Variable Faces Adorn P3/NY Membership Mailer

A New York-area print production trade group hopes that a variable-data mail campaign featuring different covers based on the identity of the recipient will boost membership 50 percent.

The “P3 Is Me!” effort by the Partnership for Print Production/NY went into the mail this week to 2,000 prospects with the goal of achieving a 10 percent response rate and increasing membership from 400 to 600 by next spring. Pete Peterson, membership co-chairman of P3/NY, thinks the goal can be reached through a combination of data and digital print technology.

“As with any direct marketing, it comes down to the message and targeting,” said Peterson, who is also New York senior account executive for Strine Printing, York, PA. “I think we have a good message and have done good things with the mailing list to produce a good target group.”

P3/NY formed last year and is nearing its first anniversary. It was born of a merger of two New York print production groups, Women in Production and the Association of Publication Production Managers. It represents all sides of the production business including agencies, corporate print buyers and managers and magazine and book publishers.

P3/NY had done little membership direct mailing. Its previous effort was a six-panel brochure it would place in a No. 10 envelope and send to prospective members.

With this campaign, P3/NY used a 10-panel brochure produced on Strine's Hewlett-Packard 3050 digital press. Strine is the largest HP Indigo facility in the Northeast, Peterson said.

Using a digital press, Strine could produce a highly personalized mailer. The brochure addresses the recipient by name repeatedly, and its reply form comes filled out with recipients' information. All they need to do is fill out the remaining blanks and drop it in the mail. They also can reply by going to P3/NY's Web site, which is becoming a main response mechanism for the group, Peterson said. Membership fees are $95 for individuals and $500 for a corporate membership covering six individuals.

“You have to do everything you can to make it as easy as possible to join,” he said. “It's all about taking the person as close to the decision point as possible and helping them out as much as you can.”

Another example of variable data on the brochure is how the image on the front panel varies based on the recipient's identity. P3/NY broke its prospect list into three groups — corporate, agency and publishing — and varied the cover panel to suit each segment.

Publishing industry prospects received brochures with a picture and quote from Diane Pesce, director of quality control operations at Conde Nast Publications, on the front panel. Agency prospects got Bob Mintz, senior vice president and manager of graphic services at McCann-Erickson New York, while corporate prospects got Tim McCabe, vice president of marketing production at Tiffany & Co.

The brochure also has an inside image of a New York University graphic design student. The student shows management-level prospects how P3/NY membership could help them provide educational opportunities to rookie employees, Peterson said.

The images provide recognizable faces to prospective members and show the relevancy of P3/NY membership, he said. P3/NY's board of directors came up with names for the prospect list on their own, so detailed information about each prospect was available to make the use of variable data possible.

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