Best-in-Class Innovator Spotlight: More than a Printer, Baesman Group Is 'Marketers Serving Marketers'
What a year. No one in the industry could have foretold it. Now we’re all doing our best just to come to the end of it in safety.
2020 will be remembered for many things. One of them should be that it was the year in which innovation often came to mean the same thing as business survival.
Everything that has happened to printing firms as a result of the pandemic is unprecedented. This means everything they have done in response to it has obliged them to improvise. To rethink. To come up with new ways of protecting their employees. To pivot to completely different methods of interacting with customers. In short, to innovate.
As we've done the past several years in Printing Impressions, we profiled six companies that remain alive and well in the printing industry. This year, we’re presenting these portraits of Innovators in tribute, not just to the companies themselves, but to every printing business that has survived the trials of 2020 by being innovative. Here is a profile of one of our Best-in-Class Innovators.
“Printers.” “Graphic communications experts.” “Marketing service providers.” Firms in this industry have sometimes waffled over what to call themselves. There’s no such ambiguity at Baesman Group, a Hilliard, Ohio-based company where printing, customer relations management (CRM), and brand loyalty programs all converge in support of one clear purpose.
“We are marketers serving marketers,” declares Ashley Holmes, who directs marketing programs for Baesman. Printing is the basis of almost everything the company provides but, as Holmes explains, “calling it printing does it a disservice.” This is because the word by itself doesn’t express the full scope of the marketing resources the company can bring to bear for its clients.
She says the bigger picture of being a marketing strategy and production company spans direct mail, in-store signage, warehousing and fulfillment, and branded online ordering systems. These services are the channels of end-to-end campaigns designed to connect Baesman’s clientele with the right customers, and to keep those customers close — all driven by highly granular data analytics, another Baesman specialty.
The objective, says Holmes, is to make sure that clients have “the right customers to deploy to,” and the right tools for sustaining the relationships throughout the life cycle of the campaign. Baesman’s vehicle for making this happen is Intuition, a loyalty-building technology platform that Holmes describes as flexible, scalable and, above all, deeply insightful into customer behavior.
Customer Loyalty, by the Numbers
Customer loyalty programs aim at retaining customers by giving them good reasons — often built around points and similar rewards — to stay with the brand instead of switching to a competitor. Determining what will work best comes from profiling customers’ motivations and buying habits, and detecting the opportunities they point to.
Intuition, in use at Baesman for 10 years, arrives at this strategic understanding by sifting through massive amounts of customer, transactional, and behavioral data. It then processes the information to build result-getting loyalty campaigns: issuing points, creating program tiers, and providing reporting metrics for account management.
In this way, Holmes explains, Intuition can give each client precisely the kind of loyalty program it needs, including the financial modeling. Customers can run the campaigns themselves, or they can entrust the execution to Baesman. “It can be whatever you want it to be,” Holmes emphasizes.
She notes that much of the company’s growth in recent years has come from broadening its CRM and loyalty services to help brands attract and retain repeat customers. Besides retail, its traditional vertical, Baesman’s B2C client base consists of health care organizations, financial and insurance businesses, restaurants, and franchisors.
Baesman, a third-generation, family-owned company established in 1952, serves its clients from a Midwestern location that Holmes says is within a two-day shipping radius of 80% of the U.S. population. Its 150 employees work in an environment named by PRINTING United Alliance as one of this year’s “Best Workplaces in the Americas.”
Direct mail, now accounting for about 50% of the company’s business, is expected to remain its fastest-growing application, according to Holmes. The printing, done to G7 certification standards on a combination of lithographic and digital presses, can include variable messaging and barcode imprinting for delivery tracking. Mailing list management and postal rate optimization are additional services that direct mail customers can count on from Baesman, according to Holmes.
Another area of opportunity lies in fulfillment. This ancillary activity, she points out, usually has been thought of as a subset of printing. Baesman, however, operates it as a standalone service for inventorying and delivering e-commerce orders received at its automated, 100,000-sq.-ft. fulfillment center in Columbus, Ohio. As the popularity of online shopping continues to grow, Baesman will expand its footprint in fulfillment and logistics. “We have to stay current with that space,” she says.
The overarching goal of everything the company does is to function as a single point of contact for customers throughout the entire marketing cycle. Baesman accomplishes this, Holmes notes, by “staying current with what marketers need” and addressing those needs accordingly. As a marketer serving marketers, it’s essential for Baesman “to be consistent with what the market is telling us.”
This happens by virtue of keeping faith with the principles that earned the company its Best Workplaces designation. Baesman is a business “set up for people to thrive in,” Holmes declares. Its innovative and supportive atmosphere is all about “empowering people to do more than they ever thought they can do” on behalf of customers.