Where does Change Come From?
By Elizabeth Gooding on December 16th, 2010
I was looking at some of the comments on TheDigitalNirvana recently and I saw one from someone at ekeymailer.com and said hmmm – I wonder who they are. I looked them up and found a company that seems to embody a lot of the change and innovation concepts that various bloggers here have talked about on this site in 2010.
eKey Technologies is the design and technology division of Butler Mailing Services. Butler appears to be a very untraditional provider of traditional letter shop services. They were founded in 1983 and, I’m not sure what went on for the first couple of decades but, in this decade someone seems to have caught the process redesign bug. Rather than keep doing the same old letter-shop thing the same old way – someone at Butler/eKey has been pulling processes apart looking for every tiny way to make them just a little better. This process innovation has led to 4 patent applications (1 accepted and 3 pending) and over 40 mailer designs so far that have received USPS approval.
They have slowly expanded their business beyond their core letter shop print and mail services to become a technology, design and consulting services provider to mailers and to other service providers. This change seems to have happened naturally through intellectual curiousity and a desire to do good work rather than from a consultant coming in to tell them ” you should evolve. Trust me I know.”
But alas, building a better mousetrap does not ensure that customers will beat a path to your door (sorry Emerson.) People need to know that you have new coolio solutions for bringing down the cost of mailing and reducing breakage and streamlining the package assembly process. Oh, but wait, they’re pretty good at spreading the word too…
Butler and eKey both have websites. -While neither is likely to win any design awards, they post useful information on their eKey site- not a full on blog - but content that would make you come back. Todd Butler, their president, is frequently published in the industry press and works the conference circuit too. They have taken a page from John Foley’s last post “Make Social Media Work For You.” They are on LinkedIn – again not going to win any awards – but they’re out there. They even capture testimonials from customers and make them “evergreen” through video on YouTube. Take a look at the video – it’s a good demonstration of how a simple packaging change can save a ton of money – and it’s quite well done.
Butler and eKey are not run by marketing wizards – but they keep figuring out ways to take what they know and re-package it at a profit. They keep learning new ways to get the word out too. They change just a little bit all the time. I guess that’s how evolution is supposed to work – not some big bang transformation. If some regular guys from Ohio can do it – maybe you can too.
What do you think – will change at your company come from within or do you need an outside catalyst?