By Cassandra Balentine
Offering more than commodity print, marketing service providers (MSPs) are well versed on providing multiple channels—from print to email and even SMS services. The benefit of providing a variety of outlets for client marketing messaging allows MSPs to provide a total solution for the best results. Additionally, since many channels require complex data management and variable data execution, customers often sign on for more than a one-off print job.
Multiple Focus Areas
Founded in Des Moines, IA in 1973 as a commercial print provider, TPI has grown into much more with 200 full-time employees on staff today.
Back in 1977, the print provider installed one of its state’s first four-color presses. The installation doubled the speed of production and allowed customers to see completed jobs in real time. In 1985, TPI took on computer-aided print systems. “Through this innovative approach to data management, electronic customer orders were transmitted through telephone lines to on-site modems at TPI,” explains Rodney Wells, VP of operations, TPI. This eliminated the need to manually file and input data, and drastically lowered costs and production time.
Before variable data publishing was a common industry buzzword, Wells recalls TPI’s similar technology, which it referred to then as database publishing. In 1989, data-driven printing with an unlimited number of versions comprised nearly 70 percent of its business. Through this process, the company was able to print customized materials based off interests, geographical locations, and varied offers.
Currently, TPI’s core product offerings surround variable data programming and include direct mail, variable email, digital mailers, and mobile applications (apps). The direct marketing vendor does a lot with the gaming industry, enabling casino operators to deliver complex variable offers to their players through its various channel offerings.
While its business stems from a commercial print background, it offers ancillary digital services, in which it strives to utilize the same data source and repurpose it for multiple channels. “This really is the shortest point between multiple outputs. We feel that one data source to drive all possible output media channels is the safest and best approach. That is to say that the same data set used to produce a physical direct mail piece is used to produce email, the digital mail piece, and drive much of the mobile app,” explains Wells.
In addition to variable direct mail and digital mail pieces, the company also finds success producing flip books for its clients. “By design, these pieces are a digital representation of the physical mail piece. It is simplistic and gives the user the ability to keep a direct mail piece in their pocket via whatever smart device they have on them at the time,” says Wells.
In order to properly manage and execute multi-channel marketing campaigns, TPI understands the importance of workflow. The company operates the Quadient Inspire customer communications management (CCM) solution to stay on top of this.
Quadient Inspire provides the MSP with control over the systems and processes it uses to design and deliver traditional communications across all channels. It is designed to make it easier to bring together the entire organization in the name of customer experience—enabling collaboration across the business, visibility throughout the customer journey, and the ability to take immediate action to improve the customer experience.
In a way, Wells says TPI invested in Quadient before actually investing in it. “We became a Quadient Inspire shop years ago. In January 2017 we really started to see the full potential of the company’s suite of products when used together. After brief evaluation, we went completely live with Quadient in April 2017,” explains Wells.
When looking into its workflow options, TPI considered its biggest challenges. “Time is always against you in a deadline-driven process,” comments Wells. He says the company had run the gauntlet of adding personnel and additional processing strings and found no real gain. “When you manage work for 300-plus gaming entities, adding an employee here and there may help for a time, but eventually it takes a real, dynamic shift in a process to gain any measurable results.”
The search for the best software solution consisted of evaluating software packages that would perform all the sets needed to presort a data set. “Our then current license was about to expire and we felt that due to that single fact, a shopping trip for what else was out there was in order. We’ve been doing this a long time. Some our employees have 20-plus years of experience in data processing in conjunction to postal presort, so the search really didn’t take long,” admits Wells.
Quadient came out on top because it was able to couple intuitive, visual data processing elements along with the presort functionality in such a way that it could all happen in line. Up to this point, presort was a secondary process. “Our process was riddled with choke points and stoppages that robbed us and our customers of time,” says Wells. Quadient allowed them for the first time to run a data set from front to back without all the mucking about in choke points. “It gave us time back.”
Since implementation, the company saves a lot of time. “We hit deadlines and work is flowing. We bought time when we bought Quadient,” says Wells.
One of TPI’s primary customer segments is the gaming and casino industry.
TPI completes ongoing work for a gaming property that involves complete automation from data reception to PDF proof generation, including all the necessary data reconciliation and postal reports.
In campaigns that happen weekly, creative is produced and submitted by the client for a small print run that includes many variable data elements. The campaign features a casino promotion for new members, which includes cash offers, food offers, and associated copy and valid dates driven from company data. Quadient Inspire helps TPI manage the many coupon copy changes that need to be accounted for as directed by the data.
Wells notes that while print runs are small, Quadient helps with time savings as they do not have to assign any staff to work on the job. “The client simply drops off a data set to a secure FTP location; Quadient picks it up from there and processes all the way through to proofs, which are then placed back on the secure FTP for customer pick up and evaluation. The employee that would have been needed to interact with that data set has been freed up to work on other, more complex jobs.
TPI is committed to print, but it’s also focused on other communication channels that help bolster results and make a lasting impression. The company finds success utilizing a CCM solution and offering omni-channel marketing options.
May2019, DPS Magazine