Written by Graham Smith, Marketing Manager, MBA Group Ltd.

Foreword written by Bill Michael

Continuing with our trend of featuring an in-depth look at a past winner of the Xerox Best-of-the-Best Contest, I recently had the opportunity to speak with Graham Smith, Marketing Manager of MBA Group Ltd. With three dedicated sites across the United Kingdom, MBA Group provides fully integrated print solutions for transactional, direct mail and cross-media communications.

MBA

Their 2010 award-winning Variable Content Publication was featured on our blog last year, and represented a submission consisting of not only dazzling quality but also a remarkable story. Working with London-based Print Media Management magazine, MBA Group created a 100% variable magazine in an effort to increase revenue for the publication, despite smaller advertising budgets. With the Xerox® 980 Color Continuous Feed Printer, XMPie, and Xerox® FreeFlow Process Manager, each of the 12,400 readers received personalized content. This targeted advertising approach generated 256 percent more leads, and helped MBA claim a Best-of-the-Best award.

Graham Smith took some time to discuss MBA Group Ltd, an inside look at their recent success in the Best-of-the-Best Contest, as well as provide a sneak-peak into what they plan to enter for this year’s competition!

Xerox: Please give me some background information on your company. What would you like the readers to know about you?

Graham Smith (GS): MBA started in 1984 as a lettershop serving the direct mail industry. We have now grown to become a multi-channel communications company offering a broad range of services from litho and digital print, to direct and transactional mail plus digital marketing. It’s the combination of mail and digital marketing which is proving to be the most exciting, with some Marketing Managers achieving a 60% improvement on ROI by co-ordinating online and offline campaigns.Multi-channel communication is definitely the way forward for the print industry, our customers have seen the results from variable data print linked to digital marketing and are looking for a single source of supply. They want to deliver one copy of their customer database and rely on us to deliver the message electronically or on paper.

Xerox: How has winning an award in the Best-of-the-Best impacted your business?

GS: Awards are very important in any industry, as they are impartial recognition of a job well done. You would expect us to say we are the best in our field, but when somebody else says we are it means so much more.What we liked about the Best-of-the-Best Award is that it was international and given by a body who are recognised experts in digital print. To be able to produce a Case Study with a prestigious award on it gives our Sales Managers a tremendous boost. They feel proud to be part of an award winning team. You can hear it in the tone of voice they use when they are talking to existing and prospective customers about the award. In addition, many Tenders now have a section within the document for you to list industry honours. Being able to itemize current awards shows we are producing innovative, quality work and are fully engaged in the market.

Xerox: How have you used your success in the program as a selling point for your company?

GS: One of the best sales tools we have are the Case Studies we produce. Prospective clients are always keen to read about how we have helped other clients, particularly if they are in the same industry. A case study with an award emblem is a very persuasive marketing tool. The award also forms part of the Powerpoint presentations we give to all new and prospective clients and we are re-editing our corporate video to include the award.

Xerox: What advice do you have for your fellow Premier Partners who are looking to actively get involved in the program this year?

I would say give yourself time to put your submission together. Don’t leave it to the last minute. If possible, finish the submission then leave it. When you re-read it a few days later try to imagine you are a judge that knows nothing about the project – you’ll be surprised at the changes you make. Always support your submission with facts, figures and graphs if possible. They are very convincing. Be clear about the benefits of your project and try to get a testimonial from your client. Finally, don’t assume that you will never win. I’ve heard many print companies remark they don’t submit work because “we never win anything”.