Badger Group’s Sally O’Brien fills us in on the latest technology in direct mail marketing.

Thysse interviews Badger Group President, Sally O’Brien, about her industry expertise. 

Last month, Thysse finalized a partnership with another family-owned print and marketing services provider from Fort Atkinson, WI. In the weeks following the big handshake, Badger Group staff has been busy settling in to their new home at the Oregon campus and giving the break room Keurig a hefty workout. With the transition now well under way, we stole a rare free minute from Badger Group president, Sally O’Brien, to tap her expertise in direct mail and campaign planning tools and get a read on what it means for our clients’ bottom line.

Thysse: Can you tell us a little bit about Badger Group’s history and what brought you to the industry? 

Sally: Growing up, my family always had a close connection to the print industry. My father bought Badger Press, Inc. in 1975, then located in Jefferson, WI. I worked there throughout college in various production areas and, after a few years working as a music therapist, returned to accept a full-time sales role. The work was something that instantly clicked with me. I really connected with the clients – I think that’s been the most rewarding piece all along! I love helping people come up with solutions to make their business better. In 1990, Badger Group built a new facility and moved to Fort Atkinson. I became President in 2000, expanding my role and responsibilities, but I’ve always focused on the customer side of the business.

Thysse: Badger Group started as a commercial printer, and, similar to Thysse, ended up expanding into a breadth of other areas as customer needs evolved. What other services does your team specialize in? 

Sally: We wanted to add more value for our clients, and make their marketing dollars work harder for them. We added digital marketing components to direct mail to increase their exposure and ROI. This omnichannel marketing approach can be created on a campaign level, or on a broader level using marketing automation software to engage audiences over time. We also create web-to-print storefront portals that enable clients to easily order and fulfill marketing materials within their organizations.

Thysse: Can you describe any recent projects that have been particularly effective print campaigns? Or how your marketing services are continuing to evolve the perception of what a printer provides?

Sally: We recently won a ‘best of’ category through Great Lakes Graphics Association (GLGA) for a unique self-mailer we produced for Madison College. They wanted an interactive piece that prospective students would spend time with once they received it in the mail, so we created a design with multiple folds and flaps that needed to be opened to reveal the content. We incorporated multi-channel digital follow up in their direct mail strategy as well, which resulted in an incredible response rate. They got a ton of extra exposure that they wouldn’t have gotten with just the direct mail piece. 

Thysse: The Badger staff joining the team are experts at applying the latest technology to boost direct mail marketing efforts. What can you tell us about Mail+ and why should businesses consider it? 


Sally O’Brien, Badger Group President

Sally: This means you need to be reaching your audience multiple times to successfully engage them and convert into a sale or action. Using Mail+ adds multiple digital components to your direct mail campaigns to extend your reach across many different communication channels – keeping your message and brand in front of your target audience. It’s a really cost effective way for companies to boost their direct mail ROI.

Thysse: How would you explain marketing automation and its benefits to a company who’s never used it before? 


Sally O’Brien, Badger Group President

Sally: Any company or organization that is looking to grow and fill their sales or lead funnel can benefit from marketing automation. It takes time and planning on the front end to create and implement a marketing automation program. But – once in place, this data-driven, omnichannel marketing campaign works behind the scenes to send out content based on actions taken and qualify leads based on past behaviors. This data is collected, managed and stored in a digital dashboard and can also be linked directly to your CRM for a seamless transition of information.

Thysse: Can you explain the importance of customer data in helping businesses reach the next level of brand awareness and engagement?

Sally: Data is king – you need accurate, detailed data to best attract and engage your audience. The more details you have about your audience the better you will be able to push out relevant content. If you’re looking for a good prospect list – the more you know about your current customers the better chance you have of finding ‘look alike’ audiences to create great prospect lists.

Thysse: What insights can companies gain about their customers by using the marketing automation analytics dashboard? 

Sally: Digital dashboards help you manage the activities happening within your campaigns. They allow you to do things like: 

  • Predict and confirm when the direct mail piece is delivered so you can be prepared for new calls and online leads
  • Track phone calls that were a direct result of your campaign 
  • Tell you how many unique visitors came to your website, how many digital ads were shown and how often they were clicked on 
  • Track email open rates to know who is interested in the content you are creating 
  • Gather survey data collected from personalized URLs. The data can also be reviewed and used for future actions

Campaign tactics can be tweaked during a campaign based on what kind of results you are seeing on your dashboard – giving you the best possible chance for success. 

Thysse: What is the biggest challenge companies face regarding their marketing efforts? 

Sally: The average person receives more than 2,900 marketing messages a day – across multiple communication platforms. That’s a lot of competition for your message to stand out, engage and create action. Organizations need to use multiple communication channels to make sure their brand and message is reaching their audience. These communications need to be personalized so your audience finds value and takes notice. 

Thysse: Is there anything else you would like to share about Badger Group’s partnership with Thysse? 

Sally: Jason [Thysse President] and his team have the same values as our Badger family. Both being family owned and operated businesses, we care about our employees and are able to recruit and retain great team members. In both organizations, customers come first. I needed to be sure that my clients would feel completely comfortable that their needs would be well taken care of with this partnership. This past year with the pandemic, we often heard things about being ‘in this together’. I believe that this partnership will make us ‘better together’ with our expanded teams and services. I trusted Jason and his team from the first time we met and am excited about what the future will bring!

About Badger Group

A family-run business since 1975 and a WBENC-certified Woman-Owned Small Business, Badger Group is a print and marketing services provider specializing in data-driven, cost-effective, targeted direct mail communications. As of June 1st, Badger Group staff became a proud member of the Thysse family and looks forward to providing clients with an expanded range of services and capabilities.

About Thysse

Thysse is an ever-evolving brand experience provider built by three generations of visual communication specialists. We like to say Thysse is “Where you go with your brand,” and provide innovative solutions to back that statement up. We are a design, printing, specialty graphics, and manufacturing company at our core, but we also offer imagination and the tools to customize your project to find the right solution every time.

For questions about the services mentioned in this interview, get in touch with us through our contact page and ask for more details.

6 Benefits to Print Campaign Management

6 Benefits to Print Campaign Management

When your printer can provide effective campaign management, you gain so much more than printed products. By understanding you and your campaign goals, your printer can keep your efforts from going off the rails AND play a crucial role in your campaign’s success.

Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

  • Internal stakeholders wanted a clear explanation of your campaign, but you struggled to express how it would work—and why it was necessary.
  • The timelines fell apart because you estimated too generously.
  • The budget ballooned, and you didn’t know what to cut.
  • A surprise campaign need emerged, but you couldn’t figure out how to budget for it.
  • The colors on your flyers didn’t match your banners, and the logo on your postcards was incorrect.

Challenges like these can put your campaign in a tailspin. But when you have campaign management support from your printer, you can prevent those situations while gaining benefits like the following. 

Your printer should be your campaign partner.

1. Get more from your print spend

You can tell a printer what items you want for your campaign—that’s easy. But then what? Campaign management means your printer doesn’t just nod and say, “Okay, we can do that.” 

Instead they take the time to consider what’s worked well for other customers. They also leverage the wisdom of internal experts and ask, “Is there a better way to do this?” 

By offering up best practices, your printer can help promote cost-effective approaches so you get more from your investment. 

Your printer should have direct mail down to a science.

For example, an outdated mailing list and a vague distribution strategy can cause significant waste. Look for a printer who has direct mail down to a science. They can help clean up your list, minimize postage costs, and time your mailing for maximum effectiveness.

2. Answer the tough business questions, create better outcomes 

The more a printer understands your campaign, the more effectively they can execute its components and the better they can act as an extension of your business.

That’s why robust campaign management demands a printer who asks questions like …

  • What are your goals? 
  • How will you measure your project success? 
  • How about your ROI?

Printers may shy away from asking these questions because it potentially holds them more accountable. But wouldn’t you prefer a printer who sees it as their responsibility to ask? 

3. Express your plan clearly and convince internal stakeholders

People want—and need—details, especially your internal stakeholders. Thanks to all the thorough discussion and methodical planning you’ve done with your printer, you’ll be more than prepared to deliver the kind of information management wants. 

Plan so you know details, and can give them to management.

Campaign management empowers you to deliver a comprehensive, step-by-step explanation for how your campaign will work and a compelling argument for why it’s a smart investment of time and money.

4. Create a clear picture of costs and timelines

A printer who lives and breathes campaign management knows the pace and sequence needed for a campaign’s successful implementation. 

Your printer can help with pace and sequence.

More specifically, they can help map out the projects within your campaign to not only accurately define timelines but also the associated costs with each one.

In fact, a printer who understands campaign management will want to be involved early on in your campaign planning. This isn’t a transactional procedure. This is what it can look like when  you work with a printer who’s invested in your campaign’s success.

And even the best-planned campaigns may encounter a surprise need or two. But with campaign management, your printer is there to guide you to a solution that can still meet your needs—without throwing your budget out of whack.

Campaign management is multifaceted - have a team.

5. Expect—and take comfort in having—a comprehensive support team 

Your campaign management is multifaceted. That’s why campaign management from your printer doesn’t depend on just one person. It’s a team effort. Here’s a glimpse of what that can look like:  

  • Sales can be helping you strategize the timing of your campaign components. 
  • Production can be providing advice on the best way to design a particular item.
  • Customer service can be working with you to facilitate the best possible schedule for your campaign components. 

6. Keep your brand consistent across your campaign projects

You can’t afford to lose sight of your brand details. Campaign management also means your printer is monitoring your colors, adhering to strict industry color standards, and helping your brand stay consistent and looking its best.

As your campaign unfolds and the files start flying, you also want a printer helping to ensure those files are set up right. This reduces the back-and-forth, keeps the printing process moving ahead, and ultimately means your printer can hit tighter color tolerances.

Translation: Your brand stays strong throughout all your campaign’s printed items.

Now you understand what your printer should be doing to provide exceptional campaign management support. It’s about way more than having products printed. You can actually make smarter business decisions that help you achieve more from your print investment.

If you want to learn more about how your organization can benefit from campaign management, contact Thysse.

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