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First Edge Solutions: At the Head of the Pack – Understanding Changing Communication Dynamics
The new landscape of empowered customers, dizzying technological advancements, and globalization means that print service providers must re-think their craft. Corporations are seeking partners that can help them deliver deeper customer engagement and interaction. Graphic communications service providers of all sizes need to “future-proof” their businesses in terms of services, solutions, and data capabilities so they can deliver relevant information and optimize customer service.
First Edge Solutions (Milwaukee, WI) was founded in 2003 on the premise of redefining how companies of all sizes communicate and share information. First Edge President and CEO Bobby Kraft was at the head of the pack when it came to understanding changing communication dynamics ranging from personalized communications to offering services for marketing on demand. Kraft states, “Although we own printing equipment, I started the business with a focus on filling a need in the marketplace for personalized print communications. We wanted to work with clients using data to get the right message to the right decision-maker at the right time.”
“We’ve developed a laser focus on delivering more relevant solutions to our clients across all media channels for our customers.”Bobby Kraft
President and CEO, First Edge Solutions
Today, through a series of agency acquisitions, First Edge has an impressive dossier of services to support its client base. Its offerings include creative services, marketing on demand, SMS and rich content (inclusion of images, video, audio and long text) messaging, document management, mailing, kitting, and fulfillment. Kraft elaborates, “Having full-service agency offerings has expanded our suite of services to include the one-on-one attention our customers may need during the conception stage of complete programs with an emphasis in developing well-organized multi-channel campaigns. FE Agency drives a higher efficiency through production rather than working with a traditional agency because it is linked directly with the First Edge Solutions facilities.”
Additionally, Kraft believes that the ability to support software development is critical for his business. He currently has ten full-time programmers to enhance and develop new programs for First Edge and his clients. He explains, “First Edge is a sales-driven organization. In addition to programming resources, our sales force has been paramount to our success. We employ eleven salespeople from California to New York City. We have a national sales meeting every year, and we spend extensive time training our team so they are well-prepared to have strategic conversations with their customers. We want them to have business discussions so clients will understand what we can do to support their business communications needs today and in the future.”
In an environment where corporate marketing staffs have been slimmed down, corporations are expecting more from their service providers. They are seeking full-service partners that offer integrated marketing solutions. This trend is expected to accelerate, so service providers will need to step up to the challenge. Kraft concludes, “We’ve developed a laser focus on delivering more relevant solutions to our clients across all media channels. In addition, we’ve developed a healthy obsession with metrics to demonstrate our value to customers and better manage their budgets. We want to have solid business discussions so we can understand client needs, and we are doing this while continually driving our focus on innovation. We are committed to staying ahead of the pack.”