Digital Marketing Services: Digital Marketing Services Drives Growth Through Technology
Some people hate moving—packing boxes, renting trucks, clearing clutter—but to the team at Digital Marketing Services (DMS) in Pelham, AL, a relocation is received with excitement and optimism. To DMS, moving results from continued growth and expansion, and that’s just what the company has been doing since the day it began...in a basement.
Ryan Cooper, 33, founded the company with his childhood pal Matthew Greer, also 33, in 2006 (the two have been friends since they were age 10). Cooper had started selling Océ copiers and multifunction printers (MFPs) after college when he got the idea to start his own printing business. “I saw all of the developments that were happening and what could be done with digital printing devices,” he says, “so I decided to branch out and do it on my own.”
In true entrepreneurial fashion, Cooper quit his job, acquired a 50 ppm color MFP and installed it in the basement of his home. Initially, Cooper—DMS’s president—was the only full-time employee. Greer joined full-time a few years later, serving as chief technology officer and president of sales.
From the basement location, DMS moved into a small suite after six months, and it has been on the move ever since. Recently, DMS outgrew its last location, where it took up six of eight rental spaces. “There was just nowhere else to go inside of that building,” Greer explains. The company moved into a 15,000-square-foot production facility, doubling its floor space.
A Full Spectrum of Services
DMS offers a wide spectrum of digital printing solutions, including full-color and monochrome output, wide-format, graphic design services and more. But the founders are quick to explain that DMS is not a typical commercial printer. Rather, they classify themselves as a technology business with sophisticated printing capabilities.
“The fact that we’re first and foremost a technology company is a big strength for us,” notes Greer. “There are very few printing companies that understand all of the available technology at people’s fingertips.” DMS aims to show its customers how technology can be of benefit.
The company’s pride and joy is a powerful Web-based platform created in-house, called DigiFLO. This Web-to-print and asset management system allows clients to maintain their marketing collateral from one central spot for multiple locations. It was originally developed in response to a specific customer’s request. That company had been purchased by a bigger firm and suddenly had to oversee three different brands with 27 locations.
“Printing is one of the most mismanaged expenses in a large corporation or business,” Cooper explains. Oftentimes, if a client has multiple locations, each one is turning to a local print shop, resulting in inconsistent print collateral, wrong versions being used and wasted inventory. DigiFLO streamlines the online ordering process, ensures brand consistency and lowers costs for its users by having all print products managed on one platform.
“We’re able to save clients money on shipping costs, too, because they’re not shipping from all across the nation, and we’ve negotiated low rates with UPS,” Greer adds.
DigiFLO itself has grown up just as fast as DMS. The system is on its third version, with a fourth upgrade in the wings. With each release, new functionality is added, such as customized reports, an Amazon-like shopping cart and the ability to manipulate user-inputted data. Currently, about 3,500 users from 60 companies take advantage of the platform.
Proprietary Personalization Software
DMS also offers statement/transactional printing through proprietary software it developed in-house. Many of its clients come from the financial services industry, in addition to healthcare and retail markets, so processing personalized information via digital printing is a key service it provides.
“About 75 percent of our business starts with some type of technology,” says Greer.
But DMS is a printing company, too, and one look inside its production facility will verify that. There, three Konica Minolta bizhub PRESS C8000 digital color presses and a new bizhub PRESS C1100 color digital press operate every day, along with two black-and-white bizhub 1052 printers. The company also runs two envelope printers, a Xanté Impressia and an OKI 3640, in addition to a bevy of finishing equipment, such as cutters, creasers, folders and saddlestitchers.
In the immediate future, DMS plans to install a diecutter from Standard Finishing. “It seems like people are wanting more jobs die-cut on a daily basis,” explains Cooper. “We’re also looking into the possibility of getting the new Konica KM-1 cutsheet inkjet press, whenever it hits the market.” That addition would help the shop get into other niches like packaging and large transactional accounts.
DMS has augmented its headcount, too, to keep up with its growth. “In the past 18 months, we’ve pretty much doubled our staff,” Cooper says. “We’ve added people in production, sales, customer service and Web development.” And they’re not stopping there. With 26 employees at present, the owners are looking to add even more.
All of this expansion has led DMS to be named one of Inc. magazine’s 5,000 fastest growing companies for the past two years. In the latest listing, DMS experienced 212 percent growth over a three-year period. With $4 million in sales, it is also one of the top 10 fastest growing companies in its home state of Alabama.
Cooper and Greer both feel their company’s biggest strength is the team they have in place. “Pretty much everyone who works here is willing to go the extra mile,” Cooper says. “That was clearly evident with our recent move and all of the long hours everybody put in to make sure it went as smoothly as possible.”
Those boxes shouldn’t be put away too quickly, though. At the rate this business is going, DMS will surely keep moving—onwards and upwards. PI