Variable Data Works Magic for Disney
BEING IN the printing industry, it’s hard not to have a skewed view of developments in the variable data marketing arena. The topic has received so much play, it’s easy to assume everyone has heard about this marketing technique and technology by now. Certainly, it has to be old hat for a marketing force such as Disney.
Until last year, however, Disney Destinations had been sending out a generic package to anyone who contacted the company for information about booking an event at one of Disney’s five resort properties. Worse yet, there was no follow- up with these prospects. The sales staff just waited for that person to initiate contact again—or not—after receiving the materials.
Disney Destinations’ marketing department decided the time had come to revamp the collateral materials and practices the company used with business-to-business prospects. It was sending out “a box of pamphlets” to every prospect, many of which didn’t apply to the given recipient. The cost of storing and printing the materials was high and, if any details changed, the materials had to be discarded and reprinted.
[ The Proposition ]
Disney Destinations had worked with New York-based Royal Impressions on a few projects before, including a customer “Welcome” mailer project, so it was comfortable teaming up with the company on a solution. Along with digital and offset printing, the marketing and graphic communications provider offers data analytics, creative, variable data and e-mail services.
Starting with the same approach used for the Welcome mailer, the event company’s manager already had a vision for a strategy and had created a mock-up of a personalized brochure. Working together, the companies developed a plan that would allow the Disney Destinations sales team to customize materials to each person who called or inquired via the Website for information about facilities for an event.
According to the plan, each prospect is to receive a full-color, 24-page booklet tailored to provide all of the information the group needs to make a decision, including the options that are appropriate for the type of event being planned. People who ask about booking a small meeting, for example, receive information only about services related to smaller venues and not larger conference facilities.
[ The Solution ]
To get the project started, contact information for dormant prospects—people who had asked for information, but who hadn’t booked an event—was used. Also included in this prospect group were people who had previously booked an event, but hadn’t booked another one in the past 12 months.
Customized booklets were, and continue to be, produced and mailed by Royal Impressions. Content—copy and images—are drawn from a database based on information collected by the sales team about the prospect. Each booklet is 100 percent variable, with the names of the event, sponsor and prospect used throughout, and the pages built from 3,000 combinations of text and images. Files are sent twice a week to the printer, where they are produced and mailed to prospects within 72 hours.
Royal Impressions produced the initial run of 1,650 booklets using a Xerox DocuColor 6060 digital production system and Xerox ASF 100 bookletmaker. Pages were prepared with Pageflex Mpower variable data software.
[ The Results ]
Based on the very positive response from the original group of prospects, Disney Destinations discontinued its use of static sales collateral. It now mails out customized booklets to 25-50 prospects a week. Both response rates and conversion rates have more than doubled because “prospects are happy to just get the information they need to make a decision.” The company’s printing and storage costs have been cut in half and, if details need to be changed, there no longer is any wasted material because nothing is printed in advance.
Encouraged by the results, the event company has launched marketing initiatives—such as e-mail campaigns—that encourage recipients to request a booklet and educate new clients on Disney’s offerings. Whenever the company does an e-mail campaign, the message includes a link to a personalized URL where the prospect can fill out the necessary information to receive a customized brochure.
Disney Destinations has also been following up with prospects who received a brochure, but didn’t respond or call to book an event. Having access to the information provided by prospects makes it easier for the sales team to talk with them.
Once the initial phase of the new marketing strategy was completed, the company began the process of renting e-mail lists and finding prospects to reach out to people who haven’t initiated contact. Working with Royal Impressions, Disney Destinations is also developing more customized communications, including a possible “What’s New” mailer. PI
This case study was derived from PODi’s Best Practices in Digital Print collection. With more than 300 case studies, it is the largest collection ever assembled of successful digital printing projects. PODi is an industry initiative with hundreds of member companies, including executive board members EFI, HP, Pitney Bowes, Quark and Xerox. PODi members receive free access to the case studies, as well as other resources including presentations, reports and online seminars. Membership in PODi is open to companies and organizations involved in digital printing. For more information on joining PODi or submitting your own case study, visit www.podi.org.