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Mailing Services -- Diversification Devotees

August 2003
By Erik Cagle


President Kennedy put it best when he said: "Ask not what mailing services can do for you, ask what mailing services can do for your customers."

OK, so there's a little liberty taking with the paraphrasing. But there is considerable value in putting another tool in the commercial printer's sales kit.

Obviously, JFK never lived to see the marriage of printing and mailing under one roof. In his day, a dedicated mailing house handled direct mail. Commercial printers were still a generation away from uttering "one-stop shopping." They would soon realize the value of selling more to current customers, and the added benefits that could be reaped by taking better care of them through providing value-added services such as mailing.

The evolution of the commercial printer has been one of both convenience for the customer and profit for the print provider. Farming out work to specialists is quickly becoming a thing of the past, with most prepress and bindery functions being added to traditional print shops in the past 25 to 30 years. More recently, the evolution has progressed to include ancillary services such as mailing and fulfillment.

A prime example of this evolution is Metzger's Printing & Mailing, based in Holland, OH. Metzger's bowed in 1976 as a provider of typesetting services. The company then steered in the direction of DTP service bureau, then color house, followed by quick printer and commercial printer. In addition to mailing, Metzger's also provides page layout and design, large-format printing, digital color printing and finishing.

"The changes have been driven by technology developments, and the will to survive in a changing industry and marketplace," notes President Joe Metzger. "We never purchased a competitor or another company. We always grew into offering a new service the old-fashioned way. . . we researched the service, discovered the equipment and people required, went to the bank and got the money, purchased the equipment and hired the people. Then, we went out and sold the service to our existing customers and sought out new clients, as well."

Metzger's did its homework on mailing beginning in 1995 by attending MailCom seminars and various conferences. In 1998, Metzger's took the big step by debuting its Point to Point Mailing Services, buoyed by an inserter, ink-jet and tabber machine, along with BCC MailManager 2010 software. Staff members were trained where necessary, and it was only a matter of selling the new business to existing clients.
 

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