SpecComm chooses ARGI as subscription-fulfillment provider

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Business-to-business publisher SpecComm International has selected ARGI as its new subscription-fulfillment provider.

Montvale, NJ-based ARGI will be managing the subscription databases for six print magazines and online guides that SpecComm produces. Use of ARGI's subscription-fulfillment services is expected to streamline operations at SpecComm.

"I think it's going to put us on a much better level playing field," said Lesley Castle, vice president of operations at SpecComm. "The technology that ARGI can offer us is more advanced than what we have currently, so it allows flexibility in what we can offer to our readers.

"It frees up some internal resources for us in order to concentrate more on what we feel the mission of the company is, and that's to provide quality, reliable and timely editorial content to our readers," she said.

SpecComm, based in Raleigh, NC, also expects to benefit from ARGI's recent purchase of the Reader Service business from MediaBrains. SpecComm was already a client of Reader Service. ARGI's acquisition of MediaBrains will allow SpecComm to track reader service requests on subscription records and automatically pitch non-subscribers through marketing efforts.

SpecComm reviewed a number of vendors before deciding on ARGI. One factor behind SpecComm's choice was its membership in the Integrated Media Cooperative and ARGI's recent addition as a vendor partner for the IMC. The IMC negotiates price discounts with vendor partners.

Dave Hendricks, vice president of sales and marketing at ARGI, believes that his company was chosen by SpecComm because it offers a unique view of the customer.

"The advantage that ARGI has is the ability to take these two things - lead-gen and subscription fulfillment - and merge them," Mr. Hendricks said.

Founded in 1981, SpecComm publishes 16 magazines and guides to BTB and consumer markets. It also produces newsletters, Web offerings, research and analysis, and data and custom media products.

ARGI develops, hosts and manages subscription fulfillment, reader service and database marketing programs for 200 publishing clients.

Before contracting with ARGI, SpecComm had been managing its subscription-fulfillment services in house. SpecComm now hopes to be able to focus its efforts on customer service and streamlined marketing. It plans to offer Web-based customer service that is fully integrated with its traditional magazine publications.

"We faced two challenges," said Vicki Gardner, director of information technology at SpecComm. "The first was how to manage and direct several diffuse circulation marketing efforts. Partnering with ARGI will allow us to combine several data silos into one powerful audience development tool: reader service, e-mail marketing and subscription records.

"The second and largest challenge was managing data ourselves in a day and age when circulation-fulfillment technologies and industry best practices change daily," she said.

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