First in an Occasional Series.
Q: Bob, you are about to celebrate 25 years in business. What are some important insights about business success?
A: The most important thing is to hire good people. I have co-workers that have been with SOULO from nearly the beginning, and their knowledge and expertise drives the company forward. We have had to adapt with the times as the printing industry—our core business at the beginning—has transformed itself in the past two decades. Our good people have adapted and led the company’s growth. I’m proud of them all.
Q: Where are the sources of growth?
A: We’ve grown organically by consistently adding more clients in the vertical industries in which we excel: in B2B within construction, finance, real estate, medical, retail, and services of all types, as well as B2C clients in a wide variety of categories. We added more capabilities in signage, large format, for example, so we can drive branding through vehicle graphics as well as exterior signs. And we significantly expanded our digital marketing and web development capabilities to respond to our clients’ requests for fully integrated, multi-channel communications.
We are seeing a sharp uptick in growth in our digital services.
In addition to organic growth we’ve made several strategic acquisitions that gave us more good people and capabilities in the printing industry. It’s always a challenge to acquire a company and integrate the people into a new culture, but it has worked well for us. The printing industry is continuing to consolidate and our vision for future success is to continue to grow our client base by servicing more of our clients’ needs, whether it be printing, signs, digital marketing, direct mail, or marketing in general.
One of the things that sets us apart from other printing companies is that SOULO offers strategic marketing services as well as high quality execution, in printed and digital materials. We consider ourselves a marketing agency in that we can create overall communication strategies based on an individual client’s customized needs and then execute that strategy in a wide range of communication vehicles. We’re a full-service agency, with quality as our watchword from start to finish.
Q: Any advice for the near-future?
A: 2020 has been challenging, of course, with the pandemic disrupting clients’ plans and spending. We are cautiously optimistic about the economy opening up and organizations resuming business activities. But I believe we will see longlasting impacts from the pandemic. Everyone talks about digital online shopping and most experts predict that behavior to be a permanent, fundamental shift. And not just for the younger generations.
Companies are taking a fresh look at the ROI of their marketing programs to see if they are getting the bang for the buck they expect. At SOULO we spend a lot of time looking at the metrics of our digital, email, and direct mail programs to see if our programs are performing as promised.
The other major impact is a bit more subtle. The young people of today who were in grade school when 9-11 happened have now had their own major historical event which impacts on feelings of security, safety, optimism, and certainty. We have a lot of brilliant young people working with us at SOULO and we want to be sensitive to these issues. Young people bring such a great deal of passion to whatever they do. We want SOULO to be that place where passion is channeled into great work while also recognizing the “whole person” and their aspirational needs. They’re the future. That’s what makes me excited to see what the next 25 years will bring.
Thank you, Bob.