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American Paper & Provisions: Unique Methods For Reaching Unique Markets

American Paper & Provisions started in 1982 as American Paper & Plastics. Since then, the company has become a prominent supplier of restaurants, bakeries, amusement parks, hospitals, hotels, caterers, bakeries, and supermarkets, expanding its product offering to include over 14,000 items and emerging as a viable competitor to much larger, nationwide brands such as Sysco and U.S. Foods.

Choosing The Right Tools

In its most recent rebranding, American Paper & Plastics unveiled a new name — American Paper & Provisions — as well as an expanded product offering now totaling over 14,000 items. Many of these new items fell into the food products category, a marked divergence from the company’s previous focus on kitchen supplies, janitorial supplies, and food packaging.

As a result, APP’s marketing needs were twofold:

• Develop new business by connecting online with customers who were searching for the food products they now offered

• Ensure that their existing customers were aware of their new product offering, creating cross-selling opportunities for their sales team and deepening their business relationships with these customers

APP was interested in a very particular kind of new business lead: executive chefs at restaurants grossing over $5 million annually, located in zip codes within their delivery radius. Given this degree of specificity, Kobe Digital knows that a traditional pay-per-click campaign would not be sufficient to achieve the company’s goals. Instead, they created a programmatic advertising campaign that not only met APP’s targeting requirements but also delivered qualified leads at compelling ROIs.

To inform their existing customers about their new product offering, the agency crafted an email marketing campaign comprised of weekly newsletters highlighting special offers designed around new items.

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Kobe Digital believes that one-size-fits-all approaches can never be truly successful, and that every business requires a unique approach. In the case of American Paper & Provisions, two unique approaches were needed — one for each of their marketing objectives.

Rooftop-Level Ad Targeting

American Paper & Provisions didn’t just need to target the right businesses — they also needed to target the right people at those businesses.

For extremely specific cases like these, cookie-based targeting can sometimes fall apart. That’s why the agency tapped into offline data sources first, mapping this data to digital identifiers such as IP addresses, device IDs, and location coordinates.

The result: rooftop-level specificity in selecting exactly which desktop computers and mobile devices Kobe Digital wanted their ads served to.

Once this firmographic foundation was created, the agency layered on occupational data to hone in on the decision makers at these restaurants: the executive chefs.

Weekly Email Newsletter Blasts

With such a large number of new products being offered, Kobe Digital knows that the only way to keep APP’s existing customers in the loop without being ignored or forgotten was with a measured, gradual approach in a way that also provided immediate value.

To execute this strategy, they collaborated with the management team at American Paper & Provisions to create a schedule of special offers that would serve to highlight their new products — one item at a time, at a very manageable frequency of once a week — at special introductory prices to encourage customers to place an initial order.

Their graphic designers crafted several customized newsletter template designs, and the content team handled all copywriting from end to end for a seamless launch.

Ongoing Optimiztion

With the desired new business leads targeted and the email campaign created, the agency was ready to launch the campaign — but the real work was only beginning. Set-it-and-forget-it campaigns lead to forgettable results. All campaigns — regardless of how well-designed they may be — require diligent, ongoing optimization to truly maximize return on investment for clients.

The programmatic advertising campaign used algorithms to optimize performance in real-time, analyzing performance data to make on-the-fly adjustments to day parting preferences, frequency caps, contextual targeting settings, and site placements.


The optimization process for the email marketing was considerably more manual in nature, requiring the analysis of various campaign KPIs after each week’s newsletter blast and making the appropriate adjustments to the subsequent week’s campaign.

Optimization techniques involved A/B testing various subject line styles, send times, and call-to-action placements until the agency is able to determine the balance of these factors that resulted in the outcome American Paper & Provisions cared about the most: increased sales.

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