Cross Media: A New Role for the In-plant
BACK IN the day, in-plants ranged from traditional offset operations to copy centers to being part of data center operations. Their main purpose in life was putting ink or toner on paper, charging the job to the appropriate client or cost center, and moving on to the next one. It was great while it lasted.
Today, in-plants have the opportunity to change the scope of their offerings by adding the same kinds of non-print services offered by many commercial operations. These new offerings—often termed cross-media or integrated services—typically involve some type of outgoing marketing offers or other communications to customers or prospects. They use both print and electronic media—e-mail, texting, "landing pages" or microsites on the Web—to deliver related messages that engage the recipient with a goal of selling a product or service or improving customer relations.
The best are two-way conversations offering multiple opportunities for your company, its customers and its prospects to interact at a more personal level than with ordinary print and mail messaging. There are numerous examples in the commercial print space, but let's look at a couple that pose opportunities for in-plant shops.
The Higher-ed Opportunity
Colleges and universities, home of some of the largest in-plant operations, often need to bolster enrollment, perhaps even in specific programs. So instead of sending out a spray-and-pray mass mailing to high school juniors and seniors in selected zip codes, add a little personalization. Colleges can obtain broad details about the interests of students taking exams like the SAT from College Board data. It has the student's name and –address, so by using software from interlinkONE, MindFireInc or XMPie, a personalized cross-media campaign can be created that's far more likely to be opened than a generic piece of mail.
Then when Zack or Emma opens the personalized mailer from the college, they find their name inside, along with a response URL or QR code that takes them to a dynamically generated "landing page" on the Web, which they can view on their laptop or iPhone. There they get more info about the school, but can also answer a few questions about possible majors, interests, sports preferences and the like. That generates an e-mail, followed by a personalized brochure.