What’s it like starting a company in Montana while on a fishing trip? How is direct mail disrupting the landscape of digital marketing?
Learn all that and more as I sit down with Andrew Field, CEO and Founder of Montana-based PFL.
Today, essentially nobody is doing their direct mail through their marketing automation platform. I think ten years from now, nobody won’t be doing their direct mail through their marketing automation platform. Andrew Field, PFL
Jeff: Today we are here with Andrew Field; CEO and founder of PFL. Today we are going to be talking about the latest trends in account-based marketing and integration of direct mail into your marketing efforts. Thank you today, Andrew for joining.
Andrew: Thank you.
Jeff: First off, you founded PFL how long ago?
Andrew: It was 20 years ago this month.
Jeff: 20 years ago, congratulations.
Andrew: Founded on a fishing trip.
Jeff: Tell us about that.
Andrew: My buddy Mike and I were fishing on the Yellowstone River and he said that the print workshop he was working at was going to close down. You have a printing background, you like starting companies, why don’t you start a print company and I will come work for you? We did about that much marketing research.
Jeff: Look at it today 20 years later. How has marketing changed from them until now?
Andrew: Well it turns out that was a bad idea. There was a reason there was not a print shop in Livingston Montana, there are no print buyers. But in 98, we decided to be the first company to sell online via e-commerce that was a good idea. So we have grown from there. What has really changed over the years is now there is a new thing called marketing automation. Smart marketers are using that rich behavioral data to form their more expensive touches… Your print, mail, dimensional mail and gifts can come together and be more effective together.
Jeff: So people usually think of PFL as… you are going to send some direct mail, going to send some gifts. But now you have transitioned that business into more a technology platform.
Andrew: Oh, it is completely a technology platform. Software as a service is the way it goes. You don’t have to install it yourself, and that’s why we build integrations with those popular marketing automation platforms, and for sales with CRM.
Jeff: So you have transitioned that over the last 20 years, what do you see happening over the next 12-24 months?
Andrew: Well I don’t know if I can say precisely within the next 12-24 months; but today other than our customers, essentially nobody is doing their direct mail, their dimensional mail, their packages, their doorbusters through their marketing automation platform. I think ten years from now nobody won’t be doing their direct mail through their marketing automation platform.
Jeff: I love that story you told earlier about 15-20 years ago, people didn’t think about ordering their business cards over the web. That is commonplace today.
Jeff: In the future, that is probably what is going to happen with what you are doing.
Andrew: Yeah, I think it just makes sense, because when marketing automation is done right; you are engaging each client and prospect on a one to one basis, and they are experiencing your brand based on the level of engagement they want, based on the channel that they want to engage in… it is a much richer experience both for the marketer in the terms of the data they gather, the behaviour data, as well as for the customer or prospect. They are being engaged in a more meaningful and personalized manner. We add print direct mail packages into that, and it can be highly personalized because we are doing unit quantities of one. So out of Marketo or Eloqua, we are triggering units of one based on that customer’s behavior, rather than just mass and blast.
Jeff: So let’s switch gears for one second. You have this company; you have all these folks working for you, what’s the favorite part of your day?
Andrew: Two favorite parts of my day. One is talking to customers, clients, and prospects. I do that a lot. I get the rollover phone calls if somebody doesn’t pick up in three rings. Talking to business people and markers all across North America is really a lot of fun. But probably the most rewarding part is watching the people that we have grown. We have been doing this now for 20 years, we hire a lot of people fresh out of school, their first, second or third job something like that. To watch people over the years grow into vice presidents, and grow into really accomplished business people is really pretty cool.
Jeff: That’s great to hear. Going to throw you the hard question of the day. The hard question is; if you were on American Idol, and you had to belt out one song, what song are you going to sing?
Andrew: Let it be.
Jeff: Let it be, fantastic song. Well, thank you very much for the interview today. We learned about the future of automated direct mail and marketing. We also learned that Andrew Field loves Let it be. Until next time on RevEngine Insider.