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DIRECT MAIL HOLDINGS — Addressing Client Needs

May 2005 By Mark Smith
Technology Editor
Focusing on customers and providing one-stop service hardly qualify as revolutionary marketing philosophies. They are about as fresh and original as the covers of hit songs performed by American Idol contestants. In both cases, proper execution is what makes the difference between falling flat and ending on a high note.

Building on its base in Mount Pleasant, IA, the top management of Direct Mail Holdings is pursuing that straightforward business proposition. It's positioning the organization as a one-stop shop for direct marketers across the United States and is seeking to exploit the latest digital technology in order to help customers target names better with unique, personalized campaigns that boost response rates.

For good measure, President Randy Seberg adds, "Our vision is to deliver direct mail pieces from image file to mailing within 24 hours."

Group Effort

Six companies currently constitute the organization's holdings. The founding piece is Alaniz LLC, which was started by Salvador Alaniz as a printer of dry-gum return address labels and later expanded into mailing. In 1998, the family sold the business to management and Direct Mail Holdings was born.

The organization has since grown through acquisition, including adding three major components in just the last two years. Its holdings now include Creative Mailing & Marketing in Los Angeles; Creative Print & Mailing in Tulsa, OK; Focus Direct in San Antonio; Mail America Communications in Forest, VA; and International Data Management (IMDI) in Akron, OH. The privately held company's revenues now exceed $100 million annually and it employs more than 950 people.

With the exception of IDMI, each location is equipped to provide mailing and offset printing (both narrow web and sheetfed) services. All five of the production sites also have some form of digital imprinting capabilities for personalization, whether that be continuous or cut-sheet laser devices.

IDMI is a separate and distinct operation that provides complete data management services for direct marketing. Even though it may have customers in common with the production sites, the database firm isn't a captive supplier to them. Those facilities have their own resources for processing a supplied mailing list, but do not get involved in merging lists and managing responses.

Direct Mail Holdings serves as an organizational umbrella for the subsidiaries, but management has no plans to fold them into one brand. "We believe each one of those companies has uniqueness of product, location and market segment, so the individual branding is important," Seberg says.

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