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Wade Kellett from Weatherall Printing speaks about niche target education marketing

Published on August 2, 2010

Interviewer:  Hi, Cary Sherburne and Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Wade Kellett who is Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Weatherall Printing in Tupelo, Mississippi.  Welcome. 

Wade Kellett:  Thank you. 

Interviewer:  So tell us a little bit about your business.  How do you categorize your business?  What are some of the things that you're doing?

Wade Kellett:  Well Weatherall is traditionally a small general commercial printer and direct mail is a big part of our business, and so we've moved heavily into the direct marketing are.  And so obviously variable data and integrated marketing has become a big part of what we do.  We have targeted specifically the higher education market and so a big part of our business has become that.

Interviewer:  Like recruiting students and alumni?

Wade Kellett:  That's right.  We specifically, we actually recruit students for colleges and university's so it's becoming an ever increasing part of our business.

Interviewer:  So you've really focused on a relatively narrow niche.

Wade Kellett:  Yes, very narrow, that's right.

Interviewer:  And so what is some of the infrastructure you have in place, you know, it's not just sending out catalogs anymore...

Wade Kellett:  No it's not because if you think about the prospect that we're dealing with it's a 16 or 17-year-old person who it's there first foray into adult life and so direct mail is still a big part of that but it's very personalized.  So we have an Indigo 5,500 which we use and we version that information specific to that student based on gender, ethnicity, and interest.  And then we drive them to a personalize URL which we use the Mindfire product for and then we collect that data and then we route that data into that college or university's basically, CRM system, basically is what it is.

Wade Kellett:  And we're on the very front-end, we're just driving that data into them and that's our business.  Once we turn it over to them then it's - we've created a prospect for them.

Interviewer:  So is there any kind of closed loop thing that goes on so that you get feedback that, you know, this campaign worked, this is the kind of response rates we got?

Wade Kellett:  Yes, actually the Mindfire product tracts that for us. We... 

Interviewer:  But it doesn't track if they close the student, if they recruit them?

Wade Kellett:  No it does not track it they close a student.  That has to come from the university.

Interviewer:  And so do you get that back?

Wade Kellett:  Yes, we get that information back and it varies - it's a very wide spectrum, you know, we have varying response rates and the percentage is you can't just say this is the kind of percentage we're getting because I have response rates that are in the upwards of 20 percent and then I have some that are one-in-a-half and I can tell you that one of the clients that's one-in-a-half is ecstatic with one-in-a-half because it used to be .02.  So the percentage is completely relative.

Interviewer:  So normally, I mean, they've been recruiting to - that's their whole life so they've got some base data that you can compare to so when you go in and talk to them what's kind of the pitch?  You know, "I can" - do you guarantee them you can raise it a certain percentage or how do you deal with it?

Wade Kellett:  I do.  I guarantee them that their inquires will increase.  We do that...

Interviewer:  By a precen...

Wade Kellett:  No, I just guarantee that it will increase if they're using traditional marketing means, which all of them are then I guarantee that I'll improve their results.  And then basically the offshoot of that is that it really actually makes their job easier because we build a self servicing model that runs in the background for them.  And so instead of somebody sending emails out and sending out a letter to them, all that's happening on our end and once we deliver the prospect to them it's done.  It's up to them to get them to apply.

Interviewer:  Well that's great.  That's very exciting and in terms of - how long have you been sort of focused on this niche?

Wade Kellett:  About three years.

Interviewer:  And if you look at your business three years ago verses now, what does it look like from a growth perspective?

Wade Kellett:  From a growth perspective I mean, offset is a dying business, at least in our business and it's the single most profitable area of our business.  It's only about 20 percent of our sales but it's probably 60 percent of our profit.

Interviewer:  Wow, that's amazing.

Wade Kellett:  Yeah.

Interviewer:  Thank you so much for sharing that story.

Wade Kellett:  Thank you.

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