Data driving digital transition

Vertis‘ CEO Allen on what print marketers need to know about digital and database marketing

Q: What’s your advice for marketers facing today’s digital transition?

A: To be a great direct marketer, you have to have information about the individuals you are actually trying to reach. Data are important, so you need technology and a lot of know-how around that.

Q: What does this mean for service providers?

A: Our strength is in data management, but also in telling our customers how best to create campaigns to reach the audience that they want to reach. The important thing for any company in the space is having the data, the analytics to apply to those data and the measurement tools to say how well each campaign actually worked.

Q: Where do you see growth potential?

A: The world is changing with the Internet, so we’re looking at a combination of direct mail and Internet where we can create microsites, personalized URLs (PURLs) and e-mail blasts. The new generation of consumers gets its information online, and we have to communicate in the medium in which the customer actually receives information. What you’re working with is really a set of data, and deciding whether it ends up as paper-based direct mail, or e-mail, or PURLs or microsites is the challenge. It’s our job to figure out the best mix.

Q: What is the role of microsegmenting?

A: I think this notion of reaching microsegments even down to the person is incredibly important. The more I understand about you, the higher the probability I can actually reach you.

Q: What is your outlook on the future of the marketing and printing industry?

A: I see the trend, especially with the Internet, of being able to market to a customer group of one. Everyone wants things customized to themselves now, everything is going one-to-one.

Q: What’s the biggest mistake people make in this business?

A: People blast information out without knowing beforehand how customers will take it and what they will do with it. Having that customer knowledge is necessary. Lots of people still do mass mailings without targeting a particular population. You have to know who your customer is to know how many times and through what medium to send them information to make them respond in the fashion you want.

Q: What’s the best business advice you’ve received?

A: It’s about putting in the work. Everybody works hard, so to compete you have to think deeply about what makes you who you are and what will make you different than the other guys to your customer. It is this idea of differentiation that we always think about, and that’s one thing I am trying to bring to Vertis — answering the question, “With everything we do, how does that benefit our customer?”

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