A technology company that enables people to find and order food for takeout or delivery had an interesting challenge. The business was growing quickly but needed creative marketing
strategies for two distinct groups: restaurants whose menus can be available on the firm’s app and website, and patrons who visit those restaurants and can use the service in the future.
Essentially, the company aimed to use its brand to support local ones. Hungry patrons in more than 1,100 U.S. cities order food through the firm’s system, giving restaurants a new avenue to boost sales. Meanwhile, the tech company keeps a cut of the revenue from those orders. The more eateries it can have in the fold (well, on users’ screens), the better.
When the company launched more than 10 years ago, menu options were relatively limited to users. Today, more than 45,000 restaurants accept orders through its system. The tech firm’s app and site can show each user pickup options near his or her location, or the user can search by cuisine, restaurant name or menu item. The system also gives users access to reviews, coupons, special deals and more. Once an order is placed, the restaurant receives an automatic notice, confirms the order and begins preparing it. The user receives a text confirmation and an emailed receipt.
The tech firm’s marketing team decided the business should target restaurants in specific urban areas and blanket them with information about the technology. The team needed a print and marketing service provider that could handle large and frequent orders, and also contribute ideas for bringing its message to the market.
360 Degrees of Service
When Northern Printing Network rebranded to NPN360 in 2013, it aimed to win more business from clients that needed innovative technology and cost-effective marketing ideas. The firm’s co-owners, Artie Collins and Jeff Greenbury, felt that rebranding the company might spark more dialogue and opportunities from prominent organizations that needed a full spectrum of print and marketing services.
In other words, the tech firm’s goals were an ideal fit for the Wheeling, Illinois-based distributor, which today offers a wide range of print and integrated business communication services. NPN360 is dedicated to client satisfaction — understanding each customer’s challenges, and then fashioning solutions that address those specific needs.
“Our team realizes that as we continue to evolve and expand, it all starts with our customer,” says Collins, CEO of NPN360. “We have built on business by listening attentively to them and trying to deliver results that exceed expectations.” For the tech firm, that meant helping to generate new business.
“The blanket-market concept is a little like fishing,” Collins says. “You put as many hooks in the water as you can, and it helps if the area has a lot of fish — urban areas like New York City or Dallas make a lot of sense as targets. Our client has a lot of research about what works and what doesn’t and turned to us to help them reach targets in an impressive way that also showed a return on the investment.”
To that end, NPN360 handles two types of marketing kits for the tech firm. One kit, sent to all restaurants in a given city (the blanket-market list), includes coupon cards, a holder for those cards and a brief explanation about the benefits of aligning with the tech firm. NPN360 receives a data file each Monday morning with a new target list for this kit. The distributor also prepares a second, larger kit for restaurants that have expressed interest in the tech firm’s service. That kit includes the coupon cards and holder, plus floor graphics, a poster,
promotional products and other branded items.
“The exciting part for us is we’re helping them drive revenue,” Collins says. “Doing so is far different than establishing a relationship based mostly on price.” He and Greenbury point out that it’s no longer enough to put ink on paper better than your competitors, because those competitors are also finding ways to gather and manage information. Distributors like NPN360 are winning business by turning customer data into action, and helping clients make money instead of just saving it.
The NPN360 team understands that the company won’t make money unless the distributor accurately handles its client’s data and works quickly to get the kits produced and delivered. The components of each kit involve some printing intricacies — especially the coupon cards, which need to be customized with variable information on both sides, including unique codes
printed on the front that users enter to validate discounts and other offers.
“The volume of the coupons is high, and the sequencing of the coding is critical,” Collins says. “Our client might have thousands of user records for a taco restaurant in Ohio. If I’m at that store and pick up a coupon there, but the coupon is actually for a sandwich shop in San Diego, we would be in big trouble.”
Fast Production from a Great Team
There’s a difference between turning to a vendor for products and relying on a partner for ideas and consultation. To be effective, any communication method (print or non-print) must deliver messages that people want in a way that’s relevant, useful and timely. When distributors and manufacturers work together to make that happen, the result is often delighted end users.
That’s the kind of relationship NPN360 shares with Team Concept, which provides a wide range of commercial printing, finishing and specialty services. “A lot of times business between distributors and manufacturers is transactional — find the cheapest price and send the job,” says Tony Rouse, Team Concept’s president and CEO. “But value and service win out in the end. We’re at the strongest point we’ve ever been as a company, and one reason is we’ve worked hard to form true partnerships like the one we have with [NPN].”
Team Concept produces about 500,000 coupon cards weekly for the tech company’s kits. The coupons feature six ink colors plus foil stamping and variable data on both sides. Unique validation codes are sequentially numbered, and each coupon also includes the restaurant’s name, a discount offer for using the service and the deal’s expiration date. Because of the codes, the tech company is able to track usage and quickly discern which regions and restaurants are gaining the most traction.
Thanks to the speed and versatility of its team and equipment, Team Concept produces a same-day proof that’s checked by the end user (for accurate dates, offers, colors, etc.) by 5 p.m. each Monday. It prints the customized coupons on its Komori SX29 UV ink press by Tuesday, also using a Kluge EHD machine for foil stamping and a Ricoh C7110X device for variable data.
The manufacturer ships the product to a third-party warehouse that mails the kits to restaurants by Thursday. “Everything is produced crazy-fast,” Rouse says. “One of our biggest jobs, and the most time-consuming part, is cutting a half million cards in that short amount of time. But we have the project down to a science, and everything moves smoothly each week.” In addition to the kits, Team Concept also receives frequent orders through NPN360 for store signs and other printed products needed by the tech company.
“Team Concept has been fantastic,” Collins says. “We knew their equipment and personnel were perfectly suited for this type of program. They are extremely consistent and have been an outstanding partner for us.”
More Business on the Way
Over the next two months, NPN360 and Team Concept expect to handle
nearly 10 million coupon cards for the tech company. “We used to send [the larger] kits to about 50 new restaurants each week, and now it has grown to 300 or 400,” Collins says.
“They’ve seen a significant response. Volume is going up, and the program is definitely successful. We also have the peace of mind of knowing it’s being printed by a company in Team Concept that we trust and respect.”