Digital DigestJanuary 2012
Fenske Media Finds Gold with Variable Data Printing on Kodak Digital Presses
RAPID CITY, SD—Known as the Gateway to the Black Hills mountain range, pioneers descended upon what is now South Dakota's second largest city following the discovery of gold in 1874. Even though Fenske Media, based here, isn't in the mining business, it has certainly struck gold as an industry pioneer in the art of highly targeted, data-driven marketing communications.
With its roots dating back to 1957 as a letterpress, then offset, printing operation, Fenske Media foresaw that database mining and digital personalization could boost response rates within consumer-oriented direct marketing well before the necessary computer firepower, database analytics software and variable data digital printing technology became mainstream. Today, it serves as a highly successful, family-owned, multichannel marketing solutions provider that caters to a national clientele of banks, financial institutions and non-profits. The company's smallest customers have lists in the 25,000 to 50,000 range.
Built around a central database management system, Fenske's integrated services include highly personalized direct mail packages; e-mail marketing campaigns, including personalized URLs; phone connectivity (IVR); social media; database appending; multicultural and multiracial customer modeling; and multichannel response reporting.
Now owned and operated by the founder's four sons—Tom, Brian, Dave and John Fenske—the modern, extremely clean, 90,000-square-foot facility is situated high on a vista with numerous windows that offer views of the Black Hills, home of the nearby Mt. Rushmore national memorial. Surprisingly, despite all of its equipment firepower, the SAS 70- certified plant only employs some 40-plus workers, eight of whom are involved in database/list management.
Fenske also serves as a showplace for the latest in variable data color digital printing, finishing and mail room equipment. Kodak color digital press platforms in use around the plant include a NexPress (toner), a Versamark VL 2000 (drop-on- demand inkjet) and, most recently, a Prosper 5000XL four-over-four web perfector incorporating Kodak's Stream continuous inkjet technology.
Kodak hosted a contingent of industry journalists and analysts/consultants last month to tour the Fenske Media facility and speak candidly with the Fenske brothers, as well as to provide a product overview of Kodak's Digital Printing Solutions (DPS) Group.
Greg Gresock, Kodak's DPS director of presses and printers, led off the "Digital Your Way" presentation by noting the value-added opportunities of production digital printing. While it only represents 1 percent of the 64 trillion printed pages produced (retail value in 2009: $683 billion), digitally produced pages represent 9 percent of the retail value, he said.