Executive Perspectives: Steve Stancic of Specialty Mailing
As part of Print+Promo Marketing’s ongoing feature, Executive Perspectives, we get to know leading professionals in the print and promotional industry. This month, we interviewed Steve Stancic, president of Specialty Mailing, St. Louis. Here, he highlights the issues he’s monitoring, shares his company’s new capabilities and explains why solution-based approaches work.
How did you get started in this industry, and what path did you take to land in your current role?
Steve Stancic: In 1995, when Specialty Mailing started, I was a student at the University of Missouri – St. Louis earning a degree in secondary education. I left a job at a local grocery store and accepted a part-time position at Specialty Mailing. As the company grew, I felt a strong calling to stay and grow with it. I decided to switch my major to business, and by 2001 I was running the business full-time, subsequently bought out two business partners and became owner and president.
How do you set goals for yourself? For your business?
SS: I strive for excellence in everything I set my mind to, and I appreciate the same in any organization with which I do business. This expectation carries over into this business. As an organization, our main goal is to focus on being a solutions provider for our clients. We focus on solving problems and exceeding expectations. We recently practiced this solutions-based thinking for a distributor who was having difficulty procuring envelopes. We presented the idea of using a pressure-seal form with a built-in reply. The end-client loved the idea, and we are currently producing a campaign for 850,000 mailers.
How does the economy continue to affect the industry?
SS: Over the past few years, every industry has faced supply chain issues, labor shortages and other challenges. These challenges have pushed us to exercise creativity to overcome them. An innovative mindset ensures this industry will thrive and grow, even in the midst of these challenges, and come out on top. We will continue to keep our eye on interest rates and other economic factors, and creatively adjust as needed. What we will not adjust is our commitment to provide excellent services and quality products for clients.
What do you expect to be some of the biggest changes or challenges the industry will face?
SS: As challenges of recent years have reset our ‘normal,’ I believe supply chain issues will continue to be big for us. We are proactively encouraging clients to prepare earlier for seasonal campaigns. This will help us work through supply chain challenges. We believe the best way to overcome labor challenges is to keep, train and retain our current workforce. This will become even more important as our products and services evolve to meet the ever-changing needs of the industry. Changes in USPS services and postage costs will also be important to monitor as we move forward.
What keeps you up at night?
SS: Rapidly rising supply and labor costs have me counting dollar signs at night, when I prefer to be counting sheep. The cost of paper and envelopes is increasing almost weekly, and labor rates have risen more in the past 12 months than in the previous five years. It is difficult to pass these cost increases on to our clients at the pace we are experiencing them. We continuously look for ways to keep costs down, with no intention of compromising quality.
What do you think is the most exciting, cutting-edge thing your company is doing right now?
SS: We have added geofencing digital advertising. This feature delivers digital ads that coincide with a client’s mailing list. Recipients of mail pieces also see digital ads with similar branding qualities. The digital ads offer clients more exposure and tracking features. A distributor contacted us in a panic because they were behind getting supplies to us for a direct mail campaign linked to an upcoming sale. The problem: The mail pieces may not hit mailboxes until after the sale started. The solution: We suggested using addressable geofencing to get the word out to those who would be receiving the mail pieces. Not only did we get the word out, but we were also able to track the customers into the stores and provide additional data to the client. The result: Prospects receiving both digital ads and mail pieces were 31% more likely to visit the business than those who only received the mailer.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
SS: I love golf. I have been able to attend the 2018 PGA Championship, the 2019 Masters (Tiger won and I was able to get one of his divots), the 2021 Ryder Cup and 2022 PGA Championship.
Elise Hacking Carr is editor-in-chief/content director for Print+Promo magazine.