Valpak has entered the rollout phase for its first industry-specific program, based on the cooperative mailer's extensive research into the dining market.
Testing began in July for the Valpak Dining Program. The program grew out of research the company started when it relaunched its brand about three years ago, said Hal McMenamin, Valpak director of marketing. Valpak's parent firm is Cox Target Media, Largo, FL, which is owned by Cox Newspapers, Atlanta, a subsidiary of Cox Enterprises Inc.
“One of the things we found out early on is that consumers … particularly like to eat out, sometimes three times a day or more,” McMenamin said.
This program does not signal plans by Valpak to create envelopes limited to one industry. The company designed the dining program to offer its restaurant advertisers greater detail on the market and what consumers want.
“We can tell you by category what our consumers want, and No. 1 by far is the dining category,” he said. “So we said let's start here and see how we can develop this program as broadly as possible and give the consumers as much as possible and give the advertisers what they need also.”
Another thing consumers told Valpak was they wanted not only offers for their favorite restaurants, but multiple choices because they like to eat at different venues.
Valpak also used various data to track demographic trends regarding dining out. The company used Claritas, Scarborough, Veritas and others to pinpoint consumers, market by market, with the disposable income most likely to dine out.
The program is broken into about 50 categories of restaurants, from fast food to family dining to fine dining, and also categories such as primary food served like pizza or chicken.
“We can tell you what types of offers work for each category and how the creative should look,” McMenamin said.
Valpak breaks out statistics for its trademarked Neighborhood Trade Areas, which are groups of 10,000 households in a given location. This lets advertisers target on a local or national level.
“You can mail as few as 10,000 homes or as many as 45 million in any month,” he said, making the program as effective for the local pizzeria as it is for large national chains.
Despite the way some other cooperative mailing programs work, Valpak does not offer category exclusivity within its envelopes.
“That's an old-fashioned kind of thought,” McMenamin said. “If you go into a mall, how many shoe stores do you see? Our envelope is like a mall.”
An ideal number of dining offers in one envelope is probably eight to 12, he said.
McMenamin confirmed that Valpak has gained several clients through the dining program. Participants include Jose Peppers in Kansas City, Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurants throughout the West and South, and Kolache Depot Bakery in the Dallas area.
Testing continues, and Valpak eyes other markets for industry-specific programs. McMenamin cited entertainment and retail as possibilities.
“We want to know as much about each industry as possible so that when we talk to them we can be a true consultant and help them grow their businesses,” he said.
Another Valpak initiative to help clients expand their businesses is a state-of-the-art $200 million printing facility the company announced in July. When the production plant opens in early 2007, it will allow Valpak to offer smaller advertisers similar pricing to those using its envelopes on a larger scale.