AppExchange Podcast Interview with PrintSF

How to Break Through The Digital Clutter

“Today your prospects and customers are buried in over 3000 digital messages daily across email, social, and on-line ads.  There’s just too much digital clutter and noise – they are inundated.  But direct mail or tactile marketing – putting something physical in their hands – is a quiet channel that gets you noticed.  It’s high impact, and with Salesforce plus PrintSF it’s easily automated.”  – Mark Cira, PrintSF

Danny Ryan from ThreeWill interviews Mark Cira, PrintSF Founder, for the AppExchange Podcast.

In this interview they discuss how using the PrintSF App helps sales, marketing and service teams send Direct Mail, Collateral & Gifts directly from Salesforce. As Mark explains, sending physical marketing can be as easy as email and creates personalized connections across the entire customer journey.

Full transcript is provided below compliments of the ThreeWill AppExchange Podcast.


Danny:                  Hi. This is Danny Ryan, and welcome to the AppExchange Podcast. Today I’ve got Mark Cira with me from PrintSF. Mark, thanks for joining me today.

Mark:                    Absolute pleasure, Danny, and thanks for the invite.

Danny:                  You betcha. Your product, I’m really excited about learning more about it, has to do with I think a key thing that most organizations are going to want to have, which is getting real collateral to customers from Salesforce data. I guess just here to get started, can you just give me an overview of what your product is?

Mark:                    Sure. As it says on the screen there, we make direct mail, collateral, and gifts easy as e-mail. The use cases by our customers span all different categories, but mostly it’s the typical buckets of helping organizations generate leads or be more effective at prospecting, loyalty and retention, event marketing, and so on. Today, the customers and prospects we are all after out there, they’re dealing with three thousand-plus digital messages a day across e-mail and social media and online ads and so on. There’s just so much digital clutter and so much noise that they’re inundated. Really, direct mail, or what was sometimes called tactile marketing, putting something physical and touchable in their hands, it’s a quiet channel.

In the past, many marketers have shied away from it because direct mail was a painful process, hard to execute and measure. It doesn’t have to be. It can be easy and measurable in Salesforce, and in our view should be part of everyone’s omni-channel marketing mix.

Danny:                  Very nice. Is there a typical way that somebody gets started? Is there one pattern that you see with most of the organizations as far as the first type of campaign that they run?

Mark:                    Most organizations come to use with a specific use case, even though tactile marketing certainly has a place across the entire customer journey. Usually there is something, a specific program or process that they’re trying to automate. I wish I could tell you there was one specific use case. It really is all over the board.

Danny:                  Is it?

Mark:                    The most common use case we see is a prospecting use case, trying to turn cold calls into warm calls, to have a higher, [a lot 00:02:51], connect rate. That’s very common. Then, probably our second most common use case is loyalty. Everyone I think will acknowledge that putting something physical in your customer’s hands a few times a year to say “thank you” or “happy holidays,” et cetera, is just a good business practice, but it’s painful to do unless it’s automated. We have a lot of folks come to us with the loyalty and retention need. Just to say “thank you,” right? Just to say “thank you,” [inaudible 00:03:28] simple.

Danny:                  It is, and it’s such an important thing to do. For some people, it’s easy to forget to do as well. For us, I know that we end up sending out the end-of-year Christmas/holiday cards, it’s our time that we all come together and we go through the process of mailing out, but beyond that … Looking for those opportunities to break through where they’re getting so much e-mail and the different … You’re absolutely right, with the different digital messages, that getting to get something through the physical mail is unique.

Mark:                    Once that e-mail gets below the view line in my Google account there, that’s it. Whereas we often have stories of: we’ll be talking with a customer or a prospective customer and we’ll have sent them something clever with a [visualization 00:04:30] on it, and they will tell us that it’s pinned up on their cube wall or it’s sitting on their desk and they’ve held onto it, let alone something that’s tasty and edible that they can share around the office. Putting something tactile in their hands stands out.

Danny:                  I’m looking here, and it looks like you can send something to them inside of a box.

Mark:                    Sure. We talk about direct mail. We don’t just mean postcards and letters and so on. We can really support anything. That said, we try and greet our new customers or prospective customers with some standardized offerings that they can move quickly with. What you have on screen there, that’s a gift box that’s got a fully personalized, color exterior label, and that opens to an interior label that’s printed four-color, can be totally re-branded for any use case. Then we’ve got a five-ounce bag of hand-crafted salted caramels in there, which I can tell you are about the most delicious things in the world. That’s one of our most popular gifts. That can be sent in a couple of clicks one at a time, which would be a typical workflow. Or, even if you’re coming home from Dreamforce or from a conference or for the holidays and you’ve got fifty or a hundred folks on your gift list and you want to send out a fifteen dollar gift that’s from the account executive and personalized to the recipient, all those kinds of things are very possible.

Danny:                  That’s nice. You probably eat your own dog food and probably remind your own customers that, ‘Hey … ”

Mark:                    I do, and unfortunately I eat our own caramels, too, whenever we’re in the product development cycle. We were testing out cookie feet as a new item the other day for a “foot in the door” prospecting theme, and unfortunately it took about ten cookie feet I had eaten before I felt like our product development cycle was complete.

Danny:                  I’m glad to hear you’re that dedicated to quality and customer service. That’s just wonderful.

Mark:                    [inaudible 00:06:53].

Danny:                  I also looked over on the AppExchange, here’s your listing. You’ve got great ratings. It’s wonderful to see that as well. It looks like you onboard some folks with a free version of the app, and then I looked at the website and it looks like there’s some more advanced, more enterprise types of solutions that you have for people. Awesome.

Mark:                    We have a free edition, which is often all that’s needed for an SMB customer. Maybe they’re wanting to get some stuff in the mail and they’re going to manage that process centrally with someone in marketing, a few times a year they want to send out some cards or whatever it is. Then we get over to the use case of we’ve got fifty or a hundred or five hundred sales reps, and we want to implement a prospecting program and we want triggers to schedule followups for the salespeople based on delivery or more involved use cases. Then the customer would get involved with our enterprise edition, which offers all those kinds of things.

Danny:                  That’s awesome. Who typically pulls you in? Is it a sales department or a marketing department? It’s either one?

Mark:                    It’s both.

Danny:                  Really?

Mark:                    Typically the person we hear from first is the marketing, but it could be because the VP of sales or the sales ops person walks down the hall to marketing and says, “Our connect rate on these outbound calls isn’t working so great. What can we do? Can we put something in their hands?” The idea or the need might come from sales, but most often we’re engaged by marketing.

Danny:                  Very nice. With your product, I’m sure you have some surprising usage of the product or things that you weren’t expecting as far as how people are using it. Any stories that you’ve got to share with that?

Mark:                    I think our biggest surprise has been the access we’ve been granted and the seat at the table we’ve been given with some really world-class companies because of our laser focus and specialization on serving Salesforce customers.

Danny:                  Nice.

Mark:                    You see some big good brands on our homepage logos there. Salesforce, Marketing Cloud, formerly ExactTarget, use our platform to do prospecting and nurture touches, sending out physical materials. Some other big names, too. I’ll give you one use case which is a great use case and a pleasant surprise to us. It’s a brand that I’m not allowed to mention, but they’re a multi-billion dollar B2B services provider here in the US.

Danny:                  Is their name ThreeWill?

Mark:                    No, no.

Danny:                  I’m sorry, I had to jump in there. Sorry, go ahead.

Mark:                    They’ve got about six hundred account execs.

Danny:                  My goodness.

Mark:                    They have what they call their fifty-ten-two sales program. That is their salespeople are tasked with sending out fifty targeted tactile print sales communications a week, with that data often coming from, and then to sit back and watch for followup to be triggered by delivery and to call those fifty people, set ten appointments, and convert two of those ten, so their fifty-ten-two program. They’ve seen over a thirty percent lift in [inaudible 00:10:46] connects and appointments by sending an [in-hand 00:10:48] touch first with the outbound calls triggered. Just last year they sent about just over a million direct mail touches that way, set about two hundred thousand appointments via phone followup, and converted just over forty thousand new customers who got that in-hand touch followed by a triggered call.

Danny:                  Wow.

Mark:                    We’re surprised, but pleasantly surprised, just to see an organization of scale like that really build an entire sales program and process. They’d even said they have greater sales rep retention now, because not a lot of people love to cold call.

Danny:                  Oh, yeah.

Mark:                    When you’ve got a system and you turn the cold call into a warm call and you’ve got a reason for following up, a foot in the door, that they’re saying that they’ve got less turnover in their salespeople, which is great to hear. That’s a surprise.

Danny:                  What a great story. That seems like it’s a big changer for the folks in sales for driving new leads, which is such a difficult thing to do to help enable put that process into place. That’s got to feel great.

Mark:                    It does, it does.

Danny:                  That’s awesome. Very cool.

Mark:                    The surprise is how much people love salted caramels.

Danny:                  As soon as we get off this podcast I’m expecting you to send me some salted caramels.

Mark:                    You know what? I’m staging my demo. I’ve already got caramels en route to you as of this morning. We’ll take a look at how to do that.

Danny:                  Awesome. I’m going to go ahead and let’s, if you don’t mind, jump over to the demo. Show some key use cases that people have with using PrintSF.

Mark:                    I’d be happy to. I will mention up front that the programs we support for customers run the gamut from super, super simple, narrow use cases, to some really complex programs where, on the complex side, for a health care company, a wellness company, we might be mailing out thousands of lab score test result score cards monthly where there’s fifty data points on cholesterol level and weight and blood pressure flowing from multiple custom objects mapped into our system. We do some really cool, sophisticated stuff, but what really resonates with everyone, of course, is that personal, simple touch. That’s what we’ll look at today, but I just want to let your viewers know that we do lots more than “thank you” cards and Starbuck cards. We do some really sophisticated stuff.

Here we are in my instance of Salesforce. You’re seeing our application under a tab. I will tell you that most of our sales users never even come here. Their world is run from leads and contacts. Here you are, Danny. I’ve got you in as a lead and hoping to win your business. You can see I did just add you this morning, but you can see that I already today sent you a caramels and Starbucks gift [inaudible 00:14:20].

Danny:                  My mouth is drooling. I’m ready.

Mark:                    In the days ahead I’ll see that that’s completed. Then when it’s delivered I will get a task added and an e-mail notification as a salesperson to follow up based on a process flow that we’ve implemented to monitor that delivery tracking in Salesforce.

Danny:                  You get the status of it, so you know when it’s been delivered to the person.

Mark:                    We do, and that’s not just true of a boxed gift that’s a little more expensive shipping method. Even just normal, old, first class, quote/unquote “snail mail” now, they’ve got intelligent mail bar codes on them and we monitor them moving through the postal system, so all that data’s right there.

Danny:                  That’s brilliant.

Mark:                    Let’s inundate you with gifts so I can be sure to [inaudible 00:15:04] your business. I’ll go ahead and click on “send mailer to lead.” That’s stepping in. We can see a catalog of materials. This is customized per organization. You can use some of our stock templates, or most often we’re working with the marketing department and really putting their brand into place on these kinds of materials here. I will do a Starbucks gift card plus in a greeting card format as an example. A couple things going on here. You can see that I validated your address and corrected it there, so we’re not sending out mail that’s going to come back because of bad addresses. I’ve got different templates. They’re variable in terms of we can build anything anyone needs in terms of: Are the fields editable? What are the fields? Are they pre-populated? Is it a pick list? Is it a image upload? We build to the customer’s requirements, but this is pretty basic.

This is we’re sending out a card, a prospecting card, and I’m going to include a five dollar Starbucks to create a small sense of obligation with you. You’ll notice all my contact details preloaded from Salesforce. I didn’t have to type anything. I’ll click on “make proof.” Our platform’s based on the Adobe InDesign publishing engine, so all you marketing departments out there that are running your world in Adobe InDesign, which is certainly the design environment of choice for print, that’s what we’re hosting these templates as, so you’re well on your way to having your content published here as templates. You can see here, let me just blow this up a little bit …

Danny:                  The cup has my name on it. Brilliant.

Mark:                    Yeah. Fortunately, we’re seeing it … This is a [inaudible 00:17:02] proof, so it’s upside-down because the card’s going to fold. Maybe I can do for you, because it is a pretty sexy cup there, the kind of stuff that we can do.

Danny:                  That’s awesome.

Mark:                    I can make a quick PDF and flip it for you. I’ll just pull it over for you here and you can see it in PDF form. I just opened up a PDF proof in a different window.

Danny:                  Got you.

Mark:                    You can see cool stuff, right? The handwriting tucked under the lid. These are InDesign and Photoshop files that can be embedded with variable images and can be totally dynamic. Anything, handwriting underneath the Starbucks card that’ll get glued into the gift card, photos, images, et cetera. The sky’s the limit.

Danny:                  That’s awesome.

Mark:                    You can really come up with some sticky stuff. I’ll go ahead and submit that, and that’ll bring me back to your lead record. Our system will have added in real time an activity history. Then we have a sync process that runs every ten minutes where there’s data to sync. Then we’ll get that mailer history there, which is where we’re tracking things to, delivery and which drives, all your reports and dashboards there in terms of campaign influence and ROI and all that sort of stuff. We call that the solo mail, send-one-at-a-time workflow, but I thought your folks should see maybe more on the campaign-driven workflow a little bit. I have a quick event invite here. I’ll step into the direct mail workflow. I’ve got about three or four hundred folks in my campaign that I want to invite.

It’s taking all those campaign members and it’s mashing them up against the postal systems and correcting all the addresses. We just de-duped. We’ve got fifty addresses we can’t mail to. We can flag those back in Salesforce for administrative action, knowing that we’ve got bad addresses. If we’re happy with our list …

Danny:                  That functionality of checking the address is a part of your app, is that correct?

Mark:                    Yes, sir. We basically are marrying all of the postal databases and software in real time with Salesforce data so that we do pass …

Danny:                  Nice.

Mark:                    Even national change of address, mail forwarding, all that data is going to be available to us in Salesforce. Here’s an event invite. Field’s pre-populated, et cetera. I’ll continue to proof. I’ll stop there. I don’t need to take you through the whole rigmarole there. You can see we sent one. We can send many. I’ll just mention this view here. These are our mailer histories. We can see every piece of mail that’s been requested through the system. We can see when it’s delivered. We can click in and you’ve got all kinds of actionable data here, including the corrected address or the forwarded address if there was a move forward status, delivery info. Then, very often where we add value for customers is we help them build process flows and workflows on top of that data.

Danny:                  Nice.

Mark:                    The sales rep is getting notified and a task is getting scheduled and maybe Pardot or Marketing Cloud or Act-On is picking up the next step in the process based on that. All of that of course rolls up into some pretty handy reports and dashboards, which really you can fashion anything you like, you’ve got all the data right there.

Danny:                  That’s awesome. Mark, what a great demo. Thank you.

Mark:                    Pleasure.

Danny:                  I think this is for people who want to stand out from the crowd. I think it’s just become so much where people are so used to sending electronic messages and want to have some way of, whether it’s in the prospecting stages and you want to give somebody a heads up that you’re giving them a call, I think that makes that phone call so much easier to really making sure that you’re thankful to customers. There’s just so many uses that I see for this. It’s a great product.

Mark:                    Thank you. Direct mail and print, it’s a big industry. It’s a six hundred billion dollar a year industry, and it’s something that a lot of organizations are doing today, but it’s so painful. We’ve been so focused for the last five-plus years on e-mail, then social and digital marketing automation, that I think folks have forgotten what a valuable channel direct mail can be. Our mission is to make it easy and to help our customers generate leads, loyalty, and love with tactile marketing.

Danny:                  That’s great. Thanks, Mark, for taking the time to do this. For folks who are listening right now and want to see the demo, if you can go to we’ll have the videos up there. For folks who want to get in touch with you, is the website the easiest way or is there some other way that folks want to find out more?

Mark:                    Yeah, it’s just the website. You can send an e-mail to if you like, or you’re welcome to contact me personally at, too.

Danny:                  That’s great. Mark, thank you for taking the time to do this today.

Mark:                    My pleasure.

Danny:                  Absolutely. Thank you everyone for listening, and have a wonderful day. Bye-bye.

Share This