Picture clear for digital print

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Following a year in which more one-to-one marketing campaigns experienced significant returns, 2007 promises to provide even more meaningful opportunities for direct marketers.

"More and more direct marketers will see the opportunities digital print can deliver - from the value of personalization, the need for faster job turnarounds times and the outstanding image quality - resulting in increased response rates and ROI," said Shelley Sweeney, vice president and general manager of the direct marketing segment at Xerox Corp.'s worldwide graphic communications business, Webster, NY.

Every vertical industry has the opportunity to grow their business using data-driven, digital-print direct-marketing campaigns, Ms. Sweeney said.

For example, Reader's Digest, a Xerox 1:1 Lab client, experienced a 74 percent increase in sales over its existing catalog with a version using relevant data to cross-sell.

Which is why staying competitive next year will require marketers putting effort into their databases.

"If you don't have a relational database with all channels tied into it, you will not succeed," said Jim Treis, executive vice president sales and marketing at Arandell Corp., Menomonee Falls, WI. "They are costly, but the ROI is short."

The good news, however, is that the tools for accessing this data and for creating meaningful reports and targeting campaigns is easier than ever.

One application of personalized, digital print campaigns this year that is expected to grow in 2007 is high-value, low-volume, event-triggered campaigns.

"As e-mail and online become more event triggered, there is going to be a corresponding print opportunity" now that high-quality four-color digital print is widely available, said Keith Wardell, president/CEO, Exmplar Inc., Fairfax, VA.

Exmplar is working with retailers that might, for example, in the past have reached out to customers who had just bought a digital camera online with an e-mail promoting various add-ons.

However, a merchant now is able, with digital print, to put a similar promotion in the mail to the 50 percent to 60 percent of its file for which it doesn't have e-mail addresses or to supplement the e-mail.

With digital print, merchants can look at the data from their Web sites on a daily basis and send event-triggered direct mail.

Mr. Wardell said high-valued customers and high-cost items are the most cost-effective targets.

"Because [the mailer] is relevant, it makes the additional price-per-thousand worth it, because it will convert at a higher rate," he said.

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