His other recommendation for making the most of small budgets is to do short bursts with heavy frequency. Regardless of size, a common error made in marketing efforts is the tendency to penalize loyal customers, Cone noted. He suggested that a natural application of variable data would be to create a campaign recognizing a customer for consecutive years of business.
The marketer also pointed out that the number one reason to advertise is to get employees excited and make them feel good about the company.
In the branding session that kicked off day two, Micha Riss, creative director of the Flying Machine advertising agency in New York, asserted that every touch point with a customer is part of a company’s brand, and they all should be interlaced. Speaking for himself, Riss noted he is bothered by having beautiful printed pieces delivered in ugly shipping boxes from printers. “We want to get our pieces out (of the boxes) as quickly as possible and hide the boxes.”
More than a dozen other sessions addressed marketing, database, cross-media and variable data how-to topics. Attendees were also given an opportunity for one-on-one learning by spending time at the more than 20 vendor display tables.
The best way to sell new clients on the value in variable data marketing is to start with a loyalty campaign to their existing customers, advised M.J. Anderson, vice president of creative services at Trekk Cross-Media in Rockford, IL, in a session on “Building a Creative Partnership.” He said that returns from a prospecting piece are unlikely to justify use of the technique, especially as a first-time effort.
Anderson further recommended that printers propose doing a test with variable data prospects and kick in some press time or other services as an inducement. “Also, look for other measurable goals that can show value, not just a lift in response rate,” he advised.