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Kodak’s Innovative Digital Solutions Make it Easier for Wilen Group to Stay Ahead of the Competition

The Wilen Group has been at the leading edge of digital and personalized communications for nearly four decades. Launched as a marketing agency with no printing equipment in the early ’70s, the Wilen Group has evolved to include three separate divisions focused on direct marketing, printing services, and marketing R&D. Today, the company is an agile, adaptive innovator in direct marketing strategy and variable data imaging, personalized direct marketing, advanced mail strategies and technologies, logistics, and fulfillment.

Wilen emphasizes the power of data and how it can be used to drive relevant, effective communications that generate results. For example, by leveraging data to more precisely target integrated print and digital communications, Wilen can help its clients maximize impact, boost response rates and sometimes even reduce waste by mailing less.

“We work closely with our clients to gather, manage, and mine data that will help them make smart decisions throughout their marketing campaigns,” explained Darrin Wilen, President of the Wilen Group. The days of blanketing the market with generic communications and static direct mail are over. Today, each touchpoint speaks directly and relevantly to the recipient. A very important, and sometimes overlooked, component of this strategy is metrics—capturing responses and learning from each campaign what works best. That’s another area where we add value for our clients.”

The three Wilen Group divisions include:

· Wilen New York – a full-service direct marketing agency servicing Fortune 500 companies, applying data to creative strategy across all media channels

· Wilen Direct – a marketing communications and printing services company that provides strategy, creative resources, data analysis, state-of-the-art offset and digital printing, and end-to-end fulfillment

· WILopEN Products – engaged in research and development efforts to create new products and services involving marketing, advertising, publishing/print, and media-related businesses

From the beginning, Wilen Direct has relied on a full range of KODAK Solutions, which today include KODAK PROSPER S10 Imprinting Systems, a KODAK PROSPER 5000XL Press, KODAK Plates, as well as earlier KODAK VERSAMARK Printing Systems. “We’ve had a very long and successful relationship with Kodak, and we depend on them for a level of quality and innovation that exceeds our clients’ expectations,” Wilen said. Wilen Direct uses the PROSPER S10 Imprinting Systems to add digital printing capability inline on its offset presses, maximizing the offset investment and creating a hybrid solution for generating personalized direct mail.



“For us, reinvention is an ongoing, never-ending process,” added Wilen. “We expect that every day will bring some new challenge, and our job is to figure out the best way for our clients to overcome that challenge. Digital printing is a powerful tool, enabling personalization at a speed and quality level that continues to improve. Our KODAK Solutions give us the opportunity to harness the power of big data.

“One thing that sets us apart from many of our competitors is our approach to marketing channels. We are committed to being ‘media agnostic,’ which for us means that we recognize there are times when only digital or only print are the best approach. Other companies seem to try too hard to always connect back to print, and that may not be the best solution for a particular campaign. This is an era of multichannel communications, and our obligation to clients is to identify the best channel to meet their goals,” noted Wilen.

The company was featured on the cover of the June issue of Printing Impressions magazine. The article highlights the company’s emphasis on the power of data and its commitment to constantly changing to meet the needs of the market.

“We have made some massive investments over the past six months,” concluded Wilen. “The money we are spending goes toward new technology, new capabilities, and the infrastructure to support it, which is having immediate results and fueling growth.

“The way we are operating today is a far removal from the process five years ago. We have now realized a true white paper factory; starting with a blank roll of paper on one end of the press and finishing with an impactful, data-driven communication on the other end. With this unique capability, we’re providing our clients with the latest solutions to deliver relevant communications up to 50 percent faster than before. That’s the kind of innovation that has defined our success for so long.”