Executive Perspectives: Michael C. Bann of Bann Business Solutions
As part of Print+Promo’s ongoing feature, Executive Perspectives, we get to know leading professionals in the print and promotional industry. This month, we interviewed Michael C. Bann of Bann Business Solutions, St. Paul, Minn. Here, he recounts his print roots, analyzes the meaning of a marketing services provider and makes a case for enjoying life’s simple pleasures.
How did you get started in this industry, and what path did you take to land in your current role?
Michael C. Bann: I grew up going to my dad’s business forms plant and sales office. I was made special assistant to the president in the second grade, selling my first print order to Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing (3M) for the whopping total of $300 ... I was rich!
I officially started working for my dad’s business forms company in 1979. I worked with my dad until his retirement. My brother and I were the leading salespeople in that company when we started our own print distributorship in 1997. We have been through many changes, with our share of ups and downs. My brother has successfully stayed on the print and promo side, while I have forged a path in the marketing services arena, focusing on providing data, direct mail and many different forms of digital marketing, as well as analytics. To say it’s been a crazy ride would be an understatement.
How do you set goals for yourself? For your business?
MCB: I’m a big believer in the Stephen Covey mantra of living your life inside out and putting first things first.
How does the economy continue to affect the industry?
MCB: Obviously, the better the economy, the better for most businesses. Specifically, in our area of direct response marketing, the housing economy is something I keep a close watch over. This year, the election will have a significant impact on the whole marketing world.
What do you expect to be some of the biggest changes or challenges the industry will face?
MCB: Those who are not willing to engage change will get left behind. The questions and timing regarding mergers and acquisitions will continue to impact all of us.
What keeps you up at night?
MCB: Not sure if this is good or bad, but after what I have lived through, there really isn’t much of anything that keeps me up at night anymore.
What do you think is the most exciting, cutting-edge thing your company is doing right now? Why?
MCB: Our focus has really turned to data and analytics, as that is the best route to prove ROI and, ultimately, the value that we bring to our clients. So much so that we are now offering a channel-agnostic “marketing optimization” program leveraging AI and machine learning. Basically, we help a marketing department understand where their clients are coming from and how much money to allocate to each marketing channel (e.g., direct mail, print, TV, digital, etc.).
What would people be surprised to learn about you—hobbies, special interests, etc.?
MCB: I used to be a scratch competitive golfer. Today, I spend more time on my road bike. I love both big mountain biking and skiing. As long as there are family, a cold IPA and a nice cigar around, I’m pretty content.