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nov07_cover_300dpi.jpgQuantumMail.com becomes QuantumDigital and sheds new light on integrated direct marketing solutions

By Maria Patterson

A lot of companies are really good at batting about the vernacular of the day. After all, the right jargon helps businesses appear ahead of the curve and in tune with consumers-and the real estate industry is no exception. How many times have you heard the term ‘integrated solution,’ for example? Probably a lot; yet in reality, how many companies are truly capable of delivering one? QuantumDigital believes it has that ability, and its new name says it all.

When Quantum Systems first opened in 1986, it relied on a Compaq 486 and a line printer to fuel a fledgling direct-mail business. Twenty-one years, a few name changes and 75,000 endusers later, company President & CEO Steve Damman is redefining the Austin, Texas-based firm as QuantumDigital. QuantumDigital’s name change will better reflect the evolution it has experienced in both technology and deliverables to customers. Effective December 18, 2007, the change, combined with a heightened marketing strategy, signifies not only how far the company has come, but where it is headed long-term.

Revealing its True Identity
“We switched to QuantumDirect (from QuantumMail.com) a couple of years ago to be a little less specific in our company name,” Damman explains. “People had preconceived ideas of what we were all about, when in reality we did much more than just print and mail.”

The company recently felt the need to further refine its name in order to pull its diverse functionality under one umbrella. At the end of 2006, Damman engaged the services of a national advertising agency, which ultimately suggested gathering the company’s three brands-QuantumDirect, QuantumMail.com and QuantumPrint.com-into one brand known as QuantumDigital.

“We feel that name is appropriate,” says Damman, “because we live in a digital world here-we are a digital print company that offers digital custom direct marketing solutions. The name QuantumDigital accurately represents what we are doing and where we are headed and will be appropriate for the foreseeable future.”

If you trace QuantumDigital back to its 1986 origins, it’s clear that the company began with a technology focus and has grown along that same path for more than 20 years. The rebranding to QuantumDigital is really a reflection of the company’s ability to keep up with the pace of technology.

“We’ve always viewed ourselves as technology providers,” explains Freddie Baird, executive vice president at QuantumDigital. “Other names we’ve had speak more to our specific services, but this new name communicates a forward-thinking company that embraces the technology push. The new brand will better reflect our DNA and better describe all the services we now offer.”

As Damman says, “The name QuantumDigital speaks to technology. Those are our roots, and I don’t see that changing. We have always used technology to remain efficient in our production and better service our customers. I’ve been here for 15 years, and every year we’ve taken technology to the next level, and we will continue to do so.”

Not Just a Name-A Strategy
More than a new name, QuantumDigital speaks to the enhanced value proposition the company now brings to its customers.

According to Eric Cosway, the company’s vice president and chief marketing officer, a new, integrated marketing solution is being rolled out to accompany the new QuantumDigitial brand. “We’re initiating a brand new online direct marketing service, and this ties in well under the new QuantumDigital label,” he explains.

This improved strategy, which was driven by feedback from clients, now integrates an important eMarketing function into Quantum’s direct mail and on-demand digital printing services. The eMarketing piece will enable customers to incorporate e-mail marketing and more into their existing print and mail campaigns. While Quantum previously offered customers on-demand digital printing and 24-hour turnaround, adding the eMarketing component will allow customers to respond even faster to new opportunities, all while maintaining control and streamlining accountability.

And accountability is a critical piece of the puzzle, says the QuantumDigital leadership team.

“What we’ve heard from current customers is that they use us for print and mail services but then have to go somewhere else for eMarketing,” Baird explains. “Now they can have it all in one neat package. With one Management Dashboard, they will be able to view campaigns and see what salespeople in the field are doing. The eMarketing gives us instant feedback on direct mail through personal URLs and landing pages we’ve created. Customers can now track metrics on who responds, which are things we hadn’t done in a big way before.” This is part of a continued effort to build out more sophisticated reporting measures around campaign effectiveness.

“The eMarketing service allows us to get heavier into metrics and allows customers to track the direct-mail progress,” adds Cosway. “We continue to put more tools in front of them as we redesign our entire Web transaction and Web order process. We know that our customers want both offline and online direct marketing programs to better increase prospect response rates, further drive customer loyalty and build higher retention.”

The tracking capabilities of QuantumDigital’s eMarketing program are critical to real estate professionals, says Baird. “Particularly in today’s market, how you spend your marketing dollars is very important,” he explains. “We’re trying to educate folks that while you can spend direct mail dollars anywhere, why not spend them with a company that can show how effective your investment is? Then it makes it easier to spend that money instead of feeling like your marketing is getting lost in a black hole. In this market, you’re competing for dollars. Sales transactions are down, but you still have to market yourself-why not do it in a way that is effective and measurable?”

This new, integrated marketing platform from QuantumDigital is catching the eye of non-real estate businesses as well, such as AT&T and Sylvan Learning Center. With more than 1,100 franchises in the United States and Canada, Sylvan Learning Center brought in Quantum’s marketing system at the end of last year. Sara Costello, director of direct mail and conversion marketing for Sylvan, was looking for a company that offered variable digital printing so that Sylvan’s franchisees could customize materials accordingly. “We needed a company that could handle our dispersed community,” adds Costello. “A solution that would run itself and a company that had a team in place to work with our franchisees. We wanted a state-of-the-art integrated marketing solution.”

“In addition to customization, we needed a vendor who could provide a fast turnaround,” she explains. “We had a problem with companies that offered a six-week turnaround on our marketing campaigns.”

Why Integration is the Smart Choice
While many companies tout a complete solution, QuantumDigital believes that true integration is hard to come by, though it is the smartest way to go.

“Integration is something that’s measurable if you do it properly,” says Damman. “With integration, the direct mail, Web and e-mail components of your marketing campaign become measurable. People click on links and visit sites, allowing Realtors to track the activities of their potential or current customers. We have leveraged today’s technology to develop personal URLs so it is possible to tell specifically who responds. This allows you to build a database about the customer and speak directly to them. Now, the program becomes a great CRM application as well.

“This all gives you a better handle on the results of your campaign and marketing efforts,” Damman continues. “It closes the loop to some degree. We’re getting smarter about valuable technologies and speaking in more personalized ways to our prospects and customers. Our multi-channel marketing allows our customers to have a deeper interaction with their buyers.”

Integration makes a good investment for real estate professionals as well. “A lot of marketing services were traditionally bought a la carte,” says Baird. “By buying an integrated solution, Realtors will save money and cut down on the number of systems and vendors they have to manage. We also think that e-mail and direct mail work more effectively when combined.”

According to Damman, integrated marketing solutions are a new paradigm for the real estate industry. “There are those in the real estate industry who are pretty tech savvy and have a good idea where a service like this can take them. A number of our large real estate customers have been recently asking for the types of services we are now developing. With their input and feedback, we are working with them to develop more automated custom systems that will meet the specific needs of larger real estate brokerages.”

That said, QuantumDigital will continue to serve the needs of its varied real estate consumer base, no matter how big or small. If a customer prefers to utilize just one aspect of the marketing program, says Damman, then the system is set up to handle that, too. “This is a suite of services that blends well together, but if you just need one part of that service then we can accommodate that as well.”

According to Baird, the flexible functionality of the program allows real estate professionals to also target communications according to customer preferences. “People have different preferences,” he says. “Some people hate getting what they consider spam, while others are just the opposite. Our eMarketing system gives Realtors multiple ways to get to a customer, yet we’re driving it all through one system.”

Leveraging Technology for Customers
Leading technology is at the root of any successful integrated program. QuantumDigital powers its marketing suite with six Xerox iGen3TM digital printers that guarantee both quality and lightning-fast turnaround time. QuantumDigital’s data customization uses highly personalized and integrated mailing lists that leverage customer data, third-party lists or fully scrub-bed lists from their national database.

“It’s part of our culture to stay on the cutting edge of technology in terms of production and printing systems,” says Damman. “It’s an ongoing process to find out what the best practices out there are and adopt those so that our customers always have the advantage. Our pricing to the real estate industry is a perfect example-the price has basically stayed the same for 15 years.”

At the center of QuantumDigital’s technological advances are its customers. “From our perspective, it’s all about understanding our customers and their needs and then taking time to learn what they’re trying to accomplish. This allows us to establish a custom solution that will best accommodate their needs,” says Damman. “A lot of companies will build an out-of-the-box, one-size-fits-all solution, but that’s not our experience with the real estate industry. There are so many differences between one real estate company and the next, by virtue of market size and ad budgets. There are so many things that come into play that we need to be able to accommodate their needs on all levels and build a marketing program that works for them.”

Quantum’s customers attest to receiving an extraordinary level of service-something that doesn’t always go hand-in-hand with a company of QuantumDigital’s magnitude. Customer service has been a cornerstone of the company from the get-go.

“I’ve always felt personal contact with our customers is paramount,” says Damman. “I’m from a hospitality background where customer service will make or break you. That’s what I brought to Quantum, and we’re continually raising the bar in that area and looking for more opportunities to have personal contact with our customers.”

“QuantumDigital is a unique combination of technical superiority and capability combined with an excellent approach to customer service,” confirms Sylvan’s Costello. “We used a selection committee that included some of our franchisees; it was imperative that they were confident they’d get the support they needed.”

What’s more, working with a wide variety of industries ultimately benefits QuantumDigital’s real estate customers. “We can bring the best practices from multiple industries to the real estate industry,” says Cosway. “This cross pollination of ideas and best practices is key.”

Looking ahead, Baird explains that QuantumDigitial will continue to evolve in accordance with the changing needs and challenges of its clients. “We will continue to investigate direct marketing channels beyond e-mail and print to things you’re seeing today through Web 2.0 technology, such as blogging, videos, social platforms and marketing directly to PDAs. We’ll be growing in a strategic way.”

“Our customers can be confident that they’re dealing with a company that is progressive and looking out for their best interests at all times,” adds Damman. “Our experience in other industries will improve the user experience in the real estate industry.” RE

For more information, please visit www.quantumdigital.com.

Top-Level Marketing
What makes QuantumDigital so unique in the marketplace is the deep level of customization and individual attention it provides for its clients, say its customers.

This month, QuantumDigital will unveil a unique customized solution it recently created in tandem with Move, Inc.’s Top Producer: the CMA Farming Edition.

“Top Producer is one of the premier customer contact, prospecting and database systems for the real estate industry,” says QuantumDigital president & CEO, Steve Damman. “We have a natural fit for what they’re trying to accomplish and can provide a solution that helps their users effectively communicate with past customers and prospects in an easy, economical and professional manner. Our new integrated system makes that extremely simple.”

According to Realtor.com Vice President of Marketing Frederick Herot, the implementation teams at Realtor.com, QuantumDigital and Top Producer did a remarkable job in working together on this project. With the power of QuantumDigital behind it, the CMA Farming Edition provides the perfect complement to the Top Producer program.

“Agents get busy, but they still have a need to prospect,” Herot explains. “So far, they’ve been able to buy products that do prospecting, products that do mailings, and products for the Web that do CRM and follow-up. My goal was to make all those things work together without having to pull a lever on each one. I wanted to take components from online, offline and follow-up, and put them in motion so that they automatically start to self-actuate in a synchronized and coordinated way.”

This type of integrated marketing is a critical way for Realtors to keep the communication relevant and consistent with consumers, says Herot. “The consumer has to get the knowledge,” he explains. “They hear scary stories about what’s going on in the market. Our mailings can reassure consumers by showing accurate market conditions and build a relationship with the agent.”

Herot adds that the CMA Farming Edition will enable Realtors to hone in on specific neighborhoods to generate new business. “The agent who buys this product can do micro marketing in particular neighborhoods where they want to do more business,” Herot says. “Every week, new properties are going on the market in particular neighborhoods, and even the most organized agent wouldn’t have time to get the word out to their customers.”
One of the most important features of the CMA Farming Edition is automated follow-up. According to Herot, “When Realtors are prospecting, it might take a while for them to get back to the customer, and it’s uncertain how the follow-up will continue. This program automatically follows up with customers; even when agents are on vacation or out on an appointment, they can be certain that something relevant will go out regarding market conditions and listing information.”

The bottom line? According to Herot, it’s all about connecting with consumers.

“If you look at the fundamental needs of consumers in real estate, people who are buying a house want to know what they can get for the amount of money they can spend, and people selling a home need to fundamentally know what their house is worth. When you inject a third element-the press-which is full of information about change in the market, that is sometimes unnecessarily alarming. Agents can now provide assurance and a solution where consumers can get up-to-date, real-time information about what’s going on-and consumers will have more interest in the Realtor who supplies that information.”

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