Compu-Mail: relevant information to the right person at the right time
Compu-Mail is a direct marketing services and solutions company located in Grand Island, NY that provides database marketing for pharmaceutical companies, medical insurance claims, and even auto club membership cards. . They built their business around the variable data printing model: “Relevant information to the right person at the right time”.
Compu-Mail is a direct marketing services and solutions company located in Grand Island, NY, a short distance from Niagara Falls and the Canadian border.
It started in 1968 as National Time Sharing, a data-processing company before it was “trendy,” according to Compu-Mail President and CEO Michael Vitch.
They bought their first digital press in the mid-1980s and created Compu-Mail in the mid-1990s to focus on data-driven marketing, initially in election assistance services, then in financial services and marketing. retail, ultimately supporting printing, direct mail and marketing. . Their computer expertise provided them with the necessary tools to specialize in variable data printing; something they started in 1987.
Relevant information to the right person at the right time
Today, they provide marketing databases for drug companies, medical insurance statements, and even auto club membership cards. Over the years they have added customer relationship management services including inbound and outbound call centers to create and use the databases for other marketing departments.
“Most of it has been paper, even though electronic communication is so important in our world today,” said Vitch.
Although Compu-Mail does a lot of email and SMS marketing, reaching people digitally is not what it used to be.
“The reality is, most people get too many emails today, and they don’t look at them for very long,” Vitch said.
Compared to direct mail, it has to be extremely relevant and extremely timely, otherwise you just delete it.
In fact, Vitch had a conversation with a marketing manager who told him, “Direct mail doesn’t work. However, Vitch had a quick response.
“When you come back from vacation, what’s the first thing you do? The marketing manager said hesitantly, “I’m looking at my mail. “
People still have to go to the mailbox and they still have to pick up the mail. Since people only receive a fraction of the number of emails compared to emails, Compu-Mail has found that response levels are significantly higher when layering email and mail.
They therefore continue to develop their activity around the variable data printing model: “Relevant information to the right person at the right time”.
To help support this model, they have their own post office on site to make sure they get the best price, and they handle all the logistics for their customers. This includes smart mail to get the most timely information from their shipments, even down to the location of a mail item in the mail stream. Even during the pandemic, they saw that their customers still had to implement targeted marketing programs.
The right tools for the job
Two years ago, Compu-Mail also provided offset printing with more than 250 employees. They recognized that inkjet was the future of printing for their business, so it was time to refocus. Today, after relinquishing that offsets-focused part of the business, they are operating with just over 100 employees and a much better setup of equipment and staff to support their growing business and customers.
About 65% of their production is direct marketing and 35% is transactional. Their staff is designed for maximum efficiency, with around 60% dedicated to production, 10 to programming and technical services, with five salespeople and 10 account managers working with their customers on a daily basis. They work with four different call centers that handle the majority of their inbound and outbound program calls, and they have an internal call center group that supports “store programs”.
Their original digital press setup included a variety of continuous feed and sheet fed electrophotographic presses. About five years ago, they introduced inkjet with the addition of a Canon VarioPrint i300 sheet-fed press and a few short-web presses. Recently they added two Canon VarioPrint iX presses to take advantage of the higher quality and introduce more flexibility with the substrates.
Vitch noted that while they’ve seen pretty good uptime with the i300, the iX is even better, and ultimately it’s about keeping the machine going.
The iX includes larger input trays to allow the operator to load the machine. Thus, if it continues to operate with minimal operator intervention, it can reduce the need for a roller press. However, if needed, they will add additional continuous feed web presses.
They believe in automation and have a full suite of software on premise and in the cloud. Since many clients transmit files overnight and need to be mailed that day, they need to be able to automate and support many different types of client systems. Almost all of these systems have different software.
So, they even have products that can take native PDFs, split PDF, extract data, sort it for postal automation, reassemble it, and print it in order. That way, they get the best mail-in rebate without changing that statement or how it looks. This is an automated process with very little operator intervention other than maybe loading paper, unloading paper, reporting quality control, etc.
Many customers provide personal data. Compu-Mail has therefore become a SOC 3 company and is audited. The security of their data is so strict that people cannot carry cell phones around their establishment.
The headquarters and team of Compu-Mail New York.
It’s a question of flexibility and quality
Their business philosophy is really focused on flexibility of supply and added value. They don’t want to be a commodity printer participating in a race to the bottom. Vitch has been in the business for a long time and sees that customers want quality suppliers. They want to work with the best, to know that their job is done in the best possible way and that their partner is committed to doing things at a high standard. All of their employees are responsible for quality control and they pay their employees well with good benefits to ensure it.
I would like to address your interests and concerns in future articles regarding the manufacturing of prints, packaging and labels, and how, if any, this drives future workflows, including “Industry 4.0 ”. If you have any interesting examples of hybrid and bespoke manufacturing, I’m also very excited to hear about them. Do not hesitate to contact me at [email protected] with questions, suggestions or examples of interesting applications.