It was a tough year for WT Media, the 12-person offshoot of Kepner-Tregoe’s former Professional Services Group. The printing and media firm saw a 25-percent drop in volume, largely due to the fact that Kepner-Tregoe, WT’s first and still largest client, saw the same drop in its revenues last year, according to Jim Frintner, one of five managing partners at WT (U.S. 1, May 13, 2009).
WT also had to let two of its 14 full-timers go. But Frintner says WT Media has stabilized, thanks to some creative re-direction, financial prudence, and a more concentrated effort to court more long-term clients.
“We spent a lot of money on business development,” Frintner says. “We set out to get new clients, which we did.”
WT has bagged a few national clients and, overall, has about 25 consistent customers for its printing and media services. One of its best customers is a company with 140 offices across the country, for which WT prints all business cards. WT also prints materials for a nonprofit organization that holds 90 annual events nationwide. “We’ve been able to find niches,” Frintner says.
The company, hatched in 2007, was the division of Kepner-Tregoe that had made and distributed digital and printed training and marketing materials for Kepner’s global corporate training enterprise since the 1950s. But near the close of 2007 Kepner-Tregoe got a new CEO, Andrew Graham, and started re-evaluating its needs. “They saw a diminishing role for our core strengths,” Frintner says.
Fortunately for Frintner, who ran the production department and was a partner in Kepner Tregoe, the relationship between the company and the division was a good one. The company offered him the chance to purchase the printing division’s assets. Frintner did (for an undisclosed amount) and offered four of his colleagues in the division — Pete Fry, Mike Cigler, Joe Mathis, and John Leonardis — a chance to buy in. In 2008 WT Media LLC emerged.
Frintner originally envisioned WT as an operation that would continue largely as it had as a division of Kepner-Tregoe, but in this new media age, Frintner says, remaining just a printer will put you on the unemployment line before long. WT is looking at new media and has two Google Adword specialists on staff now to help it build its search engine optimization. This alone has brought the company some new clients, Frintner says.
WT’s biggest new focus is on helping clients build marketing in this new, digital world. “We’re seeing more of a need for companies that have done traditional marketing to move toward new media,” Frintner says. The move is not only from paper to digital, but into personalized marketing in E-mails and URLs.
WT provides general direct marketing services, Frintner says, and is expanding its ability to help companies build better marketing capabilities.
“Printing is still the biggest chunk of our business in terms of dollars,” Frintner says. “But that’s not getting us through the door with new clients. We’re now positioning ourselves as not just printers, but as experts in new media and media services.”
WT Media LLC, 1377 Route 206, Skillman 08558; 866-999-0050; fax, 609-921-3490. Jim Frintner, manager and partner. Home page: www.wtmediallc.com.