To reflect its new direction, the Mailing & Fulfillment Services Association (MFSA) changed its name in early 2013 to the Association of Marketing Service Providers (AMSP). “Printers are viewed by customers in a much more inter-dependent way,” explained John Rafner, AMSP’s director of...
To access the remainder of this piece of premium content, you must be registered with MyPRINTResource. Already have an account? Login
Register in seconds by connecting with your preferred Social Network.
Complete the registration form.
To reflect its new direction, the Mailing & Fulfillment Services Association (MFSA) changed its name in early 2013 to the Association of Marketing Service Providers (AMSP). “Printers are viewed by customers in a much more inter-dependent way,” explained John Rafner, AMSP’s director of membership growth. “Clients want and expect printers to be marketing service providers [MSPs], providing a convergence of many distinct yet interrelated services. Printing, both digital and conventional, mailing, fulfillment, along with promotional products, data work for the web and social media are just a few of the areas we encourage our members to incorporate into their current and future business plans.” Rafner went on to describe some of the ways AMSP is helping its members to smooth make these transitions by providing education, publications, and consulting services in all disciplines of being a MSP.
Savvy print firm owners and managers recognize the need to embrace a full array of marketing channels -- and to deliver them to their customers. However, hesitating to jump into the mail game is understandable, according to Rick Esh, president of DavCo Advertising. DavCo is a direct marketing service provider/commercial print firm that added mailing to its menu 10 years ago, said Esh. Founded in 1974 by Rick’s dad, Dave, the family-run company is situated in Kinzers, PA, about an hour from Philadelphia and not far from Harrisburg. With annual sales of approximately $7 million, the 35,000-square-foot facility employs 40 people full time. Before investing in a Jet 1 inkjet addressing system with inline tabbing from Secap two years ago, DavCo had used a Pitney Bowes tabletop printer. It also upgraded to an HP Indigo 5600 Digital Press, installed in 2012 and primarily used for postcard printing. (A 5000 model had been in place since 2008.)
“We used to sub-[contract] out [mailing services], or our clientele took fulfillment to a mail house,” Esh recalled. Five years ago, less than five percent of DavCo’s sales were derived from mailing, package, and fulfillment services. Today, that percentage is somewhere between 15 and 20, he noted. “It definitely has brought more business through our door,” Esh said, adding that margins on mail services “are good. But you have to look at the overall picture. Mailing leads to more design and print work. It adds substantial work to all our sectors.”
A lot of print firms hesitate to get into mailing because of the complexity involved, and Esh said he appreciates that concern. But he notes that today’s data processing and sorting software is intuitive, adding that the vendors can be very helpful. (DavCo uses Satori Bulk Mailer software to set up jobs so that they print in the correct order.) The U.S. Postal Service also is helpful. “We leaned on our local Post Office quite a bit early on,” Esh said, adding that changes to tab sizes, folding, and address positioning can be very frustrating. “The Post Office sends out notifications, but you have to want to do it [mailing].” In addition to layout and design work and wide-format printing, DavCo offers mail-related services such as database cleansing and even purchases targeted mailing lists on behalf of customers. “We’ve learned as we’ve went along,” Esh concluded, citing the USPS’s Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) certification and National Change of Address (NCOA) list de-duplication as two examples. (See more below.)
Larger Mail Scale
In the Midwest, Ripon Printers (Ripon, WI) is a leading manufacturer of catalogs, publications, manuals, and soft-cover educational products that began adding mailing services more than 20 years ago. The firm acquired Sells Printing of New Berlin, WI, in March 2012; combined annual sales of the two companies total more than $50 million. “We estimate that about 35 percent of that involves mailing,” reported Jerry Eiler, Ripon’s technical finishing engineer.