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New VDP Web Cross Media Newsletter Published

JFM Concepts has published its next cross media marketing newsletter. The content is available online and features news, commentary, industry insight, best practices, and information designed to assist marketers in developing effective campaigns. See the page here:

Content in the spring issue includes:

- Free Print Solutions Expo Tickets
- USPS Postal Rate Increases
- Amazon failure takes down sites across Internet
- Browser Updates Break Websites
- PSDA Print Solution 2011 Education
- James Michelson of VDP Web nominated for 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year
- PSDA Interview with James Michelson
- Cross Media 101 Book
- 2011 Webinar Series & Events

JFM Concepts is a full service cross media marketing technology firm featuring the VDP Complete® marketing system and VDP Web® Online software as a service. JFM specializes in creating variable data cross media marketing technologies with Personalized URLs, Email, SMS Text, QR Codes, Phone Tracking, Video, QR Codes, and more for commercial printers, agencies, and marketing departments of all sizes. The firm knows that technology development and marketing should come together to document both improved response rates and improved return on investment (ROI).

PSDA Interviews James Michelson of VDP Web

James Michelson of VDP Web was recently interviewed by Lydia Goessel of the Print Services Distribution Association (PSDA) in advance of the 2011 Print Solutions Conference and Expo to be held at the Navy Pier in Chicago May 17 to 19.  An excerpt of the interview follows.

• Why are you excited to present at the PSDA Print Solutions Conference & Expo?

I am excited to present at the 2011 event because of the opportunity we have to interact with industry leaders.  The experiences of each attendee, while similar, are unique and provide the best forum for improving the products and services that we offer throughout the production chain.

• What type of person will most benefit from attending your session(s)?
This session is well suited for front line employees, sales, and print production and distribution leadership so that the whole supply chain can understand the sales, creation, and execution of  a cross media marketing campaign.

• What are the key messages you will share with attendees?

The key take-aways from this session will be:

- How to sell, develop, and coordinate a cross media marketing strategy and mix
- How to coordinate data analysis and prospect selection on a limited budget and with minimal expertise
- Effective implementation of the latest technologies including PURLs, QR Codes, Email, Mobile, the web and more

Additionally, the format will be highly interactive and feature audience based discussion to drive the selection of the key messages to the needs of attendees.

• In your opinion, what has been the most influential trend of the last 10 years in the way we do business?

The most influential trend in the past ten years has been the ability to track and measure direct response metrics on all media channels.  Not only can internet advertising channels provide detailed response metrics, but anything print to radio to magazines to billboards can incorporate these techniques to generate a database of warm leads.  The industry has traditionally used print to drive web, but now we can use the web (and other media channels) to drive print.

• What is the best professional advice you have received?

The best professional advice I ever received was not to pre-judge a situation or opportunity.  Establishing relationships today, even the immediate gain is not apparent, will create long term benefit for everyone involved.

JFM Concepts Nominated for 2011 Companies to Watch

JFM Concepts is proud to announce that it has been nominated by The Edward Lowe Foundation as a 2011 Indiana Company to Watch.  JFM Concepts’ Chief Technology Officer John Fager remarked that “This was an unexpected surprise.  Receipt of this nomination is encouraging for the entire team and confirms that our firm and the VDP Web cross media marketing software as a service is making a positive impact on both the market and the Indiana economy.

Indiana Companies to Watch celebrates high-performing, second-stage companies in the state.  Known for their performance in the marketplace, innovative products, unique processes or philanthropic actions, these companies represent a wide range of industries from all corners of Indiana.  This is not an award of the "top" or "best" companies — the companies selected each year make a point about Indiana's diverse economic landscape. They make an astounding impact on the state's economy by collectively providing thousands of jobs and contributing millions of dollars of revenue.

JFM Concepts is a full service cross media marketing technology firm featuring the VDP Complete marketing system and VDP Web Online. JFM specializes in creating variable data cross media marketing technologies with Personalized URLs for commercial printers, marketing departments and agencies of all sizes.  Since 2004, JFM Concepts has developed and executed national cross media marketing strategies for direct clients, traditional agencies and commercial printers. Campaigns include broadcast and print media, direct mail, SMS-text, email, PURLs (personal URLs) and variable data landing pages with surveys and opt-ins.

Marketers Must Follow Through on Sales Cycle

The following email from AT&T is a good example of direct email marketing.  We like this example because the call to action is clear, above the break, and there are multiple ways to respond.Att email before no call to action

Once the link for the new Atrix phone is selected, the link takes the user to a content specific page on the AT&T site, which is good. The missing link here is that there is no way to continue to get more information on the phone or a “buy now” link.  There are other options below the fold, but they are difficult to find.  (The address in blue is actually part of an image and not a link and is not a next step in any event...)

Att no call to action

The simplicity and directness of the email is lost on the landing page.  When thinking about the customer experience, always remember not to make the user think.  Make it painfully obvious at each and every step what he next action should be.  The email does a good job of this, but the landing page drops the ball and maybe the sale.

Additionally, AT&T should consider personalization and segmentation to improve response rates.  It is odd that the same offer and text would go to a business account and then the recipient be asked to enter a “student email address.”  They have the data – they just need to use it.

James Michelson of VDP Web nominated for 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year

JFM Concepts is proud to announce that Principal and Managing Member James Michelson has been nominated for the 2011 Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. JFM Concepts is pleased to have had a team member nominated for this award. James Michelson was pleasantly surprised when the nomination came in the mail. “It is always rewarding to be recognized and to know that the efforts you make on a daily basis are being noted both in the community and worldwide.“

For over two decades, more than 8,000 entrepreneurial leaders in business have been recognized for their business leadership efforts. The vision, a celebration of the most influential and innovative community of entrepreneurs, now spans more than 140 cities and 50 countries worldwide and the US Program has grown from one awards program to 26 regional programs. Entrepreneurial leaders and visionaries not only create and build market-leading businesses, they also help take business excellence to new heights, change the face of industries, create jobs and contribute to the vibrancy of communities.

Be Careful What You Wish For: SEM Marketing

By Joshua Driver

Recently, an article came across my email from the New York Times discussing a recent blunder JCPenny made with hiring a Search Engine Marketing (SEM) provider to create better natural search results for the firm. 

This service linked keywords across numerous websites that were not associated with consumer goods websites, (imagine those “spammy” sites with little to no content).   While this did increase internet traffic to their site, Google views this type of “Black Hat” marketing as negative.  Naturalized search is based on like-sites linking towards your corporate webpage.  The Google algorithms value the links as a recommendation, and places the target site higher in naturalized search.  JCPenny’s agency used hundreds of links, but not from websites with relevant content .  Google reviewed this issue and ultimately placed JCPenny at the bottom of many search results. 

In light of this situation, we believe it is important to keep part of your digital marketing budget allocated towards SEO.  Marketers need to make sure that the brand is also being delivered across other direct channels as well to guarantee consumers are finding you first.

To read the full article at the New York Times, visit:

"Prepare your Mercedes-Benz for winter travel" ?

I had begun to believe, after a few less than completely tragic emails, that Mercedes-Benz had finally started to get their act together when it came to direct marketing.  It appears that this is not the case.  An email entitled “Prepare your Mercedes-Benz for winter travel” arrived last night.


It is late February, Mardi Gras preps are in full swing, the sun is shining, its 65 degrees, and the first bulbs are sprouting.  It may still be winter in the far North, but even in Indianapolis, Chicago, and International Falls it is far too late in the season to prepare for anything.  Winter is here and almost gone.  In fact, in most parts of the country, people are knee deep into spring.  Even Punxsutawney Phil is calling for an early end to the cold.

So why on earth would anyone send an email that encourages drivers to “prepare” for winter?  This pitch may have been ok in November or December, but it is downright lame at the end of February.  If I were under pressure to shill snow tires in the spring, I may have tried a better subject line.  “It not too late to be worried about more winter weather” or “End of season snow tire precautions” would be a little less ridiculous.  Every touch that direct marketers make needs to be relevant and timely.  This solicitation was neither.  There was also a pitch for a “genuine plug & play entertainment solution” that is buried deep in the content that had very little do with the rest of the message.

On a positive note, Mercedes-Benz did include a link to two of the four offers presented in the email.  In this regard they only failed by half, a marked improvement.  If you make an offer, make sure there is a way to take the next step.  Don’t make customers search the web for the ability to buy.  They most likely will not.

New Cross Media Book from Schooner Press

Schooner Press is proud to announce the publication of Cross Media Marketing 101, The Concise Guide to Surviving in the C-Suite by James D Michelson.

Cross Media Marketing 101 is the perfect guide for executives and managers looking to be sure that they have considered the major challenges facing them as traditional marketing methods are eclipsed and even supplanted by new channels.  Taking a completely agnostic approach to the marketing mix, the author offers practical insight into the changing marketing world and how marketing leaders can beat the odds. Order now at

“This book is a must read for any marketing leader looking to be sure they have a thorough grasp on the current marketing landscape.” Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler

About the Author
James Michelson is an internationally recognized thought leader on all aspects of cross media. He has extensive international experience in the development of advanced cross media and one to one (1:1) marketing campaigns in a variety of verticals. James has developed and executed industry recognized cross media marketing strategies for such firms as Caterpillar, Marriott, Hartford Insurance, California Closets, and many more. Visit his personal site at for more information.

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