The concept for Montana-based PFL got here to be throughout an informal chat between buddies on a fishing journey.
“I was fishing with a buddy of mine who’d been working at a local printing plant that was in the process of shutting down, so he was looking for a job,” CEO Andrew Field explains. “He knew I had a background in printing and suggested I start my own printing company. At the time, I was bored with the work I was doing, so I thought about it for about a week and decided to run with it. I bought a Heidelberg printing press from Germany and in 1996, we went into business.”
With humble beginnings, PFL has grown from a 6-person printing firm in a rented workplace area in an outdated creamery to a strong marketing automation options firm. Now, they’ve about 350 staff throughout a number of workplaces in Montana and one in Indianapolis.
We talked with CEO Andrew Field to be taught extra about the place the corporate got here from and the place it’s going.
ClickZ: What precisely did PFL appear like to start with?
Andrew Field: We began as strictly a industrial printer. Admittedly, it was just a little powerful. There’s a purpose that there wasn’t a industrial printer in our little city of 7000 individuals cradled by two mountains.
We began doing gross sales in California and that was doing okay. In making an attempt to do extra, we found out how to do a colour industrial print of a Microsoft Publisher file, one thing that was not being finished but at the moment.
We realized then that we may assist small companies print their very own top quality marketing supplies, however we had to work out how to attain these companies.
One of our staff had purchased a pair books on this new factor referred to as Amazon in 1998, and at the moment, all Amazon was promoting was books and music.
That impressed us, so by March 1999, we launched www.printingforless.com and on the third day, we acquired two orders.
We’re proud to say that we invented the class of ecommerce print, of which we now nonetheless have just a little chunk.
CZ: When did the evolution from strictly printing to providing marketing know-how options start?
AF: We began delivering tech options to firms within the mid-2000s. That’s constantly been the quickest growing a part of our firm, a lot in order that simply this month we stumbled into our second class, Tactile Marketing Automation.
We’ve constructed integrations that make marketing actually multi-channel for the primary time. For instance, let’s say you’re utilizing Marketo’s electronic mail marketing to get somebody to register for a webinar. You can see the particular person’s opened the e-mail, however hasn’t taken the motion to register.
Through our integration with Marketo, you’ll be able to ship a printed, customized letter straight to that particular person from your organization’s CEO inviting them to register for the webinar.
The concept is letter, package deal, mug, no matter you need to ship to your buyer, has excessive affect.
It’s definitely dearer than electronic mail, however it’s additionally simpler. It permits entrepreneurs to reduce by way of the digital muddle, make a connection, and drive actual affect.
CZ: Impressive. So who else do you combine with?
AF: Aside from Marketo, we combine primarily with Oracle Eloqua; Salesforce Marketing Cloud, CRM and Pardot; Engagio; and Outreach.
If you concentrate on it, 5 years in the past, marketing automation platforms had been barely mature sufficient for us to construct upon and combine with.
We undoubtedly couldn’t have finished this eight years in the past. But in the present day, we’re proper within the coronary heart of serving to entrepreneurs have an effect. And what’s actually outstanding for us is that a lot of our clients have documented case research the place each greenback they spend with us will be straight traced to $10, $20, $50, and even $100 in ROI.
CZ: Who would you establish as rivals within the area?
AF: To our data, we’re not conscious that some other firm is integrating precisely in the identical manner we’re. I’d have to say our major rivals are marketing companies who’re creating campaigns on behalf of shoppers.
A model or firm can go to an company and clarify what they need, and that company will flip round and do all of it offline.
Anyone can create a marketing marketing campaign or do a mass mailing, however with out the orchestration that’s enabled by our integrations and wealthy behavioral information, it’s arduous to compete.
Anyone can seize and mail out a branded mug from the swag closet or do a mass mailing, however if you happen to’re not harnessing behavioral information, that may be extraordinarily time consuming and in the end not scalable.
We’ve oriented ourselves in direction of marketing to medium and enormous firms who actually care about their model, marketing, and messaging. We desire a buyer to have a very good, brand-enhancing expertise, driving the subsequent motion within the buyer journey.
We know that sending unsolicited mail is usually used as a gross sales tactic. So we needed to create a manner to permit entrepreneurs to do that with out probably damaging the model.
When an organization sends you a cup of espresso, they’re not making an attempt to bribe you. What they’re doing is creating engagement, and in that second of engagement, they’re delivering actual worth.
The fundamentals of marketing is knowing your worth proposition. How you talk together with your clients could be very, essential for that.
CZ: Where do you try to enhance throughout the firm?
AF: At the request of our clients, we’re frequently working to improve data-driven attribution. It’s simple to get misplaced within the weeds of how information is dealt with, so we’re persevering with to work on and enhance that.
We’re additionally working on creating packaging to be each as efficient and cost-effective as attainable.
When you purchase a brand new iPhone, you’re spending some huge cash, however the product packaging is gorgeous and smooth and enhances the client expertise. Apple makes use of the packaging to create an emotional reference to the client.
Marketers need to create that emotional reference to their clients, so we’re working on and persevering with to roll out enhancements in what and the way merchandise appear like and really feel for the client.
CZ: Sounds like you might have loads of thrilling issues going on!
AF: You now, I actually suppose the fashionable world of marketing is thrilling.
Marketers are sensible and savvy and are performing some superb issues. I’m actually in awe of what a few of our clients are in a position to do. The sophistication they possess is actually inspiring. These entrepreneurs are actually clever, and I’m actually proud to work with the individuals we work with.
Quick info on PFL
- Year based: 1996
- HQ: Livingston, Montana
- Employees: 350
- Martech class: Tactile Marketing Automation