High quality, personalized, printready and video maps – locr has had its success in its native Germany, and is looking to interest UK print and marketing service providers in a technology that can provide a real boost to DM response rates.
Tony Hodgson’s career has taken him from being a practitioner in digital printing at Lorien Unique to his current position running PODi, the digital printing initiative, in the UK. His experience in the industry has taught him to recognize a good thing when he sees it, and right now one of those good things is Locr Maps.
‘At Lorien Unique we were doing stuff with personalized maps in 2005/2006, and it was a nightmare,’ he told Cross Media. ‘Ever since I stumbled into Locr at drupa last year and started the dialogue, I thought: wow, these guys can actually do it. It has always been about how you add value to what a printer can do by increasing response rates or introducing something new and novel. I will support anything that can help a digital printer to take advantage of the opportunities through this technology.’ It was for this reason that he arranged for Locr’s chief executive officer Rolf Richter to come over from Germany and speak at PODi’s European App Forum in September of this year, the first day of which carried a theme of geo-Iocation strategies and applications in multi-channel marketing.
What Locr offers is summed up in one very succinct sentence from Mr Richter: ‘We can generate personalized maps to increase direct marketing ROI.’ It is a cloud-based service that can produce fully personalized print-ready maps (300 dpi and above) and animated maps for use in personalized videos and PURLs. It uses global geodata from Nokia/NAVTEQ and OpenStreetMaps, covering the entire world down to street level. It allows marketers to create mail pieces and other communications with a customized, integrated map that can be individualized in many different ways, but in perhaps the most basic application can show the recipient exactly how close the nearest store is from their house. Other elements might include driving directions, duration of journey, logos, magnified detail, and any other relevant shops situated along the way.
‘People are used to using Google maps but you cannot use that to generate print quality maps for a DM campaign or a cross media link to a personalized video,’ Mr Richter told the PODi conference. ‘We put personalized maps and other personal data over the top of the maps. We can show shop locations and home locations; we can add routes to it, show the company logo, calculate the closest shop. And we generate an exact print quality map at 300 dpi and insert that into a DM campaign using just the addresses provided to us.’
Locr can do this for millions of maps or just a few, all generated in short time. The maps will be as good as the quality of data allows. Thus far, it has mostly been working on campaigns within its German and Austrian domestic markets, but is now taking its message further afield. Typically it will work directly with a print service provider on such projects, and can be integrated into print production and variable data engines such as HP SmartStream, GMC, Pageflex and XMPie. The potential applications are continually growing, said Mr Richter: ‘We learn every day that there are more and more markets that can benefit from this: banks – the nearest cash machine; insurance companies – the closest rep; customer loyalty; car manufacturers inviting people for a test drive; retail clients, parcel shops, charities. There are lots of places where this makes sense.’
Printers working with Locr can operate on a pay-as-you-go basis, charged by the number of maps that need to be generated. The minimum charge for a project is €390, for which up to 1000 maps can be produced. A sliding pricing scale reduces the unit cost of each map as volumes are greater, so that a million maps can be bought for €25,000 (€0.025 per map).
The projects that Locr has been involved with in Germany have been judged as successful, although its customers have been characteristically reticent in revealing the response rates that the maps have helped to generate. Tony Hodgson of PODi, who has taken on an informal role of helping the German company to expand, believes in the technology though, saying: ‘I don’t know of anything else that does what Locr does, anything like as well. I’ve heard horror stories about people using Google and map data bureaux, but they don’t really understand the print world . Also, Locr has built an extremely scalable solution, from a thousand to millions.’
About locr GmbH
locr was founded in 2006 in Brunswick/Germany. After the initial release of a geo photo community, locr is now focusing on the global supply of high-quality individualized maps for different market segments. Being the leading supplier of geo data and personalized street and city maps, the maps of locr maps are always up-to-date and offer global street level coverage in more than 100 countries. The maps may contain individual POI’s, logos or routing information, and can be supplied in large volume for personalized cross-media/direct mailing campaigns. locr maps are also used in photo finishing products like photo books and posters, as well as in tourism and cartographic projects. locr supplies global geo information and maps in high quality and generates these maps with highly scalable server solutions. Maps can be supplied either on a project-by-project basis, or may be directly retrieved from applications using an Internet-based programming interface (API). For more information, visit maps.locr.com, www.facebook.com/locrmaps, www.linkedin.com/locrmaps, or follow www.twitter.com/locrmaps.
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