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IWCO Direct -- Direct Route to Success

February 2005
By Erik Cagle

Senior Editor

One would be hard pressed to find a better model for success than the one that is constantly being crafted and perfected at IWCO Direct in Chanhassen, MN.

The former Instant Web Companies, which recast its name last year to reflect its integrated direct mail package capabilities, has been a runaway train for billowing sales the past four years. Its revenues in 2001 registered a very respectable $84 million, a figure that climbed to $91 million in 2002 and $124.9 million in 2003, culminating with an estimated $146 million for 2004.

Growth a Constant

Perhaps culminating is an inaccurate term; sure, the sales have reached a high water mark for IWCO Direct, but there is little evidence to indicate that growth—all of which has been organic—is subsiding.

Plus, the integration philosophy is not limited to the direct mail packages IWCO Direct provides for industries that include financial services, insurance and customer loyalty programs. The company interweaves its clients, employees, vendors and business partners via a myriad of programs aimed at educating, informing and blending together the many players that comprise all aspects of the final product.

In this regard, IWCO Direct is taking communication to a new level. Perhaps it is only appropriate, for this is at the very heart of what makes a successful direct marketing campaign tick—the ability to communicate a product and/or service in a most concise and effective manner.

According to Peter Karle, executive vice president and CFO, the stellar financial performance mostly results from the execution of the company's game plan.

"We put a strategic planning process in place and built the right management team to execute that plan," Karle says. "We've also gone through fairly extensive account reviews and, over time, have eliminated underperforming accounts or accounts that don't embrace the single-source concept. Obviously, cost containment is a big part of it.

"The fact that we have this integrated model gives us the unique opportunity to eliminate some redundancies and really keep the communications channels open with customers, employees and suppliers," he adds.

The company was founded as Instant Services by Frank Beddor in 1969 and changed its name to Instant Web after installing the first web press in 1976. The pieces that would ultimately lead toward the current integrated network slowly fell into place as United Mailing was acquired in 1977, followed by Victory Envelope in 1981. Four years later, a manufacturing facility was added in Little Falls, MN.
 

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