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Wilen Group: Big Data, Bigger Profits

June 2013 By Erik Cagle, Senior Editor
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When it comes to his company's product and service portfolio, Darrin Wilen is certain of one thing. In five years, if his company is still doing business as it did in 2013, then the prospects for the future are rather bleak.

OK, maybe that is giving in to hyperbole, but Wilen—president of the Wilen Group, parent company of direct mail printer Wilen Direct—has been down this road before, many times, in fact. The company has reinvented itself more times than Madonna and, like the Material Girl, remains at the top of its game.

"We pride ourselves on being agile and nimble, being responsive to client needs and acting fast," Wilen says. "We're always accessible. We realize our clients can go elsewhere, so we have to work that much harder to make them happier and to keep them from wanting to go anywhere else.

"As business changes, we've constantly had to reinvent ourselves," he adds. "Change is really embedded in our DNA and our culture. We're different from who we were five to seven years ago. That nimbleness and agility is something that other commercial legacy printers can't match, because we're always evolving and investing in new equipment."

A True, Full-Service MSP

Though the Wilen Group may have one eye constantly peeled on the future, the other (from a printing point of view) is focused on the world of direct mail. The overall organization acts as a full-scale marketing services provider, from concept to delivery, and cringes at being pigeon-holed as a printer, mailer or ad agency.

The front end, conceptual agency magic begins at Wilen New York, a full-service, direct marketing agency that services Fortune 500 companies. Located in Farmingdale on Long Island, it is run by Darrin Wilen. Kevin Wilen, Darrin's brother, quarterbacks Wilen Direct in Deerfield Beach, FL, which is in the process of nearly doubling its manufacturing space to the 170,000-square-foot range. The addition is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2014.

Wilen Direct specializes in manufacturing direct mail for the retail, financial and telecom sectors, to name a few. Four-color, variable data digital printing has been virtually raised to an art form as marketers have grown their databases and learned to harness the power of "big data," as Darrin Wilen terms it. This enables more targeted, personalized mailings as marketers look to get more and more out of their campaigns while using fewer stamps, so to speak.


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