Case Study: The Bradford Group's Gold-Plated Marketing Efficiency
In the early ’70s, The Bradford Exchange’s computerized trading system helped set the company apart from its collectible-plate competitors because its customers could get real-time market prices in order to buy and sell plates. By 2015, though, a main differentiator between The Bradford Group — a company that now encompasses 16 brands, including The Bradford Exchange — is what might be called an old-time value.
Challenge: Increase marketing efficiency.
Solution: Apply marketing automation to print marketing.
- 90% faster time-to-market on campaigns
- 75% reduction in setup time for campaigns
- Eliminated pre-print and storage
Unlike other e-commerce businesses that only provide package labels or maybe packing slips inside deliveries, the group sends personalized invoices and letters with one of the 16 brand logos, a “thank you,” a product description, and information about customer service and product guarantees.
All of these shipping invoices are folded and placed in an envelope attached to the packages. However, without marketing automation for the Niles, Ill.-based collectibles, jewelry, apparel, home décor “and more” business, the direct mail and insert process was getting out of hand. The group was sending its more than 1 million active customers tens of millions of communications printed on internal equipment that employed 27-year-old proprietary code, which had been written by a long-gone employee. It was time to outsource, recalls Wendy Ring, the group’s VP of marketing operations.
So in July 2011, The Bradford Group hired Ojai, Calif.-based marketing software and services provider Elixir Technologies to help the company continue to stand out, while using a lot less sweat.
“We decided to upgrade virtually all aspects of our customer correspondence,” Ring says. “We made it much more dynamic, much more automated in the sense that we don’t have to set each and every product up. We have over 25,000 SKUs, so you can imagine that we had a person who was trying to manage all 25,000 of them at any one time.”