POSTCARD MANIA CMO FEATURE

2021-09-13 by JamesD

Q: What’s your favorite part of being a CMO?

A: Since PostcardMania (PCM) founder and CEO, Joy Gendusa, brought me on in 2004, it’s always been a delight to serve PostcardMania’s central purpose: helping small business owners grow their companies. It’s been enjoyable solving the marketing puzzle for different industries. We started off primarily serving real estate; these guys contributed to almost half of all revenue. When the housing bubble burst in 2008, PostcardMania really had to grow and pivot our focus to helping everyone we could with direct mail.

I helped Joy dive into our available data to see how much we spent on marketing to each industry. Then, seeing what our return was (and also seeing the industries that were finding us organically), we figured out how much we made from each industry and funneled some additional marketing budget to the industries that were performing best.

This is where we really started cracking the direct mail code! We started teaching our marketing consultants what worked best for each industry, and things really took off from there. Today we’ve successfully served over 100,000 small businesses in 350+ industries!

Q: What’s the most challenging part of being a CMO?

A: The hardest part of being a CMO is the constant balancing act I have to compete every week. Between ensuring we’re constantly generating leads, managing the marketing budget, leading my 10-person team, and trying to constantly innovate and try new things we haven’t done before, it can get overwhelming! Luckily, I have an amazing team behind me, and we manage to pull off this circus trick year after year. 

We’ve been able to transform a relatively small operation in 2004 into a current-day industry leader stationed in a 69,800 square foot facility that boasts over 300 employees, generating $64 million annually. It took much tinkering to get here! Managing and constantly optimizing our $90,000-a-week marketing budget that includes (but is not limited to) a weekly analysis, strategy and delivery of 180,000 direct mail postcards, organic and paid social media efforts, online and offline marketing funnels, SEM, SEO, content marketing, increasing website conversions, enhancing public relations, organizing event marketing, new product development & launches and yet still more I can’t think about off of the top of my head.

At first, these numbers and the sheer amount of responsibility were daunting. But I’ve gotten ahold of it over the years!

Q: What’s your favorite part about PostcardMania?

A: It’s honestly hard to pick my favorite part about PostcardMania, but it has to be the fantastic workplace culture that Joy has been able to cultivate. We’ve been on the Tampa Bay Times Top Workplaces list nine consecutive times and recently made Glassdoor’s national list of the 100 Best Places to Work. In addition, we earned an Employees’ Choice Award from Glassdoor, an honor determined solely by anonymous staff feedback. 

It’s not even the laid-back atmosphere, free food days, yoga classes, exercise equipment, ping pong tables, and team-building games that really make the culture. It’s the kind of people we hire. We have to test each candidate to ensure that they’ll be a good fit with the rest of the company; they have to be hard-working, skilled, AND fun. As managers, this lets us avoid any micro-managing and allows for a more flexible management style. Everyone on my marketing team is extremely busy, but I know each of them can handle what they’ve been given without me having to stick my nose in it too much. 

I would be amiss if I didn’t also talk about our community outreach efforts. Year-round, we run money, food, clothing, and other valuable good drives to help the surrounding Clearwater community members that need it. We’ve also done numerous pro bono campaigns to assist charity organizations. To date, PostcardMania has donated just shy of $500,000 in marketing services and over 3.17 million postcards to charity efforts of all kinds!

Q: How do you try and stay ahead of other direct mail competitors?  

A: If I’m honest, we don’t have an issue staying ahead of our competitors. It often seems like we’re the ones setting a precedent for the rest of the industry! But no matter who copies us, we’re one of the only direct mail companies that is truly an agency first and a printer second, so our central focus is always emphasizing and helping increase results — we don’t just abandon our clients after printing and delivering their mail. 

PostcardMania has an amazing results department that helps me analyze all of our campaign success data. They record, catalog, and organize all of the data to take a closer look at it to see what actions are working best for which industries. This data, over time, has allowed us to be super-confident when advising the 350+ industries that we’ve served over the years. We also just recently added a one-person post entirely dedicated to thorough digital campaign reviews after 3 weeks to ensure things are optimized and working well for every omnichannel client so it’s less trial-and-error plugging and more of an ensured system. They look at all of the campaign elements, including how many clicks they’re getting across every channel and how many form submissions they’re getting on their landing pages, and see how to optimize their campaign to perform better. 

As for my own individual efforts, I’m always trying to read up on the latest marketing trends to stay one step ahead of the competition and offer products and services that others can’t. My main focus is really proving to small businesses everywhere that we are the best option compared to their other marketing options across every channel, not just in direct mail. So in recent years, my focus is outperforming advertising agencies and educating the small business community on the pitfalls of DIY digital marketing. 

Q: What’s keeping direct mail afloat in a world becoming more and more increasingly digital?

A: One of the central focuses that our content marketing team works on is proving to everyone that direct mail isn’t outdated in any way, shape, or form. Even without our recent technological advancements, direct mail is undoubtedly one of the most microtargeted marketing channels available. You can target extremely specific demographics in specified areas, carrier routes, or zip codes. There are also many studies out there whose data states that direct mail is one of the most personal and engaging ways to advertise a business to get the attention of both prospects and clients.

Outside of the efficacy of direct mail, we offer campaigns that are fully integrated with digital marketing. So far, we offer services in Facebook, Instagram, Google PPC, local SEO, YouTube, and Gmail advertising. After three weeks, our omnichannel staff member takes a look at each of these campaigns to see how we can better optimize each channel for the best performance. 

We also just released our new tech-focused department, PCM Integrations. We offer three different types of direct mail automation/print and postal mail API solutions, including automated direct mail that syncs with a company’s CRM data, storefront solutions for franchisees, and an automated connection between hundreds of CRMs and software platforms to send direct mail pieces based on predetermined triggers using Zapier. 

Q: What are you currently working on that you’re excited about?

A: We just unveiled our newest direct mail automation, Website to Mailbox! It’s a direct mail retargeting product that emulates digital retargeting but replaces digital ads with physical direct mail that arrives in mailboxes mere days later. This comes 2 years of painstaking tinkering! I’m happy to boast that it’s one of the most accurate direct mail retargeting systems on the market at 80%; the next most accurate system we found delivered 87.5% of mail incorrectly. 

Outside of seeing how this product does on the market, I’m very much looking forward to continuing the growth of PCM Integrations and continuing the same mission I’ve been focused on for 17 years: helping small businesses grow!