Behind the Scenes of the PRINTING United Direct Mail Campaign Strategy
In mid-July, I hopped on a train to Philadelphia and spent the day at NAPCO Media headquarters to work on a very special project. I was brought in to help develop a direct mail strategy for the first-ever PRINTING United show in Dallas, Oct. 23-25, 2019. The mail campaign had to drive home all of the marketing efforts throughout the year during the critical registration period prior to the event, with a goal of driving 30,000-plus registrations leading into the show. In parallel, there would also be a loyalty campaign running for those who had already registered.
The planning for this campaign was a team effort. In the room that day with me was Mark Subers, Chris Lyons, and Matt Steinmetz from the executive team at NAPCO, and Nicole Gormley and David Tomko from the NAPCO marketing and design teams, while Sarah Helminiak and James Martin of SGIA joined us virtually.
For the registration drive, we had to work quickly to develop the messaging and content, as the scheduling of the mailings would be critical. We didn’t have time for testing, and the stakes were high — the mailing lists were 190,000-plus strong. We decided on a wave mailing of three pieces — a large card (billboard) format mailer, a closed gate self-mailer in an unusual, landscape proportion, and for the grand finale, a personalized wrapped stepped accordion self-mailer. Without getting too deep into the weeds, we planned for personalization and segmentation among each wave mailing, but the most excitement was planned for the final mailer — our “capstone” piece.
The capstone piece in the campaign was designed to harness the power of digital print and automated finishing. We leveraged technology and personalization opportunities through relevant data and imagery, and chose an engaging self-mailing stepped accordion format that offered a unique opening experience and a tabbed design that offered easy access to all of the information.
How it was Made
GEOservices and Mapping technology company, locr was charged with generating custom maps for the mailer. The maps would be used to showcase the centralized location and the ease of getting to the show – to visually demonstrate that Dallas is not more than a 3.5 hour flight from any address in the United States. We decided that anyone within 100 miles of the show would receive a driving map, and the rest would receive a plane route map. The PRINTING United Marketing Team sent locr a targeted subsection of the mailing list and locr sent back personalized maps assigned to each person on the list — 80,000 of them, to be exact. In addition to the customized maps, each mailer was also personalized on several other points, including first name, and education session suggestions by segment (commercial, in-plant, graphics, etc.).
The piece was then printed on a Canon Océ ProStream™ 1000 high-productivity continuous-feed inkjet press on Verso 7-pt. Sterling Gloss Cover, and machine-folded and glued on an MBO finishing line at the facility of a Canon Solutions America client in the Midwest.
Well, the capstone mailer just hit mailboxes last week, but things are looking good. Each wave of the campaign went out on time without a hitch, and our print efforts have supported all of the other marketing channels of the overall campaign. Registrations are on track to hit established goals, and it’s looking like PRINTING United is going to be a great show! I hope to see you there.
Trish Witkowski is Chief Folding Fanatic at the online community foldfactory.com. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in graphic design and a master of science degree in Graphic Arts Publishing from Rochester Institute of Technology's School of Printing Management and Sciences (now the School of Print Media).
An award-winning designer, Trish held the position of creative director for a Baltimore-based agency for six years, and has taught design and desktop publishing at the college level. She has a specialized expertise in the area of folding and is the creator of the FOLDRite™ system, a 2004 GATF InterTech™ Technology Award winner.
Trish frequently publishes articles for graphic arts industry publications, and has written three books on the topic of folding: A Field Guide to Folding, Folding for the Graphic Arts: A Teacher's Handbook, and FOLD: The Professional's Guide to Folding.