Tim Kennon - DMCNY Member Profile
1. Your company has been an active supporter of DMCNY. To you, what are the benefits of involvement in our club?
If you don’t give back, you can’t move forward. The DMCNY is the heart and soul of the direct marketing community in New York City. As a direct mail vendor, we need to be connected with that community as a sponsor, supporter and member, so we too have heart and soul.
We enjoy bringing clients to the DMCNY luncheons for the educational benefits they gain and the opportunity for them to meet and engage with each other. If there is a better way to educate and entertain our clients, we haven’t found it yet.
2. Tell us the story of your career.
I was selling mutual funds in 1986, and a friend asked if I would come into business with him. I visited his lettershop, and didn’t quite get it, so I said no. He asked again a year later, and I decided no wasn’t an option. My family was growing, and I needed more income potential. I joined the company and then bought it outright five years later from him and his dad. The company was already 36 years old and had a very good reputation. They wanted $36,000; $1,000 for every year they ran it. Fair enough! Yes turned out to be the correct answer, and I’ve been saying it ever since. I’m in my 25th year with the company, and we have grown the business twenty times over. It beats the heck out of selling mutual funds.
3. You help your clients be successful marketers. What ideas or tips have you learned from working with them recently that you can share with our readers?
That’s right! We learn everything from our customers. They make us a better company. We help them execute their marketing plans, and in direct mail marketing, execution and timing is the key to success. We listen to them carefully, offer constructive feedback, make sure all the details are planned and communicated, and then we produce it.
Our clients are creating targeted, personalized direct mail with lots of versioning and lots of color. We use digital print so they can use variable language and graphics that fit a specific segment or individual. In the last few years, our customers started asking for handwriting. So we purchased five Autopen machines. Everyone opens a handwritten envelope, and it’s the first item they open. Response rates are on the rise, and everyone is delighted.
4. What are your plans for your business in the next 12 months?
Last year we were a bit overwhelmed during our September through December period. It’s always our busiest, but this time it was 30% busier than the previous year. We did it, but by Christmas Eve we were all spent. We’re purchasing some digital envelope equipment for the smaller projects to speed up the process and turn-around time. When you need 2,500 full-color Thanksgiving card envelopes today, and it’s November 22, offset print just doesn’t cut it.
We’ll also be adding additional membership card printers, since that business is booming. Digital color print is constantly growing, so we are installing an Indigo printer over the summer to meet the demand for the fall. And most importantly, we are looking for two more very good people to fit in, learn the business and become a part of the team. Our clients like us for what we do for them, but they love us for who we are.