Lessons From the 1:1 Gurus: Rick Littrell

By | December 17, 2011

If you offer digital printing, you’ll need to be comfortable working with databases—those pesky but necessary things. To this end, I’m going to use the next few posts to share some interviews I’ve conducted with some of the industry’s leading experts on 1:1 printing.

This week, we listen to the insight of Rick Littrell, president and CMO of Magicomm.

HTW: Before launching any 1:1 printing campaign, you first have to plan it. Where do you begin?

Litrell: To plan a campaign, you must start by asking some basic questions.

  • What is the client’s target market?
  • What is its value proposition?
  • What pain points is it fixing at a high level?
  • Is the company entering a new market or expanding into an existing market?

If the client is producing a B2B application, you also need to know what level in the company you should be dealing with. Sometimes it’s the CEO. Other times it’s the operations manager. Other times, it’s the sales manager. Sometimes it’s a combination.

HTW: Once you have this information, how do you use it?

Litrell: We have had good success with segmenting the message based on title within target companies. This means targeting the message to multiple people within the same company, each with a slightly different angle that makes the pitch relevant to them. The CEO wants your product for one reason. The COO wants it for another. Then you get a feel for why they buy. What are their pain points? This allows you to plan your messaging accordingly.

Once we know who we are talking to and what motivates them, we like to validate this with real users. I’ll ask my clients to give me the top 10 people who use their product or service so I can talk to them. I want to find out if there is something hidden that the client doesn’t know about.

HTW: How about your mailing list? How do you handle that?

Litrell: It starts by finding out what type of list does the client has. Is it an internal list or a purchased list? If it’s an in-house list, do you need to add variables to it? Does the client want to expand that list to add new prospects? If so, what is the profile of the person you are going after? What data do you need to meet that profile? Where are you going to get it? How much data is available?

Once you have answers to these questions, you can start appending variables as it makes sense for the campaign.

HTW: With data, the opportunities are just about endless. I assume you help the client balance opportunity with cost.

Litrell: Absolutely. After the brainstorming session, clients’ creativity is often racing, and imagination outruns the budget extremely quickly. At this point, I’ll go back to the budget and bring it into reality. The client may be dreaming up a $250,000 campaign and they are only a $2 million company. So we need to figure out the best way to accomplish the most within their budget.

HTW: To what extent do you mix print with other media?

Litrell: One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that multi-channel campaigns really work. For that reason, most of what we do is multi-touch. This means prioritizing the media we are going to use. How much print does the client really want? How much email? Will we shoot video? The budget really flushes that out. Just for the production portion of the job, you can assume $1 per postcard print and mail (not including databases or development). Therefore, if the client has a $30,000 budget and wants to mail to 20,000 people, they can’t do it. You’ll have to segment by media. Start with media like email and social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Then mail to a smaller segment of the overall list.

HTW: Of course, with any 1:1 printing strategy, it’s critical to track the metrics. How are your clients measuring results?

Litrell: As you go along, you need to set goals and design in metrics so you know how your strategy is working. How many leads are you getting? How are you going to track that? By number of Webinar sign-ups? Web traffic? Are you tracking revenue? Ideally, you want to tie everything to revenue generation if you can. We know this person was in the database, we touched them, and then they purchased. Sometimes the touch doesn’t turn into revenue for six months — long after the campaign is actually over. It’s hard to measure that, but it’s a good practice to put a plan into place to try.

As we go along, we have a strategy document that we give to the client as a roadmap. We like to get their sign-off. Is this right? Yes or no? This way, the strategy is clear and understood by everyone. Then we can begin the content development.

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Next week, we’ll listen to the input of Jeff Stewart from Trekk Cross-Media.


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