Bolger Vision Beyond Print

In today’s world, with the advent of e-readers and other electronic media, it’s tempting to say that printing soon will be obsolete. That’s not the way dik Bolger sees it, however. Granted, as CEO of printing solutions provider Bolger Vision Beyond Print, Bolger would be expected to say that, but he’s also one of the people responsible for ensuring print’s success in the digital age. Even though some are too willing to write print’s epitaph, Bolger says there will always be a place for printed materials.

“If it’s designed beautifully and done well, it will be there,” Bolger says.

Bolger Vision Beyond Print has been providing custom printing solutions since 1934, when Bolger’s father bought a printing press to print copies of the shopper circular he produced. When the cost of operating the press went beyond his expectations, Bolger’s father approached the company that is now 3M with an offer to print materials for it, and the rest is history.

“3M continues to work with us,” Bolger says.

Over the years, Bolger Vision Beyond Print became known for innovation in the printing sector, being one of the first to go into typesetting and helping 3M use punch cards for early digital data storage. Today, the company produces catalogs, magazines, brochures, marketing materials and other custom printing solutions for myriad clients across the country. The key to the company’s success, according to Bolger, remains the same as it did when it first approached 3M decades ago.

“Really, the foundation of the company was to listen to customers and to offer the services its customers needed,” Bolger says. “What we’ve done throughout the years is try to identify sources of pain or challenge for clients and then go into those services and refine them.”

Adapt or Die

Although print media faces stiff competition from the digital realm, Bolger says there are still plenty of opportunities for a print company to take advantage of the information age to improve their service for customers. For example, Bolger Vision Beyond Print uses barcode tagging and an online interface to give its customers the ability to monitor their material as they move through the printing process. Bolger says the company’s 100,000-square-foot fulfillment center uses barcodes to keep tabs on printed materials before and after they are mailed.

Traditional print used for direct mail uses a “shotgun” approach, reaching many. Smart marketers use that direct mail to drive prospects to the Internet to gain additional information about the prospect. Variable print off of Bolger Vision Beyond Print’s digital presses can then be used as a directed “rifle” one to one campaign that increases responses for marketers, Bolger says.

What’s more, Bolger Vision Beyond Print is branching out into the information technology sector by helping customers market to consumers. Bolger SmartQ®, a beginning-to-end print management system, centralizes ordering, content customization, printing, fulfillment and direct mail campaigns all within one completely integrated interface. Bolger says customers are using these online applications to communicate more directly with consumers. In turn, the company’s experience in developing these services is helping it break into new markets.

“Our position today is strong in some of those marketplaces including healthcare, financial, corporate and education, and we’ve leveraged that experience into vertical markets,” Bolger says, noting that the company has a history of doing this with its printing services, leveraging experience in the healthcare sector into similar markets.

Changing World

Leveraging experience and providing added value aren’t just differentiators in today’s environment, Bolger says, they’re necessities. “The world of print is very different today than it was a few years ago,” he says. Printers who just put ink on paper will eventually go away.”

The  economy provides one of the biggest challenges to Bolger Vision Beyond Print today, but Bolger says the company is up to the task. “As with most successful companies, we continue to change and add new products, and we have to become smarter in the selling process,” he says.

That means utilizing customer relationship management tools and collecting customer testimonials for use in promotional materials, he says. “You have to offer value, and you have to offer a return on investment for your customers,” Bolger says. “It’s a survival of the fittest, really.”

Innovation continues to be a cornerstone of the company’s strategy, Bolger says. The company was one of the first to have a KBA Rapida 105 10 color Perfecting Press, which features five-color printing units on either side of the press, allowing it to print both sides of a page at the same time. “Although the economy has stymied print sales, the KBA  has given us an advantage in the marketplace, and opened new markets for Bolger,” Bolger says.

Bolger says the company also plans to continue being a leader in sustainability. As a renewable, recyclable resource, paper remains more environmentally sound than most digital technology, Bolger says. Bolger Vision Beyond Print also uses ISO 14001 standards to measure its environmental footprint, something many of its competitors don’t do. “If you do not measure environmental impact, you shouldn’t be talking green,” Bolger says.