AffinityCom was born in September 2008 out of a collaboration between experienced digital print specialist Jean-Christophe Beauvais and digital data management specialist Thierry Dethan. “We launched AffinityCom by bringing together our skills in marketing, digital data management and printing,” explains Jean-Christophe Beauvais, Graphic Production Specialist at AffintyCom. “We wanted to position ourselves as a new generation of printer.”
Five years on, the young company is capable of running the entire personalised document production chain. Based in Caen, AffinityCom boasts a 14-person team made up of graphic designers, digital print specialists, project managers, clean room data hosting specialists and sales and marketing people.
When developing a cross-media approach, AffinityCom creates a campaign scenario with an integrated database to map the potential reactions and responses of its clients’ target audiences down to an individual respondent level. The next step is to adapt this ultra-personalised message to the medium decided upon for each client, whether that is email, print, SMS, MMS, personalised URLs, static websites, videos or any combination thereof.
AffinityCom’s ultimate goal was to establish a complete cross-media campaign service, including the comprehensive analysis and detailed post-campaign reporting that customers expect from larger agencies. The challenge facing the company was to sustain its print business while simultaneously managing the data infrastructure and combining creativity, management and print.
“We wanted to be able to integrate our solution with any digital production printing unit. They all have a similar offering but it’s the marketing and promotional campaign that goes with it that makes the difference”, stresses Jean-Christophe.
“Canon’s senior managers came to see us, and DirectSmile’s executives also came specifically from Berlin”, says Thierry Dethan. The company then worked to evaluate the solution’s potential for winning business in new value-added markets through extensive use of Variable Data Printing (VDP).
Once the negotiations reached a conclusion and DirectSmile® Cross Media was selected, the software suites were delivered in March 2010 and a week’s training was delivered by DirectSmile experts.
Rather than using the standard image templates available, AffinintyCom brought in a web designer and developer to set up the campaign automation processes within DirectSmile®.
Since investing in the software solution, AffinityCom has been proactively seeking out new cross-media marketing solutions to offer clients and new business prospects.
With DirectSmile we started out with the intention of driving highly effective, targeted campaigns that generate a much higher ROI than traditional direct mail,” says Jean-Christophe. “However, since making the investment we’ve expanded our offering even further so that we now offer additional services such as personalised video.
Thierry adds, “In addressing the marketing needs of our customers, we have discovered that we can tap into far bigger markets than we had imagined, and leverage the same marketing strategies that large organisations use.”
Since launching its new cross-media service offering, AffinityCom has come to see itself as a business generator. The company is working to form partnerships with other digital printing providers, offering them value-added products that are outside their own range. The company is also planning to work on projects with marketing agencies.
The future has no limits for us,” concludes Jean-Christophe. “All we need is the right combination of digital equipment, software solutions, well-trained staff and a little imagination.