From the very beginning, Universal Wilde Founder and CEO Bill Fitzgerald had planned to build a company that would serve its customers, “from thought to distribution.” The company grew through acquisitions; in the beginning acquiring prestigious printing companies like Daniels Printing, and Acme Printing Company. More importantly from a strategic perspective was the most recent acquisition of Wilde & Wilde Agency, a direct marketing agency. Today, the company generates revenues of $150 million and encompasses a 700,000 square feet spread across six facilities in Massachusetts. Although every acquisition was instrumental in the company’s success, the Wilde & Wilde deal was the final component in fulfilling Fitzgerald’s vision.
Each acquisition brought new applications, marketing services, and customer relationships that needed to be aligned and integrated. According to Universal Wilde President John Sisson, this process did not happen overnight. He explains, “After acquiring a firm, we need to determine which systems to integrate with Universal’s production systems and which to abandon.” The company built its service offering – which includes web-to-print, complex variable data, and cross-media applications – on common platforms from end-to-end.
Investments in the latest technologies (such as the high-speed inkjet Océ ColorStream 3500) and integrating production and workflow infrastructures have enabled Universal Wilde to focus on customer relationships. Sisson notes, “As we acquired companies, we migrated to a common integrated workflow platform. We focus on the healthcare, financial services, education, and high-end commercial industries. These markets are focused on new customer acquisition and Sisson continues, “You have to expand into helping customers with both strategy and implementation.” Universal Wilde has embraced this by providing services that help leverage all aspects of a customer’s need. From data services for delivering highly effective and personalized output to finding the best postal discounts, Universal Wilde offers programming, creative services, and technology to produce high-end 1:1 communications. High-speed inkjet has proven cost-effective for Universal Wilde clients with no sacrifice to speed or quality. The results have proven much more satisfying than those of typical offset production components.
“It’s important to make investments in strategic resources to grow and build customer-driven solutions,” Sisson adds. “Investments in IT skills, training for a sales organization, and strategic marketing resources are all critical components to becoming a powerful marketing services provider. You need a concrete business plan, from concept all the way through distribution. If you don’t have a vision for integration, you will fail. It’s like building a house with no blueprint.”
Universal Wilde has built a successful business by backing its vision with a plan. Strategy and planning are in the company’s DNA, and they have become key ingredients in its ability to integrate organizations with the right technology investments.