2011 Hall of Fame : Mike Panaggio - An Entrepreneur at HeartSeptember 2011 By Erik Cagle
To call Mike Panaggio a printer would be a largely inaccurate statement, or at least a less descriptive title. The man is an incurable entrepreneur. He was providing marketing services—as Barbara Mandrell might say—when marketing wasn't cool, or on the lips of seemingly every printer in the country. And he knew that personalization, not the generic broadcast mailings, would someday become a game changer in the world of direct mail.
Panaggio, the CEO of Daytona Beach, FL-based DME, chose printing because he saw an opportunity and pounced on it. Ink is not in his veins, neither is toner, and you won't hear him waxing philosophically about old-world craft, precision and the beauty that is printing. But that's OK, because Panaggio brings another dimension of printing achievement to the 2011 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame induction class.
As the industry continues to reel during a prolonged period of economic turmoil, Panaggio is a lesson in adjusting to market conditions, analyzing current and future needs of the market, and implementing a game plan that bests positions his company for future success. He thrives on opportunities and isn't afraid to leave his comfort zone, if in fact Panaggio has one. Employees of DME are expected to do the same, to push themselves into making vital contributions, and not just become clock-punchers. Status quo does not fly with Panaggio.
"Our talent, throughout the organization, is encouraged to come up with new products," says Panaggio. "We punish those who do nothing and we reward those who really try. We try lots of new things, some of which fail. We're constantly innovating, constantly creating something new. I tell customers, just don't do what works. You need DME to help you innovate, to help keep your business differentiated."
Check out DME's current offerings: 2,500 online marketing products, including personalized gift wrap (giftskins.com). There's DME Studios, a full-service creative agency, not to mention expressionables.com, a consumer site for printing special occasions keepsakes. DME Digital MEdia provides Website design, presentations and digital media design. And RocketLife.com, a joint venture with Visan, provides a laundry list of items that fall under the photo book umbrella. The firm has also delved into sports marketing.
Still, its bread-and-butter offering, historically, has linked to direct mail and now incorporates integrated marketing, crossing all levels of media to deliver the client's message efficiently and effectively. He readily admits that his company does far less printing than it used to, and virtually all of it is now digital output. Sure, printing is still part of the mix, but times are changing—and Panaggio has developed tracking technology that bears this out.