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DirectMail.com : The Masters of Data

June 2011 By Julie Greenbaum
Associate Editor
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Through the use of the GeoSelector tool, the company can not only identify a client's key customers or prospects, but the actual types of messages and offers most likely to generate a response. Increasingly, that requires DirectMail.com to produce personalized, targeted messages using digital printing and laser imprinting equipment.

As such, DirectMail.com has made several investments throughout its operation in the past two years. The company has added a six-color, HP Indigo 5500 press with UV coater; a Konica Minolta bizhub PRO C6500; and an Océ VarioPrint 5160 printer.

"Our digital output capabilities give us the ability to create more personalized and relevant direct marketing campaigns," Anderson explains. "Just last year, we hit our six billion mark in direct marketing pieces mailed."

The acquisition of marketing solutions provider Eagle Direct last year also increased the firm's capacity to produce more than four million pieces of mail per week. Other recent investments include a major upgrade to a new data center to support its server and network capacities; new Palamides banders on three MBO folders; additional Roll Systems unwind and rewinders on laser printing and document processing equipment; and multiple FlowMaster smart inserters.

Its web and sheetfed offset printing capabilities include an eight-color Sanden Varicom-1200 and six-color Didde DGS 860 web presses; six- and four-color, 40˝ Heidelberg Speedmasters; a two-color, Heidelberg SORDZ; two-color, 20˝ Ryobi 512; and a pair of two-color, Halm SuperJet envelope presses. Bindery gear consists of four MBO folders, two Lawson cutters and a Heidelberg Polar cutter.

In 2006, having witnessed tremendous growth from its DirectMail.com Website (exceeding 110,000 visitors a month), Salta and Swain decided to officially change their company's name from DM Group to DirectMail.com.

"Our goal back then was to continue to build on our brand, and use the power of the Internet to increase both our online e-commerce and off-line business opportunities—from national to worldwide," recalls Salta. "Concomitant efforts to advance data personalization strategies and the acquisition of digital printers made the Website a viable approach to implement our three-year plan and service both large and small clients."

As a result, the company was able to stave off the full impact of the recession. "During this time, our core focus was to increase the number of clients who utilize more of our services and have less reliance on commodity-based pricing," explains Salta. "By delivering successful strategies and seeing improved results, our customers increased their marketing budgets and continued to mail. In many cases, we saw their mail volumes actually increase."

No Family Feuds Here

Another key to the company's success has been the ability of the two managing families to coexist well. "It is really great being able to work with my father (Bob), as well as the Swains," explains Shawn Salta, vice president. "It has truly been a partnership of both of our families that has enabled this organization to continue to grow."

Last year, DirectMail.com posted close to $30 million in sales, and today it serves clients in the United States, Europe, China and Russia. The company currently employs 250 employees across its three-building campus (which totals 105,000 square feet).

Throughout its history, DirectMail.com has been repeatedly recognized for its leadership role in employing individuals with disabilities. The Direct Marketing Association of Washington also named the company its 2010 Vendor of the Year. Since 1986, DirectMail.com has worked with the association's Educational Foundation through its Swain Scholarship program.

According to Swain, one of the biggest challenges facing the direct marketing industry today is the uncertainly of the U.S. Postal Service, including the possible discontinuation of Saturday delivery and more complex domestic mail. With measures already set in place, the company hopes to make this process less harrowing. "We maintain a great relationship with the USPS, and have a detached mail unit clerk onsite. We also have a postal facility in our mail shop," Swain adds.

Moving forward, DirectMail.com will continue to focus on the current vertical markets it serves, and it is exploring the healthcare and insurance segments. The company will also continue to monitor, adjust and validate its segmentation models, as well as its strategies to improve customers' ROI.

Both Salta and Swain do not see direct mail disappearing any time soon. In fact, they plan to sit down with as many prospects as possible to explain the importance of leveraging marketing intelligence.

"Meeting the challenge of placing the right offer (or message) in front of the right client or donor will be an even more important requirement in the future as our industry evolves," concludes Swain. "But, direct mail will continue to be a viable marketing channel, and many opportunities in the future will depend on finding the right approach to leveraging data, print and digital technologies." PI


 

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