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Business Observer Friday, Sep. 8, 2017 2 years ago

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A pair of paper-based companies discovers a niche in a marketing world dominated by digital.
by: Beth Luberecki Contributing Writer

Think iPads, Dropbox and other digital tools have eliminated the need for the printed word? Think again, say the executives behind Naples-based Intech Printing & Direct Mail.

“I am actually seeing an increase in purchasing from existing clients, who are putting new products out and not just doing the same thing year after year,” says Sue Lampitt, director of sales and marketing for Intech. “Although digital has been promoted more, print is still a very important item in the toolbox from a marketing perspective. It still plays a huge part in reaching out to clients and getting your branded message out there.”

Intech has seen sales and revenue growth every year since about 2010. In 2016, it experienced year-over-year growth of over 10%, and the company posted a 25% increase in the first quarter of this year. Officials decline to disclose specific sales figures. “We've been able to market and grow the business through acquiring new customers and through new product offerings to current customers,” says Intech CEO Rodney Held.

The company will be able to expand upon that strategy thanks to its recent merger with Coastal Printing in Sarasota. The merger will expand both firms' geographic reach, increase efficiency and give customers access to new products, services and equipment. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed; Intech was founded in 1987, while Coastal was launched in 1971.

Each firm will retain its own name and function as sister companies, which combined create about a $10 million, 60-employee commercial printing business. Company officials made this distinction because each business has been around for decades and developed significant customer recognition.

“When you ask people who to go to who's not going to fail, it's Coastal and Intech,” says Held. “They've had 76 total years to build upon both of those names.”

Held will serve as CEO for both companies, and a new vice president of sales will be based in the Sarasota. “You've got to have one person driving the ship and setting the direction,” Held says.

Combining the two companies made sense because each shares a similar approach. “We have the same values, same quality expectations and same types of product offerings,” says Held.

Of course, that's not to say this merger isn't without its challenges. Intech has invested heavily in technology over the last several years, putting several hundred thousand dollars into a proprietary software that manages workflow and provides each customer with his own portal for placing orders, approving proofs and tracking shipments and inventory. Coastal had its own systems in place, so now's the point when transitions are being made.

“Over the next few months we're getting everyone's technology under one umbrella,” says Held. “It's a slow migration, because we don't want customers disrupted.”

Those customers will now have access to more choices, whether that's Intech's data analytics and direct marketing skills or Coastal's packaging and fulfillment knowledge.

More sales and customer service hires are a possibility down the road. Customer education is a major part of what each company does, and sales reps sit down with clients to go over everything from paper choices and budgets to target markets and return on investment. It's not about printing something just to print something; it's having a strategy and reason behind things.

“Nobody sends out 100,000 postcards anymore to just anybody,” says Held. “They want to send out 20,000 postcards and spend more money on the printing and presentation, but use more of a scalpel to cut around a database to get to their specific customers who are more likely to buy.”

Held still sees the power of print, even in today's increasingly digital world. It's a call to action, a way to help drive people to your website or through the doors of your business. “I have people who will screen my phone calls,” he says. “My emails get filtered. But my mail is something that always gets to my desk. No one ever throws my mail away.”

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