Wednesday, October 01, 2014

V12 Launchpad Combines Prospect Database with Outbound Campaigns

V12 Group got its start in 2002 by appending demographic, behavioral, and other data to email lists. Since then, the company has added tools to help marketers make better use of this data, culminating in 2012 with Launchpad, which combined email and postal prospect lists, delivery services, display ads, and response analysis. This year V12 further expanded Launchpad by adding the ability to import and enhance clients’ own customer lists. It's still far from a complete marketing automation system: there are no multi-step workflows, event triggers, recurring campaigns, behavior tracking, CRM synchronization, touchpoint integration, or transaction database. But Launchpad does provide a way to assemble audiences and execute outbound promotions, placing it somewhere between simple email systems like Constant Contact and full-scale marketing automation products.

The core of Launchpad is its list selection interface. This is used to select names from V12’s master database of 208 million postal addresses, 80 million email addresses, and 150 million Web browser cookies; to segment previously purchased names; to retarget email responders and Web site visitors; and to select from the client’s own uploaded lists. Geographic selections begin with a U.S. state map but can also be based on Zip code, political boundaries, distance from a specified point, or user-drawn polygons. They can be further narrowed by demographics, behaviors, auto ownership, and other attributes. Users can also get lists of prospects similar to their uploaded customers, based on a system-generated predictive model. Audience counts are updated in seconds as users adjust their selections. If the audience is larger than desired, the user can specify a quantity and the system will automatically extract a random sample of that size.  Users can also apply suppression lists, exclude previously selected names, and specify whether the system returns all individuals, one name per household, or one name per postal address.

For email campaigns, the system also lets users create emails based on templates, from uploaded HTML, or from scratch using a graphical page builder. Users can send test emails and include seed names. There is no built-in split test capability, although this is planned for future release. Today, users can copy an existing campaign as the foundation for a test version, but they would need to suppress the original audience as part of the list specification. Users can also deploy a standard, V12-hosted form to capture responses. Once a campaign is built, users can save it to a shopping cart where V12 shows the cost. V12 manually reviews each campaign to ensure it complies with spam regulations and other requirements. V12 sends the emails from its own domain. It will not provide actual email addresses on purchased names but does provide postal addresses on purchased names and on email responders. The company is adding integration with post card mailers.

Launchpad supports mobile marketing through mobile-friendly emails, mobile landing pages to capture user permissions, and text messages send to names where the client has received direct (first party) permission. Display advertising is handled through integration with MediaMath’s TerminalOne advertising system, which includes the V12 cookie pool as an audience option: users can select audience segments based on the V12 cookies, but cannot target specific individuals directly. Users can also set campaign and daily budgets, CPM targets, frequency caps, start and end dates, ad sources, inventory types, and geographic targets. Retargeting can be done through email lists or ad pixels. The CRM option lets clients upload their own customer lists, including custom fields, but doesn’t offer any type of contact management or associated data tables. Social media posting and listening is under development.

Reports include campaign quantities and responses, allow users to drill down to individual responders, and can calculate a simple Return on Investment based on actual costs and user-provided assumptions for response value.

Launchpad is offered directly to marketers but is sold largely through resellers including MasterCard, US Bank, SwissRe, Gannett, and YP Direct. Those firms offer the system to their own clients as a service. Direct pricing starts at $50 per month for a bundle including 1,000 emails to V12-provided prospects. Users can also purchase individual services such as data enhancements, prospect names, or customer record storage on a cost per thousand basis. The client base is ramping up quickly through the reseller channel: it is currently around 260 and expected to reach 1,000 by end of 2014 and projected to 5,000 by end of 2015. Most clients are small to mid-size B2C marketers ($1 million to $100 million revenue) although there are some B2B and larger B2C firms.

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