The Evolution, Current State, & Future of Strata
Who We Are
Strata was founded by Jeff Sammak in 1993. At first, the company’s goal was to simply provide print services to a plethora of clients. Jeff later came to realize that Strata’s true mission was to leverage emerging technology to fuse marketing processes into a streamlined, single-source workflow. Over time, we’ve evolved to offer a wide range of client-driven solutions to help customers solve complex marketing and communications challenges, and we’ve consistently been a team of many different, unique individuals – innovators, go-getters, marketing experts, sales connoisseurs, you name it. But we’re people first—and we know our clients, customers, coworkers, and industry peers are, too. For this reason, we know the best way to help businesses achieve their marketing goals is by focusing on the people who work at them.
Where We Started
When Strata began, our services were print, print, and more print. We provided print solutions like no one else, offered great customer service, and were efficient and productive – as we are today. Back then, most of our clients were within the pharmaceutical industry, and we primarily focused on print materials like postcards and mailers, with a very small amount of web portal work.
Danielle, a long-time Strata employee, remembers that the main source of revenue for the company was “creating and printing Case Report Form (CRF) Books for pharmaceutical companies. Strata even had a program created for us to be able to set these up and separate the pages to print because they were printed on NCR paper.”
Before 2003’s move to Campus Drive in Plymouth Meeting, PA, where Strata’s main office is now, the company was located on Butler Pike. Around the time of the move, the pharmaceutical industry started moving CRF books online, causing a shift in the printing industry. To stay ahead, Strata purchased an iGEN 3 digital press and began working with variable data. This led to many of our current tactics – variable postcards, mailers and more, as we continued with more web portals. This change ramped up both the marketing and productions parts of Strata’s business.
Dawn, another long-standing Strata employee, recalls that “internet ordering wasn’t even a thing when I started…but Jeff was quick to add the software and technology to build customer portals for online orders to stay ahead of the market.”
This is when we really changed from a print solutions provider, to a full-blown marketing solutions company. From then on, technology became a key driver for all of our activities.
Today, we’re always using a blend of direct and digital strategies to get the highest ROI for our clients. Our equipment has and continues to evolve, and our culture grows stronger as our company expands. Dawn says, “Jeff’s always thinking two steps ahead (or maybe more) to keep the company current. Variable printing (has) branched out to email communication and personalized landing pages, and our ability to track responses is a technology that many of our clients (and competition) don’t even know about.” Harrison, Strata’s Director of R&D, says that we’re always expanding on our strategic value, being more than just execution, and more than just technology – we’re “being invaluable.”
Mark, a Strata leader since 2007, says that today, we’re a company that’s a blend of so many components. “For certain, the way we work is different…now we operate from our homes…taking advantage of the technology that allows us to do that.” He notes that our equipment has changed and evolved significantly as well. Instead of iGen, we now use HP Indigos (a much better product) and also use multiple black and white printers, a large 6-color offset press, inserters, a UV coater, and more. We’ve improved our processing capabilities through automation, and can now produce at a higher quantity and quality than ever before. Our workforce is no longer only print and production, but – like we said – innovators, marketers, and strategists too.
Our products have expanded from just postcards and mailers to email execution, digital, large format, and more. “We’ve moved from a transactional business to one that’s driven by orders from portals, for many of our clients,” Mark says. We used to outsource a lot of our services, and now, we invest in resources to keep those services within Strata. PURL development is a great example of this. We used to have the need to outsource it, but now, we do all of the creation in-house.
“Today,” Harrison says, “everything we do is with a realistic approach. We always keep contact with our clients and continue to solve problems.”
What Makes us Best – Directly from Our Staff
“Our employees have always been hard-working, easy to get along with, dedicated, and loyal, and that’s what has kept me here so long. I still feel like I’m always learning something, which is great, because I don’t like the mundane, same-old, same-old. I feel like we’re always ahead of other companies with innovative ideas and solutions, and we’re definitely always looking for new solutions for companies and trying to make things easier for them while staying ahead of the curve. However, I feel like our core values have stayed the same.”
“We look to exceed expectations, have extensive knowledge in our field that enables us to make smart happen, and live off of technology to be efficient in all scenarios. We think like our clients and look to provide solutions within their environment, and we cast a wide net that can satisfy most client needs under our roof without outsourcing. We have an excellent client base (many of our clients have been with us for 10+ years), and employees that stay with us.
You can speak with the actual CEO here. You can’t get that just anywhere, especially when you work for a big company. Each person has a place here. Everyone’s best talent is put to work here, and we all work together.”
The Future of Strata
At Strata, we’ll always put the customer first, as we always have, and it’ll always be top priority to solve problems – not just sell our services. We plan to keep evolving digitally, with smarter, more advanced technology, and to always stay on top of the latest and greatest trends. Dawn claims that in her many, many years with Strata, she’s “always seen the company evolve with the changing times.”
No matter what the future holds, Strata will always stick to our core – to make smart happen and remain a solution-based company. Give us a call if you’d like to evolve with us and utilize our mix of print and digital services to your advantage.
Common Omnichannel Mistakes & Their Solutions
We’ve really covered a lot of ground in the journey that’s been our Omnichannel Marketing 101 blog series, but we’d be remiss if we got you ready to make and optimize a great campaign without setting you up to fix some inevitable mistakes. Now that you know what omnichannel marketing is, the steps to getting started, and the most important best practices, we’re talking common omnichannel campaign missteps – from creation to execution – and how you can not only learn from them, but fix them and improve on your current campaign strategy and strategies to come. Even when you have all the tools and knowledge for success (which we supplied in parts 1-3 of the series), mistakes can still be made, especially when you’re trying omnichannel marketing for the first time. Thankfully, we have solutions.
Errors during creation and execution of an omnichannel campaign can be due to a lack of data, lack of experience, missteps in implementation, or simply partnering with the wrong omnichannel “expert”. That’s okay! Omnichannel marketing, no matter how much expertise you have, can (and should) take some trial and error. That’s why we’re giving you some smart advice on how to fix the most likely mistakes along the way.
Most Common Mistakes & How to Resolve Them
Mistake 1: Sub-par content strategy
Resolution: If this seems to be the problem, go back and review your content again. It’s most likely not customer-centric, user-focused, or brand-consistent enough. Review your data and make sure your campaign’s messaging is enticing, on-brand, and relevant based on where your customers are and what they want to hear. “A spray and pray approach will make your content irrelevant to certain segments of users, and that would mean potentially losing out to your competitors.” If you’re content’s irrelevant, it’s a major waste of resources, and even worse, can cause your customers to mistrust your company.
Mistake 2: Inadequate data or data misuse
Resolution: “79% of executives believe that companies will fail without embracing big data solutions.” Make sure you have a centralized data management hub for your company (if possible), have adequate tools to get the best data, and ensure everyone on your team (or various teams) can understand and use the same tools to gather information. Contrasting information can really hinder the success of a campaign’s creation and completion. Furthermore, “37% of the people in the US alone change their contact details within a year, making your data obsolete” unless you consistently update it, so make sure you use up-to-date data, and review and refresh your data when necessary.
Mistake 3: Missing out on new data throughout the campaign
Resolution: Like we said, out-of-date data is of no use to your customer’s current information – and even more, their current journey. Don’t just “set it and forget it”. Consistently go into your data to see patterns and understand how and where your campaign is (or isn’t) working. “You are supposed to capture more audience data based on the experience you offer and identify areas you need to improve.”
Mistake 4: “Isolated analytics measurement” (not getting the full picture when looking at data from various devices and platforms separately)
Resolution: Instead of viewing everything as a separate metric of success, think of each touchpoint of the campaign as a part of one ecosystem. “Take a top-down approach wherein you can analyze the success of your marketing campaign as a whole and then get down to the specific channel to know which ones performed well and those that require attention.”
Mistake 5: Problematic execution
Resolution: If you’re lucky and have some omnichannel experience, you may be able to fix this problem in-house. Try focusing on customer experiences instead of touchpoints and channels, better understanding your customer base, and better segmenting your audience. If you’re still having problems with execution, it may be worth it – and best – to bring on technical hires or work with a partner company (like Strata) to optimize data and technology.
Mistake 6: Incorrect & inefficient measurement of KPIs
Resolution: While it’s very important to look at the big picture, make sure you’re measuring results at each part of the customer journey. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on some granular yet important data. “For example, calculate the number of unique visitors on your website during the awareness stage or the duration of visit in the engagement stage, to determine if the user is interested in your product.” Data like this will help you better personalize the experience for each and every customer.
Mistake 7: Forgetting about the mobile experience
Resolution: “71% of shoppers who use mobile devices to research products online say their device is an important component of their in-store experience.” Make sure your customer’s mobile experience aligns with their in-store or in-person experience with your company. Get an understanding of how your customer base may use mobile devices, and how you can best reach them (on mobile) along their journey.
Mistake 8: Simply put, a bad strategy
Resolution: Step back with your team and take the time to re-evaluate your strategy. Is it customer-centric? Is it data-driven? Does it truly meet your customer where they are? If it doesn’t, it’s time to revise accordingly.
Mistake 9: Partnering with the wrong omnichannel experts
Resolution: Do your research when finding and choosing your omnichannel partner. Make sure they’re experienced in all aspects of omnichannel marketing – not just a single channel.
If you’re still feeling intimidated by omnichannel marketing, don’t fret! Strata can help you create and implement a smart, results-driven omnichannel campaign for your company. We specialize in multi-faceted omnichannel campaigns to reach your clients, prospects, and strategic partners. Our campaigns are designed to help you put the right message in front of the right people. Contact Strata to get your very own campaign up and running.