Direct Group — Masters of MessagingAugust 2009 By Julie Greenbaum
Since its outset in 1995, Direct Group has transformed itself from a direct mail lettershop that offered only laser printing into a company that now implements and executes multi-channel communications. Today, it offers database management and analytics; e-messaging; personalized digital printing; response tracking; postal processing; mailing services; and fulfillment.
Direct Group’s client base is made up largely of Fortune 100 companies, encompassing a range of industries, including financial services, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, hospitality, gaming, retail, insurance, automotive, non-profit, education and publishing, the armed forces, home security and travel.
First U.S. Installation
In 2008 alone, the company installed 45 new digital/laser printing heads, giving it increased capability to support customers’ sophisticated, multi-channel direct marketing campaigns. One major investment was an Océ JetStream 2200 continuous ink-jet press—the first such system of its kind installed in the United States.
“The JetStream was a significant investment for us because it enables our clients to leverage three significant and converging industry trends—the rapidly increasing adoption of trigger-based mailings, the availability of revolutionary digital printing technology, and the demand for more effective postal strategies to combat recent and future rate increases,” explains Don McKenzie, president and CEO of Direct Group.
And with the installation of a second JetStream 2200 this past December, the company’s capacity to offer fully variable, 4/4 personalized text, graphics, and/or images in a continuous environment, has increased to roughly two million variable color packages a day. Both JetStream systems have the capacity to produce more than 30 million digitally produced pieces per month, as well as to speed production cycle times.
“We can receive files in the afternoon and, whether the customer needs several hundred, thousand or million pieces, we can get them in the mail the next day,” McKenzie adds. “Years ago, it was a 10- to 20-day cycle, and we have now compressed that into from one day to one week, depending upon the client’s needs.”
Direct Group found that adopting a “trigger” mentality has been very successful in driving response rates, but it also means working around the clock to get the job done. “Trigger-based marketing can be very stressful to our organization because it requires 24/7 capabilities in data processing and client services,” notes Matt Graham, chief strategy officer.