DP Marketing Services is the accidental discovery of Richard Dannenberg: sole owner, proprietor, chief cook and bottle washer. Dannenberg sold his printing business in 2012, thinking that he would return to gainful employment with a large multinational corporation that would provide him with a corporate jet and a high six figure salary. Much to his dismay, he discovered that large multinational corporations were in short supply in the Middle Georgia area. Lacking the funds to start one up, he decided to take another tack.
Dannenberg had spent 15 years in a progression of sales, marketing and management positions at Mellco, a $50 million wood products company, winding up as CMO for the company in the 1990s. There, he gained broad business management experience and learned marketing through first-hand experimentation with the 4Ps. Mellco was well ahead of the curve, especially for a Middle Georgia company, starting the first website in the wood preserving industry in the late 80s and pioneering new products like composite decking long before they reached the mainstream. Along with research, new product development, merchandising, and training a sales force, Dannenberg also learned graphic design and IT work – added to the portfolio as “occupational hazards,” because no one else wanted to take them on.
These skills led to an interest in print, then the primary means of conveying information to prospects, customers and the rest of the human race. Recognizing a need for a technologically advanced design and print company in Middle Georgia, Dannenberg teamed with a national franchise in 1998 to start Digital Press of Middle Georgia, operating as Alphagraphics Macon. The company grew quickly, adding digital and offset color printing capacity, and entering markets for direct mail and large format printing. Attuned to customer needs, Alphagraphics Macon developed online capabilities for file transfer, streamlined workflows, and web-to-print. Alphagraphics was also ahead of the curve with technology, recognizing the shift to digital marketing channels and adding capabilities for cross-channel marketing to the mix in 2005.
The 2008 recession changed the landscape for the printing industry. The transition from paper to digital communication accelerated and print revenues dropped as customers sliced their marketing budgets. Alphagraphics had purchased and renovated a historic building in downtown Macon in 2006, and the additional overhead strained the business. When the opportunity to consolidate with a friendly competitor came in 2012, Dannenberg took it, selling the printing business and the remaining assets of the company.
What to do? Reluctant to move to a metropolitan area where corporate jets and six figure incomes were more plentiful, Dannenberg decided to pursue other opportunities that could operate from his Middle Georgia base. The first vacation in 14 years provided time to think and review. He took on a few freelance projects for old customers and for the friendly print competitor and gained an outside perspective of small business that was enlightening, if not surprising. Under pressure, the owners of these businesses spent most of their days reacting to events that occurred around them. Despite their best efforts, daily urgencies pre-empted most of the items on the to-do list. Marketing, as a priority, frequently fell to the bottom or off the list completely. Marketing and communication efforts were sporadic, frequently late and ineffective. Dannenberg realized that he’d lived through this experience and might be able to help.
So, incidentally or accidentally, from his marketing and small business background, Dannenberg decided to start another business. DP Marketing Services was conceived. The DP acknowledges Digital Press, still the legal business name, and the desire to continue working with printers in an industry that Dannenberg finds fascinating. Marketing Services, because the new venture is intended to provide real, hands on help to small businesses and printing companies.
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Small businesses have never faced such great challenges and opportunities. Competition is tougher than ever before and yet the opportunity to attract and gain new customers is massive. Local markets have been impacted by large competitors and internet businesses; but small businesses aren’t restricted geographically any more and can grow in the same online space. The goal of DP Marketing Services is to help this happen. We’re here to help small and medium sized businesses succeed in this new environment, contributing both focus and manpower – helping them to define priorities, create a strategy, and market consistently and effectively.