Why TV, and Why Now, for Vistaprint

Five Questions for CMO Trynka Shineman

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Vistaprint North America has historically kept a low profile in the branding space, opting for -- and acquiring and retaining customers through -- direct mail, email, catalogs, giveaways and print.

Trynka Shineman
Trynka Shineman
Now, the online printer -- purveyor of products such as business cards, calendars, brochures and invitations -- is hoping to capitalize on what it sees as an opportunity to build brand awareness through its first national TV campaign, launched last month. Trynka Shineman is the $650 million company's chief marketing officer, and she says the time was right to pour a few million dollars into a humor-based campaign from Arnold, Boston. The goal? To reach and expand the company's target audience of consumers and micro businesses -- those with 10 or fewer employees.

In an interview with Ad Age, Ms. Shineman, a veteran direct marketer, explained that for a growing company such as Vistaprint, which is arguably well-positioned for a value-conscious market of entrepreneurs and smaller businesses, sampling TV for the first time represented a chance to attract some new attention on a broader platform.

Ad Age: Why TV and why now?

Ms. Shineman: Our awareness in the U.S. is very low -- 25% from an aided awareness perspective within our target market. There was a huge market opportunity that we wanted to capture. We knew our awareness numbers were really low. Creating that awareness would create a fair amount of growth in the market.

Ad Age: How much money did you put behind this latest campaign?

Ms. Shineman: It was a budget of $3 million to $5 million. We spend over $100 million a year on our marketing initiatives. So it was a toe in the water.

Ad Age: Who is your target , and how has that changed in the recession?

Ms. Shineman: Small business/home office [customers]. Our sweet spot is businesses under 10 employees. That's been pretty consistent in this economy. Because Vistaprint is a low-cost provider, it's a pretty easy way for people to raise awareness of and drive traffic to their businesses in this economy. This fiscal year, we'll grow about 30% in constant currency.

Ad Age: How will you be measuring ROI?

Ms. Shineman: We are looking at new-customer acquisition. The goal is to increase awareness. [TV is] still a pretty small buy. [The ads are] scheduled for four to six weeks. We're in the midst of determining how long [in total the campaign will run], but we will look and evaluate. We're very analytic in terms of how we look at measurable ROI.

Ad Age: Why humor?

Ms. Shineman: We really wanted to stay pretty simple. We wanted to keep the concept simple to break through, and we think humor is a way to do that. It is a fairly small test. Humor is another way of getting it across without huge production costs associated with it.

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