Welcome to SPC, Ross Priester. Over the course of his 15 years of Direct Mail and Printing experience, Ross has developed strong relationships with clients all over the country in his sales role while working at Northwest Mailing/Precision Dialogue of Chicago, which is now part of RR Donnelley (RRD). We sat down with Ross for a brief Q&A session. Here’s what he had to say:
SPC: What piqued your interest in joining the SPC team?
RP: As Northwest Mailing transitioned from a large-scale family owned business to being part of the RRD, many of the things I came to love disintegrated and led to my decision to leave RRD. SPC had been my largest (privately-owned) direct competitor in the DM industry providing ALL, if not more, of the capabilities I was able to offer at Northwest. I was confident that SPC would be the best fit for me given my experience and past successes.
What was your 10,000-foot view of SPC from the outside?
Through my lens, SPC had been a high-volume, reputable, mid/large tier printer. That view morphed as I started losing DM projects to them. It was my understanding that they were leveraging their grasp on the print industry to build out and expand on their lettershop & mailing services which you see is in our positioning– “SPC: The Art of Direct Mail”
How did you get started in the printing industry?
I wish it was a deep-rooted passion for the print, but it kind of happened by accident. At Illinois State I started with a focus in business, but realized I wasn’t confident in my decision. I transferred to the Graphic Communications Department. I wanted to select a path that would not only interest me, but would allow me to utilize some of the business credits I had already earned. After that, I was confident I made the right choice, as I got A’s (instead of B’s & C’s) and actually enjoyed most of my classes!
What are your thoughts on the current state of the printing and direct mail marketing industry?
I entered the industry at a strange time. People were fearful that the internet and email were going to completely trump print and direct mail communication. Although there was certainly a slump, we have seen a dramatic increase in DM volumes and ROI over the past 10 years. I believe there will continue to be growth in our industry for at least the next several decades.
What do you bring to SPC?
Outstanding relationship development, thorough operational and technical expertise, and YOUTH. Although retail CRM professionals continue to enter the marketing space in high volumes, there seems to be a lack of talent entering the printing and direct marketing industry. I feel as though I am only one of a handful of business development professionals “under the hill” in the direct mail industry. Historically, youth is seen to be a hinderance as it is difficult to earn trust from prospects and new clients. However, backing up youth with great communication skills and a deep understanding of all the technical aspects of direct mail production has proven to drive my success. I will continue to rely on this formula with SPC.
Do you have a focus or a type of project you really enjoy working on?
My creativity and passion for building has likely influenced my excitement in developing and pitching new DM formats. I find myself working on format ideas over the weekend when there isn’t necessarily a need. One of my other favorite parts of my job is developing trusting, long-lasting relationships. Being in sales has vastly grown my professional network and has even led to long-term friendships outside of business.
Tell us about Deece Woodworking.
Deece Woodworking started basically by accident. Being the son of a retired carpenter, I have always loved to make things with my hands! When we moved to Arlington Heights, my wife had her eye on an expensive farmhouse table. I knew I could build it with much better craftsmanship, wood and finishes for less. So I gave it a shot, and successfully built a beautiful custom cherry farmhouse table, for about 1/5th of the price. Since then, I have built everything from pergolas, to built-in cabinets, to high-end furniture, to intricate jewelry boxes. Our garage is now a full-on woodshop with dust-collection and about two dozen various machines. My niche is custom exotic wood cutting boards and butcher blocks. I sell them online, at local art/craft fairs and consignment shops.
Strategic Accounts Executive