Donnelly, Experian Partner for Financial Services Marketing

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Printing services firm R.R. Donnelley Financial, New York, launched a strategic alliance with database management company Experian, Orange, CA, yesterday that will allow it to enhance the services it provides for its mutual fund customers and other clients.

Neither Donnelley Financial, the newest business unit of printing giant R.R. Donnelley & Sons, Chicago, nor Experian would disclose the terms of the alliance.

"Where we believe it comes into play is in helping our customers define who their target audience is," said Susan Tidsdale, director of business development at Donnelley Financial. "One of the things that customers come to us for is to manage their communications from creation to dissemination, and we see this as an extension to that."

For example, the Experian databases and database analysis tools could be used by mutual fund companies to develop marketing campaigns that target customers who are at risk of leaving to join other mutual funds, based on profiles of customers who have already done so.

"I think where we're going to get involved is helping the mutual fund client target and segment their prospect bases, in terms of a better understanding of who they are targeting," said Susan Wilson, vice president of sales at Experian. "And then Donnelley has the print engine to drive and customize the documentation."

The alliance also gives Experian exposure to some new types of customers. Currently the company's financial business primarily focuses on banking service and credit cards.

In addition, Donnelley Financial also provides printing services for the investor communications and healthcare industries. Both companies' healthcare divisions target health maintenance organizations, patient provider organizations and pharmaceutical companies.

"We think that with the onslaught of direct-to-consumer communications [in the healthcare industry], we believe that is opening up the need for targeted and personalized communications," said Wilson.

The agreement extends a longtime partnership between Donnelley and Experian. Until 1996, Donnelley had owned MetroMail Corp., one the three companies that merged to form Experian. Other Donnelley business units also have relationships with Experian.

Meanwhile, Donnelley Financial, which had revenues of about $500 million last year and is the fast-growing of Donnelley's business units, also said it sealed an agreement with PostX Corp. to use the that company's PostX Express password-protected e-mail delivery service. The service could be used to replace some first class mail that is used to send financial statements, according to a Donnelley spokesman.

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