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.
“Back in the ’90s when we first started in large-scale mailing, we got up to about 70 percent of $37 million annual volume. The Sells acquisition has diluted the sales percentage.” Of Ripon Printer’s 237,000 square feet of plant space, about 44,000 is allocated to mailing services, Eiler added. Its mailing services have evolved from using a Kodak Versamark 4100 Printing System for inkjet output to a Versamark 5100 model today. “We migrated to offline using a reworked Rima stacker,” he explained, “which has increased productivity.”
Mailing quantities generally are less than 100,000 pieces. “From 5,000 to 10,000 is typical,” he said. “Fifty thousand would be a good sized mailing for us.” Mailing partner Advanced Logistics Group (ALG), Bolingbrook, IL, handles co-mailing and co-palletization for Ripon. “We’re not big enough to run co-mail on our own,” Eiler admitted. “We run our drop shipping through ALG as well.”
Ripon also is in the process of leveraging the USPS Simple Samples program (https://www.usps.com/business/simple-samples.htm) and is developing a proprietary “Bindalope” product using paper wrap instead of poly wrap, Eiler said. “It’s an environmentally friendly alternative that also provides more square inches of advertising space for personalized messaging,” he explained.
Even though Ripon’s operation is much larger than DavCo’s, Eiler agreed with Esh that mailing does bring in printing. “Mailing services are not a gold mine,” Eiler noted, “but a lot of work in the shop wouldn’t be here without them.” He also agreed that “mailing is complicated but do-able. Learning and preparation are the keys -- from postal rules to the complexity of the inkjet systems – because mistakes are expensive. Checks and balances are necessary to maintain accuracy.”
Ripon lucked out 18 years ago, gleaning much of its mailing information from a retired postmaster who the firm put on its payroll. “It was during the 1996 postal reform, which is when we really started to focus more on mailing,” Eiler remembered. The USPS-imposed computerized platform back then meant that letter shops could no longer be “garage” operations, he said. As a result, Ripon Printer’s mail volumes doubled in the late 1990s. Fast-forwarding to today’s print shops that want to add mailing, the first step, he continued, is to call the local Post Office and join a Postal Customer Council (PCC). https://www.usps.com/business/local-pcc.htm
Vendors in the Mail Act, Too
Several print industry vendors have seized the mail opportunity as well. EFI, for example, has several products that help PSPs integrate mailing, including list acquisition, CASS sorting, trigger-based mailing, and other services.
EFI’s cloud-based OPS web-to-print product line integrates with a third-party provider, Satori Software, for integrated CASS, NCOA, and pre-sorting services, and with AccuData for list acquisition.EFI’s Digital StoreFront eCommerce product integrates with AuctionInc shipping software, which allows for direct data entry on job shipments with the USPS, FedEx, and UPS.EFI also offers a comprehensive mailing offering as part of its Pace MIS.
VDP Case Study: University of Phoenix
Printer/Direct Mail Firm: Prisma Graphic, Phoenix, AZ
Customer: the University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America. Founded in 1976, it has grown exponentially in the last 34 years. Prospective students who contact the university are its largest student lead source, so following up on student inquiries has been key to maintaining and increasing organizational growth.
Challenge/need: University of Phoenix wanted to take the contact information collected through mail-in, call-in, and online sources, and follow-up with a direct mail response that would speak one-on-one with each prospective student and engage the potential student in learning more about her or his program of interest. Ultimately, University of Phoenix wanted to increase interest and enrollment opportunities by making each mailing more relevant to the individual.
Solution: Prisma developed a program, using a variable-data printing solution, to take the initial contact information and create direct mail products that individually address each prospect and provide multiple communication methods to further the relationship. The personalized messages include the individual’s name, gender recognition, maps to nearest campuses, unique phone numbers, and programs of interest.