Variable Printing Helps TPN Rev Interest in Auto Racing World

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The Print Network increased company sales 10 percent last year after using variable printing to send targeted direct mail promoting its services to segments of the auto racing world.


TPN, Torrance, CA, a single-location printing resource, entered the market in 2004 after sending a direct mail campaign promoting its design and graphics services to teams and suppliers who attended the Performance Racing Industry trade show, which annually attracts 45,000 members of the racing industry from 40 countries. TPN conceptualizes, designs, prints and fulfills media guides, hero cards, event programs, posters, proposals and marketing and print collateral.


The trade show, affiliated with the monthly business magazine Performance Racing Industry, takes place in the fall and targets racing teams, racing retailers, race engine builders, racecar fabricators and race engineers.


TPN used the trade show's list again this year, and after the show in late November sent two personalized mail pieces targeting racing teams: one was skewed to younger managers and the other to older ones. Both promoted its work for the Grand American Road Racing Association. The pieces also directed people to www.theprintnetwork.com and provided two telephone numbers and contacts.


Thanks to the mailing, the company signed four new teams in the Champ Car and National Hot Rod Association series, including the NHRA's U.S. Army team. They join other clients participating in many of the top professional racing series such as Grand American Road Racing, Indy Racing League, Sports Compact, AMA Supercross/Motocross and Karting.


Some mail pieces also targeted teams in different racing series.


"The NHRA is more of a family experience, with a grassroots fan base," TPN president Marshall Perkins said. Champ Car "is a lot more sophisticated. The fans are more interested in the subtleties of equipment and in the track venue. It is a very sophisticated, international crowd."


Variable printing lets images "easily be swapped out depending on what series [we are targeting]," he said. "The images of the tires, the hospitality tents, everything is very different in the mail pieces."


After TPN began targeting the racecar industry, the new customers "increased our business 10 percent," he said. "We are expecting to make a little bit more this year."


To print the mail pieces both years, TPN used its Xerox iGen3 110 Digital Production Press, which prints standard 8.5-by-11-inch jobs at 110 pages per minute and smaller sheet sizes at up to 120 pages per minute.


"The iGen3 was an essential component in helping us secure these accounts," Perkins said. Besides the DM pieces, the business that resulted from the campaigns also depends on the on-demand capabilities of the iGen3. In the racing industry, "everything changes from week to week. Results change, drivers change -- one driver gets injured, another driver is brought in, so we need the ability to make changes to the guides and other materials in real time."


Though the work for the teams is important, perhaps more important is the relationship TPN has developed with the different series' sponsors. The company worked with Lowes stores on in-house promotional materials for the Lowes Fernandez Grand Am Racing team. The promotion, which features Mexican racecar driver Adrian Fernandez, will be in stores this week.


"We started off doing the fan base materials for the team," Perkins said. "Because of the relationship, we moved into the relationship with the ... sponsor."


The on-demand capabilities also are important.


"As we go through the season and race results change, we may need to change the messaging," Perkins said.


Other sponsors TPN has worked with through its sponsorship relationships with racing teams are SunTrust bank and The Hole in Wall Gang camps.


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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