A Second Helping of Thanksgiving

December 2, 2013


By Doug Traxler, Chief Development Officer and Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing

I am fresh from a long Thanksgiving weekend spent with family and friends, and hope that you also enjoyed time with people you care about. The WebbMason team continues to give thanks this morning. I am not just referring to the leftover turkey sandwiches many of us packed for lunch today. We are starting the new week with some great news: WebbMason once again topped the charts of Print Solutions magazine’s annual Leading Distributors issue in several categories based on 2012 revenue. Print Solutions is published by the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA), an industry group whose members comprise a broad network of supply chain partners representing approximately 1,000 companies with more than $5 billion in combined annual sales. In other words, PSDA represents the best of the best in the commercial printing and marketing services industry.

WebbMason placed first in the Commercial Printing category and is the second largest distributor across all categories. WebbMason also finished among the Top 10 in the Marketing and Creative Services and Technology Services categories. You can access the 2013 Leading Distributors issue of Print Solutions here.

Among all PSDA members nationwide, WebbMason is the:

– #1 Seller of Commercial Printing
Print Solutions Aug 13 cover

– #2 Distributor across all categories

– #2 Seller of Direct Mail

– #2 Seller of Labels and Tags

– #2 Seller of Promotional Products

– #2 Seller of Traditional Products

– #5 Seller of Marketing and Creative Services

– #9 Seller of Technology Services

WebbMason is proud to once again secure sales leadership positions in every applicable category. Given the number and quality of fellow PSDA members considered for the annual survey, WebbMason’s performance is a significant accomplishment. Our success is the result of hard work from every member of the WebbMason team; clients who truly partner with us; and our commitment to innovation in services, products and technology.

WebbMason’s investments over the past several years succeeded in transforming the company into a complete marketing services and technology provider. Interactive services and our marketing management software – MarketingBench – are WebbMason’s fastest growing offerings. Adoption by traditional print and promo clients has been terrific. We are their comprehensive, multichannel marketing resource. And interactive services such as web design and development have been a major point of entry for new clients.

In closing, if you are a WebbMason client, thank you for your business; if you are a colleague, thank you for your contributions; if you are a partner, thank you for helping us become the top distributor in the country. And thanks to everyone for reading.


WebbMason’s Doug Traxler Creates the Complete Solution for Customers in Print + Promo Magazine

November 1, 2012

In Elise Hacking Carr’s Print + Promo article “Perfect Pair?” she states that just as Hall & Oates, Laverne & Shirley, and wine and cheese (although she did forget about Ben & Jerry…) make the perfect pair, so do print and promotional products. Sure, online marketing is on the rise and cannot be understated, but as WebbMason’s Doug Traxler says, online marketing functions most effectively while also using print and promo.

Print and promotional items can illuminate and stabilize a company’s brand. While using digital marketing is valuable, this type of marketing is not necessarily permanent. By incorporating print and promotional products in the marketing mix, a customer can feel, see, trust, and truly experience a company’s brand.

I recently discovered a report, done by Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), which concluded that print and promotional items create the most positive attitudes toward an advertisement and a product. This study, “Promotional Products—The Key Ingredient to Integrated Marketing,” also says that print and promo are not only the most credible, but also create the highest intent of purchase. Print is the highest; promotional products come in a close second.

PPAI’s research is supported by the 2011 Estimate of Promotional Products Distributor Sales (sponsored by Promotional Products Association International). Sales figures reflect an increase of 7.02 percent in distributor revenues from 2010 to 2011. This means that the promotional product industry revenue is over $17.7 billion. Fun fact: the top three promotional products are wearables, writing instruments and bags.

With such high statistical evidence in favor of promotional products, it might be hard to think that print’s stats could come close. However, Bob Schwei, a 10-year print expert who works at iPROMOTEu in Mass., believes that print is a whopping six times larger than promotional products. Are we shocked? Absolutely not.

WebbMason’s Doug Traxler, executive vice president, sales and marketing, says that promotional products are a vital part of a company’s overall brand strategy. Companies are “recognizing that promotional products are a way to really differentiate their outreach or their brand-building efforts.” Doug Traxler founded WebbMason’s Washington, D.C. office in 1995, the company’s first regional sales office. Traxler admits that products like newspapers and magazines are “choking for air,” but he still believes that it is an exciting time to be in the graphics market by using outreach marketing, retail, direct mail and direct marketing.

Traxler makes a great point: print, promo, and digital marketing create the “complete solution for customers.” “With the computer revolution 20 years ago, everybody said that was going to kill paper and all it did was explode the use of paper. The Internet is the same. These transactions that are happening in digital form are creating paper touch points at various places along the conversation.”

Print and promo certainly do make a great pair; however, it might be worthwhile for a company to think of it more as a three-legged stool. Print, promo and digital work equally hard reinforcing and supporting a company’s brand. Maybe we have more of an Athos, Aramis and Porthos on our hands…


PSDA Rankings Affirm WebbMason’s Continuing Market Leadership

October 1, 2012

WebbMason once again topped the charts of Print Solutions magazine annual rankings in several categories based on 2011 revenue. The magazine is published by the Print Services and Distribution Association (PSDA), an industry group whose members comprise a broad network of supply chain partners representing nearly 1,000 companies with combined annual revenue of more than $5 billion in combined annual sales.

Among PSDA nearly 1,000 members nationwide, WebbMason is:

  • The #1 Seller of Commercial Printing
  • The #2 Distributor across all categories with $92.5M in sales
  • The #2 Seller of Labels and Tags
  • The #3 Seller of Promotional Products
  • The #3 Seller of Paper-Based Forms

While we’re thrilled to be among the best of the best, what’s truly important are the reasons that underlie WebbMason’s success: customer-centricity, innovation, and value.

The Marketing Innovation Center™ @ WebbMason is a perfect example of market leadership and the company’s investment in people, processes and technology to bring to market top-quality products and services that are surpassed only by the value they deliver.

The Marketing Innovation Center™ @ WebbMason

As an integrated marketing solutions and services company, WebbMason understands that today’s marketing channels have their own set of rules. Each one demands special technology and expertise. Those discrepancies make it harder for marketers to develop solutions across disciplines. The Marketing Innovation Center @ WebbMason defies this trend. It breaks down barriers between marketing silos to facilitate understanding and synchronicity across them. The employees who workin the Marketing Innovation Center @ WebbMason drive our integrated marketing and web strategies effort, as we continually aim to become an extension of our clients’ marketing teams. The business cards found in this space say “WebbMason,” but these employees really wear the same color jerseys as our clients.

Another proof point of our innovation is MarketingBench™, WebbMason’s on-demand digital marketing management system, allows sales and marketing teams, local and remote employees, channel partners, franchisees and business partners to have fast and easy access to an entire brand library – or only appropriate portions. MarketingBench streamlines the acquisition, customization, and delivery of promo, print, and other materials and is used by 1.5 million users at more than 800 companies to streamline ordering, centralize procurement, track marketing and print materials in real time, and create documents online 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Perhaps the most important number of all is 315. That’s the number of dedicated WebbMason employees working in offices across the country. At the end of the day, it’s their expertise and commitment that WebbMason a success by ensuring that our clients are successful. Yay Team, WebbMason!

 

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Shiny and New vs. Tried and True

August 8, 2012

I’m getting married!!! 

And I have never been on the receiving end of more highly-targeted marketing messages in my life.  I don’t mean the everyday advertisements and come-ons that we’ve all learned to tune out; I’m talking about the banner ads and emails that are directed at me – a newly-engaged 29-year-old female – at a time when I am very vulnerable, with all of the excitement and emotion that comes with wedding planning.  It seemed that from the moment I changed my Facebook profile from “Single” to “Engaged,” I had more enticements and inclinations to click, respond, and sign-up than I ever thought possible.

One particular company stands out above the rest.  I was no match for their marketing genius.  They hit me early and often with appealing ads and an exciting value proposition.  When it came time to choose the department store where my fiancé and I would create our registry, the decision had already been made.  With a few key strokes, I opened a wedding registry, and when that was done, I was informed that if I applied for a store credit card, I could receive rewards points on not only my purchases, but on gifts that others purchased for my fiancé and me.  Talk about a match made in heaven – I was almost eager to open a charge account – something I NEVER do.  I was still dreaming of fancy gadgets and elegant linens as I started to update my weddingwire.com page with my registry info when I spotted a posting for an event happening at a store about 30 miles away.  At the event, my fiancé and I could learn about the items we should consider adding to our registry, mingle with other newly engaged couples, and enjoy a glass of champagne.  Determined to take advantage of every opportunity to be pampered as bride-to-be, I decided to delay making any selections until the event.  I emailed the event coordinator as instructed to sign up for the event, even though it was two months in the future.

And this is where my story takes a turn.  I never received a response to my email or confirmation of my registration.  Admitting to myself that I was probably being over-eager, I decided to be patient.  A month went by… crickets.  Finally, I picked up the phone and left a voice mail for the event coordinator.  Two more weeks went by.  At last, I received a voice mail in return stating that the event had been cancelled.  “Well,” I thought, “People probably didn’t think it was happening because you never got back to them!”  As disappointed as I was, I consoled myself, understanding that these things happen.

I rebounded quickly, and my fiancé agreed to accompany me to a shopping mall nearby to begin the joyful task.  Sure, I could have gone browsing on the store’s online website and spared him the trip, but there is something about perusing the aisles together and inspecting the merchandise that you can’t get from a URL.  Hand in hand, we marched to the wedding and gift registry counter, full of hope.  When there was no one there, we waited a few minutes.  When no one came, we wandered over to another section of the store and inquired whether someone could help us with our registry.  With some difficulty, an associate was finally produced who fumbled through the process of finding the registry I created online (as if I had done something wrong) and handed over the scan gun.  We were also told that normally, we would receive a tote bag as a gift, but that the person responsible for the department was no longer employed with the company and no one knew how to order more totes.  Gee… thanks.  After that, my heart was really not in it.  Even the shiny KitchenAid stand mixer had lost its appeal because this company had let me down… twice.  Whether it was due to lack of training, inability to retain employees with competitive pay, or just a corporate culture of apathy, my expectations were shattered.  Eventually, I put my unused store credit card in my wallet and opened another registry at the department store I grew up with.  They had the same brands, comparable prices and selection, but the middle-aged man who helped me actually made me feel good about it, telling me about some of the lasting gifts he and his wife had received 18 years prior.

I’ve seen this happen in my industry.  Giant Printing Company has lots of marketing dollars to draw customers in with strategic messages, promises of huge cost savings, and exciting technology.  They may even throw a parade.  But when it comes right down to it – no matter how fine-tuned their marketing mix – what matters is good old-fashioned customer service.  The ability to meet and exceed expectations – to make a commitment and see it through – is the key to success in any industry. Delivering extreme customer service requires a human touch and it is rewarded with extremely loyal customers.  In my experience, even those that fall for “shiny and new” eventually come to appreciate the value of “tried and true.”  And they live happily ever after…


A Special Commentary: The State of Our Organization (Cntd.)

March 15, 2011

Recently, we told you about the state of the company, and our record-setting $90 Million annual revenue. And, while the full team should get the credit for this milestone, we should not ignore some of the products and services that allowed us to get to this point.

MarketingBench, our single-platform marketing systems automation technology, has been adopted by 800 firms looking for a more streamlined way to order personalized print products and other items. Many of our top-tier clients joined that growing list in 2010. MarketingBench is a product that appeals to many industries, including medical, financial, retail/franchise and hospitality. The product’s level of customization allows for a broad appeal.

Webb Mason also took risks in 2010, a year in which most companies were playing it safe. We opened two new sales offices, in St. Louis and Denver, bringing our total facilities to 19 sales offices with seven additional warehousing and distribution centers. Webb Mason also maintains a National Preferred Supplier Network of over 200 best-in-class supply chain partners, making up $3.5 Billion in annual sales. This spending paid off, bringing the company to never-before-reached heights, allowing the company to acquire Resource Print Management Ltd., a company based in Fort Worth, Texas. The acquisition expanded our reach and financial strength, allowing us to offer better solutions to our customers.

We also grew individual departments, capitalizing on the customer demand for attention-grabbing promotional items. This led our promotional products market to have its highest-ever annual sales, breaking $10 Million.

All of these factors led to Webb Mason reaching new heights, while remaining the stable, independent, innovative partner that a company can rely on. “We know what it’s like to be small, nimble and able to meet the challenges of our clients with the resources of the whole organization. We are now larger and have more capabilities and resources, but our philosophy of saying ‘yes’ to the customer and solving problems — no matter what it takes — is firmly intact.”

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Founded in 1989, WebbMason is one of the fastest-growing print and brand management service companies in the United States, helping marketing departments and their internal and external partners save money and streamline processes through a winning combination of industry expertise, exceptional print supply chain partners and technological innovation. Headquartered in Hunt Valley, Maryland, WebbMason has 20 sales offices throughout the United States.


Promotional Products: Think Beyond the Item

May 4, 2010

On April 22, we “got fresh” and turned our headquarters in Hunt Valley, Md., into a showcase of creative promotional products. We cleared space for our preferred suppliers to display and discuss new items, trends and marketing concepts in the $19 billion promotional products industry.

The “Get Fresh” event—the first of its kind held by WebbMason—drew 107 attendees. Business leaders saw, touched and squeezed a vast number of products adorned with printed logos, taglines, photos and other branding elements.

Promotional products are an ideal way to get your brand noticed, motivate and reward employees, and generate higher sales.

Here’s a quick tip that will help you select a promotional products provider: Pick a company that emphasizes packages and programs rather than the products themselves. Anyone can buy a mug and slap a logo onto it. To better distinguish you company, consider your company’s tagline, marketing themes and upcoming events, as well as how your promotional idea can tie into other media you use.

As always, we’re here to help.


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