By rounding out its service offerings, consolidating operations, and strategically leveraging digital variable printing, a direct marketing service firm does the impossible: boosts sales in the face of the recession.
Two years ago, executives at The Instant Web Companies (IWCO) decided it was time to reevaluate and possibly recast their long-held successful business model. The goal: to find a way to boost sales and profits in a recession-era economy that was threatening both.
The company, based in Chanhassen, Minn., has served North American direct marketers for 35 years. Its principal offerings: two proprietary commingling and logistics management programs that maximize postage savings for mailers.
The company's Postal Optimization Strategy and Technologies (POST) commingles mailings for the highest USPS discounts. IWCO's Rideshare coordinates mail sorted by POST, and ships it directly to bulk mail centers and sectional center facilities.
But IWCO needed a new solution that would differentiate it in the marketplace, attract new customers, and increase business from existing customers. The answer, it turned out, was twofold: personalization and centralization.
Adding the ability to personalize direct mailing pieces meant IWCO clients could treat the firm as a one-stop shop. "Enhancements to our ability to personalize communications and automate the workflow would deliver immediate benefits to customers and to [us]," says Jim Andersen, IWCO's president and CEO.
As the firm's direct marketing clients increasingly chose to centralize their printing and mailing services with IWCO, company management decided to centralize production in a single location. Previously, IWCO's production resources were distributed across three locations.
"We realized there would be immediate and significant cost benefits for our customers by eliminating redundancy in our manufacturing platforms," says Jim Leone, IWCO's VP of operations.
The company moved to consolidate from three separate and independently operating manufacturing platforms—print, envelope, and mailing—into one integrated operation.