Vertis Communications

This marketing communications company delivers advertising, direct marketing, and interactive solutions to prominent brands across North America. These days, being a major player in the areas of printed advertising and direct marketing requires a lot more than just printing up inserts for the Sunday papers. “More than ever, retailers are seeking impactful communications and direct marketing programs that help drive traffic and sales,” said Quincy Allen, Vertis’ chief executive officer. “Today, the key is a multi-channel approach that leverages all of the tools retailers have at their disposal.”

Vertis designs tailored programs that solve the challenges leading retailers face in gaining marketshare. Some of the largest retail brands grew up with Vertis, which helped them evolve their strategic communications programs as times and consumers’ needs have shifted.

“We enjoy an average relationship of 14 years with category leaders like Macy’s, Kroger’s, and American Express, as well as thousands of regional players, demonstrating our commitment to all clients,” said Allen.

Vertis’ clients, which include some of the world’s largest retailers, appreciate its total solutions approach to meeting print advertising and direct marketing needs. “We help retail clients create unique and innovative consumer-engaging solutions by calling on a range of leading capabilities,” said Kathy Calta, Vertis’ chief marketing officer.

“We leverage a unique combination of strategy and insights, planning and analysis, media services, creative, technology (workflow), innovative print, and production to deliver marketing communications that are highly targeted and have proven and measurable impact for our retail clients.”

Dedicated differentiator

One of the biggest differentiators between Vertis and its competition is its dedication to providing clients with workflow solutions. “We continuously evolve our service offerings and develop new solutions to help our clients achieve operational efficiencies and/or drive incremental revenue,” Calta said.

For instance, when Franchise Services (FSI) needed to develop a centralized direct mail portal for its Sir Speedy/PIP franchisees, Vertis leveraged multi-channel and complex technology innovation, resulting in a 95% franchise adoption rate. In addition, the program was nominated for an Echo Award, bestowed by the DMA, for its creative strength.

Vertis can also help companies translate their direct marketing strategy and inserts into online tools, according to Calta. “We conduct consumer-based research that helps companies understand the importance of relevant e-mail messaging and why it’s imperative for them to consider a personalized URL as a landing point for consumers rather than a phone number,” she said.

“Our work with Bon-Ton department stores for a Clinique gift give-away campaign not only allowed the company to reach a critical mass through a circular, but also created a two-way conversation allowing consumers to chime in via text message.”

Marketing companies have to be a lot faster to deal with the increased pace of business in the Internet age. “Speed is the biggest challenge today,” said Calta. “In the old days, the turnaround times in client organizations were a lot longer. The Internet has changed the way business gets done each day, and everything has to get done faster.”

Another big change, especially in the retail world, is increased market segmentation and the need for greater personalization in targeting the right audience. Vertis’ attention to detail and focus on research can help its clients meet those challenges.

“What’s driving the increase of personalization in the market today is the cost of services, as well as the need to differentiate,” said Calta. “Much of what consumers buy in the marketplace has been commoditized, and it can be hard to get them to shop for brand A as opposed to brand B when the products are similar. Vertis continues to help its clients identify the best possible tools to maximize results, regardless of what channels they use.”

A well-kept secret

Vertis’ commitment to providing a full-range of services to its clients extends beyond marketing and advertising.

“Our packaging services are a great example of our creative capabilities,” said Calta. “We design packaging for a number of clients, from private label companies to well-recognized brands such as Hershey’s. What makes us unique is that we implement consumer research insights to help our clients design packaging that will impact consumer purchasing decisions.”

Creating effective packaging is about more than just how it looks on the shelf, however. Calta said packaging must have the right content to address consumers’ needs and supporting materials that properly reflect the brand. “We also have a wide range of formatting capabilities where we can create displays and building wraps to market products,” she said. “It’s all about connecting all the aspects of the advertising and marketing to create a consistent brand feel.”

Vertis’ commitment to serving the needs of its clients has not gone unnoticed. The company recently earned the Lowe’s vendor of the year award.

“We received this award for exceeding the client’s expectations in providing strategic solutions and superior customer service,” said Calta. “Vertis’ ability to help Lowe’s plan and distribute its newspaper inserts, as well as serve as the primary channel of distribution throughout the US and Canada, set us apart from other vendors.”

For decades, Vertis has been known for its ability to help retailers leverage their newspaper inserts programs. Calta said this is no easy task. “Successful insert programs require the ability to feature numerous products at extremely competitive pricing on a weekly basis,” she said.

Vertis’ ability to beat the competition any given week on assortment and price is a key business driver. It meets the time-sensitive needs of retailers through its integrated insert production solutions: from robust digital asset management and page building systems to highly versioned offset printing formats to coordination of logistics.

“As one of the largest media placement agencies in the US, we ensure the message is getting into the right subscriber and non-subscriber homes and that it is measured,” Calta said.

In addition, Vertis has strategically located production facilities within 200 miles of 95% of the major newspaper markets, improving speed to market and minimizing distribution expense. Calta said she expects to see steady growth by bringing in new clients and continuing to meet the needs of its existing clients.

“Our approach is the same whether we’re developing solutions for the most widely recognized retailer in the world or the small business owner that is looking to stay competitive on a local level,” said Calta. “We stay current with their needs, create a cost-effective and customized program that is targeted to their customer, and deliver a solution that will get results and improve their return on investment.”