fold instead of sending a full catalog, for example, to pique interest while cutting down on paper usage and postal costs, highlighting key products or services for the recipient and directing them to the full catalog on the Web. Some of the communications are delivered electronically, further reducing paper waste.

The reason integrated marketing campaigns can be intimidating is that an effective campaign is very data-centric. It requires the analysis of accurate data to understand what the most relevant offer will be, and there is also a need to integrate relevant imagery, often on a piece-by-piece basis. Errors can be devastating. They are also intimidating because they require the integration of alternative media, which is not necessarily a core competency at most printing firms today.
 

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