Optamark Grows With Help of Web-to-print Platform, Dedicated Support Team
Tarang Gosalia saw a gap in the printing industry and he decided to take a risk and try to address it. In 2011, Gosalia launched Optamark, a full-service branding agency based in Boston, to provide companies a one-stop printing and branding shop focused on providing customers with support and access throughout 100% of the process.
As the CEO of the company, Gosalia has aimed to offer clients what he felt other printing companies couldn’t: access to every type of printed product with an easy-to-use interface for placing and tracking orders. The reason, Gosalia explains, is that he realized that print shops weren’t able to provide customers with everything from brochures to wide-format, all while guaranteeing support throughout the process. From his experience, he had seen printers simply providing the printed product, rather than working with the customer to determine exactly what was needed from start to finish.
When Gosalia’s parents immigrated from India they ran a Sir Speedy print shop. It was then that he started to notice the downfalls of some traditional printing companies. His parents had to run a project through every step of the printing process — from intake to delivery. However, from a customer perspective, there was no means of control or communication. Not only that, in a typical print shop, it’s impossible to fulfill every possible printing need.
“I can go to my package printer for a package, but they’re not going to print my business cards,” he says. “A traditional printing company will produce my catalog, but not the business cards. [With Optamark] the buyer can funnel all of their products into the platform and not have the hassle of going to multiple vendors.”
The benefit of Optamark, though, is that every piece of branded collateral that a customer could possibly need can be ordered through its software. Every aspect of the sale — outsourcing, color management, prepress, graphic design, accounting, billing — is then managed by one of Optamark’s dedicated sales staff members.
The software, which was created by Optamark’s team of seven in-house developers, is a Web-to-print platform that is tailored for each customer. Once a client is brought on, the customized platform can be turned around in 24 to 48 hours. Through the interface, the customer can browse through products and offerings, place an order and track the status. The software can also offer each user products specific to his or her needs, a certain stock for example.
No matter the medium — business cards, complex variable data direct mailers, wide-format printing, packaging, catalogs, postcards, etc. — if Optamark cannot print it, it will be outsourced to a company in Optamark’s extensive network of offset, web and wide-format printing companies, which helps keep Optamark’s operating costs lean. Eliminating the back and forth between customer and printer also helps to keep costs lower, which in turn allows Optamark to offer better pricing to its customers.
“We’re confident to source anything that has ink on it,” he says. “If we can’t source it, we will be frank that we can’t take it on.”
For example, Optamark currently has a complex web offset job that generates approximately 9 million impressions/month. A job of this size could only be completed by an experienced web printer, so Optamark turned to the experts to handle the work.
Optamark also does do some printing in-house. The company’s four facilities — Boston, Dallas, New York and Jaipur, India — all have printing capabilities. Optamark will also be expanding into Stamford, Conn.
In all, the company boasts two Xerox C75s; a Xerox 4112; a 13x19˝ Xerox DC 770 digital press; a six-color, 60˝ HP DesignJet L25500 Latex wide-format printer; a Ricoh 8110 with bookletmaker; three AB Dick sheetfed offset presses — which Optamark uses for critical color work on envelopes and letterheads — and a battery of finishing and mailing equipment. Mostly though, short-run orders that can be fulfilled by its fleet of digital printers are completed in-house.
Gosalia explains that the company prints anything from booklets and insert cards to restaurant menus and variable data direct mail. For example, Optamark recently printed a 4.25x11˝ greeting card for a local community center in Massachusetts. Verizon also turns to the company for some of its direct mail pieces, for which Optamark does all of the printing, finishing and mailing in-house.
“[For direct mail], we typically print as little as 500 to as many as 15,000 or 20,000 in-house,” Gosalia says. “Anything beyond that we broker out.”
Gosalia doesn’t want to stop there though. He is looking to expand into San Francisco, and eventually hopes to have a sales presence in every major metropolitan city. Optamark goes after mostly venture-backed startups because they tend to need the most help from the start; so being in as many large cities as possible will optimize its conversion rates.
While most of the company’s support system is in its Jaipur office, Gosalia says Optamark is working on building a large network of independent salespeople who can make their own hours, similar to the business model made famous by on-demand transportation service Uber.
Optamark, which was named on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest growing private companies in both 2015 and 2016, has been proactive about technology, which is what Gosalia attributes most to its exponential growth. He feels he has built a company that can compete with both small and large printing companies: the small companies because Optamark has many of the same printing capabilities with its digital, short-run equipment; the large companies because Optamark works with its extensive network of printers.
The company, which is currently generating about $5.5 million in annual revenues, aims to use technology to enable customers to run an entire job seamlessly from start to finish — all from their cellphones.
Technology is also to thank for the educational database that Optamark is creating. “Frankly, there is not a lot of young blood in printing who are knowledgable about the product,” Gosalia admits. “So I’ve had to figure out a way to train people.” While Gosalia did work to bring in some salespeople who were knowledgeable about the printing industry, he knew that it wouldn’t be a sustainable option. As a result, he realized that he needed to create an easy-to-use educational system that sales reps could use to teach themselves about the subtle nuances of the industry.
The company hired a full-time actor to create a video library featuring every single product that Optamark provides, explaining in detail every aspect that might be crucial for a sale. “We’ve built a technology-enabled educational platform,” he says. “Technology, plus the tools for industry education, creates the recipe for success.”