By Cassandra Carnes
Digital is everything to CyberChrome, Inc. The Branford, CT-based digital graphics service provider emphasizes front-end skill as a means to success. CyberChrome comes from a prepress background, having developed its own prepress system to produce product catalogs nearly ten years ago. The company operates two locations in Branford, CT and Fishers, IN.
Established in 1989, the full service provider offers everything from strategic and creative services and database and campaign management to a complete printing, finishing, and mailing operation. From its conception, the company decided to focus all efforts on digital media. The company consciously decided on a niche market of digital production during its transition to a full service provider in the late nineties.
To fulfill the digital media requirements of its customers, CyberChrome’s headquarters runs a complete front-end prepress; job entry and estimating tools; two Xerox iGen3 digital color production presses, a B&W Xerox Nuvera 100; a digital four-color envelope press from PSI; a Hewlett-Packard Designjet 5500 wide format printer; and an array of finishing and mailing solutions. The company also employs Online Print Solutions (OPS) Product Suite to aid in the creation and delivery of variable data and cross-media campaigns. The OPS suite includes cross-media, Web-to-print (W2P), and retail print components.
For CyberChrome, there are numerous benefits to an entirely digital operation. For one, the company is always on the verge of the latest trends, and offers expertise in areas that commercial shops with traditional print backgrounds are just beginning to explore. "Basically we’ve provided variable data services since our entry into digital print. We also began offering W2P services very early on," says Steven Reynolds, director of technology, CyberChrome.
Digital print often means automation and efficiency. Turnaround time is of increased importance with digital print, as short runs and time-sensitive materials are well poised for digital production. With its two Xerox iGen3 digital presses running two shifts, CyberChrome is able to provide a high level of service for on demand turnaround.
The company is outfitted with a knowledgeable staff. Art Satterthwaite, president, CyberChrome, explains that its IT, marketing, production, and sales staff work together with clients from the beginning, ensuring that everyone is on the same page. This strategy increases efficiency and helps to avoid missed opportunities, benefiting both the company and client. The team approach to projects is advantageous, especially as the industry moves from commodity printing to solution selling. "We’ve been creating variable data, cross-media work for about ten years now. So our sales staff is reasonably educated, and they are able to identify opportunities that customers might not recognize on their own," says Satterthwaite.
The sales process relies on the staff’s proficiency of each specific vertical. Sales must be able to identify business needs and pain points. Once a meeting is setup by the sales representative, a team begins collaboration with the client to discuss the campaign. "This group effort is great. Jobs are carefully planned and thought out by the time it comes to execution," says Reynolds.
CyberChrome recently created a variable data, cross-channel campaign for a major international insurance company. CyberChrome and the insurance company worked closely together on a pilot campaign to attract new independent agents by presenting information about a new product.
"Part of what we do in terms of selling cross-channel campaigns is really place a lot of effort up front," explains Reynolds. Once the business goals were realized, they produced a polished presentation with visual elements that explained how the campaign will meet these goals.
The pilot program was designed to prove the effectiveness of cross-media marketing for the client. This goal was met and surpassed. It included two weeks of strategy and planning and an additional two weeks of design and implementation. Mail drops began in April 2009, data gathering concluded one month after launch, and the landing page remained active for two months. The campaign generated an 18 percent total measured response.
In this instance, the components consisted of a highly targeted direct mail campaign, personalized URL (pURL), and an email to notify the corporate side of recipient interest. CyberChrome handled everything from conception, campaign procedure creation, design, IT, Web setup, and hosting.
The print piece included geographical variables and was sent to 1,000 individuals. The list was compiled and supplied by the customer and consisted of geographically targeted independent agents. Elements from the print piece were carried over to a pURL that integrated a variety of educational materials.
Out of the 1,000 pieces sent, approximately 180 responded—a conversion rate of 16 percent. A response was counted when a broker or reseller visited the pURL and indicated their interest in the product. "In the world of direct mail, that is an astronomical result. The client was thrilled," says Reynolds.
CyberChrome emphasizes its customer support. This client/customer alliance is a chain effect that trickles down from CyberChrome’s relationship with OPS. "I consider them a technology partner that provides the full complement of Web-enabled tools for print communication," says Reynolds.
The digital graphics provider started offering variable data and W2P services early on. Soon pURL and additional multi-channel technologies developed and they realized the need for a more integrated solution. About two to three years after offering initial pURL and W2P services, CyberChrome integrated OPS. "The real attraction is that they had taken all of those elements and put them into one technology package," explains Reynolds. "They offer a very robust W2P application that does everything one would expect in terms of online personalization, including some slick tools for visual customization in the Web browser," he adds.
Additionally, they wanted a company they could work closely with, and OPS fit the bill. After talking to OPS and some of their other clients, CyberChrome got the impression that they were easy to work with and willing to listen to help further develop their product.
In terms of responding to the challenges in cross-channel campaign deployment, OPS offers a variety of tools built into the administrative side of the program. The campaign management administration setup allows users to define the steps of a campaign within the platform, including chronological differences and A/B splits that determine an action based on a specific campaign response from the recipient.
CyberChrome’s experience and understanding of digital print prepress and front-end work is one significant driver for their success. "A lot of companies may have a simple pURL system and a digital press—they are not necessarily equipped to handle all of the complexity on the backend," says Reynolds.
A mixture of team strategy, customer collaboration, and vendor support helps CyberChrome remain on the leading edge of the latest in digital communications. dps