Climbing the Ranks of North America’s Top Printers

Back to Posts
Top printer of 2020 list

Climbing the Ranks of North America’s Top Printers

In Printing Impressions’ recent compilation of the top 400 printers, United Mail ranked 182nd out of all printers in North America. To be matched up against, and come out on top, of more than half of the biggest names in the industry is a real achievement. With our targets now locked on climbing even higher on the ladder, we want to take a look at what it means to be so highly ranked, and how we managed to achieve such a milestone.

What Such a High Rank Means

When considering a “who’s who” list that’s populated with Fortune 500 companies, book manufacturers, and industrial conglomerates, many of which operate hundreds of plants across North America, the fact that United Mail has managed to hit above its weight not only to place on such a list, but to beat out a majority of other printers, is an incredible achievement.

Printing Impressions: 36th Annual Top 400 Printers

With Printing Impressions releasing its 36th Annual top 400 list, United Mail is shown to have outperformed over 200 of the industry’s biggest names. There are companies on the Printing Impressions list with book-manufacturing divisions valued at $200 million. How is it that a direct marketing company in Louisville, Kentucky (with a second location in Cincinnati, OH) is competing with some of the largest printers in North America? With a list that contains industry giants such as RR Donnelly, Quad, and Cimpress, the competition among NA printers can be fierce. While some companies on this list have struggled to diversify, to connect with demographics that are commanding an increasing market power, to maintain client confidence, and to embrace new technologies, United Mail has managed to do all of that and more.

How We Managed This Achievement

While printing is thriving in recent years, not all sails have caught these prevailing winds. Many companies are struggling; Some are reporting losses, selling off major divisions and assets, dealing with court settlements, and dropping in rank. Meanwhile, United Mail has managed to jump all the way up to the 182nd spot, with sights set on climbing even higher. How has United Mail been able to manage this achievement, and count itself among the success stories while some of the top companies are floundering? It boils down to two key advantages: embracing new technologies and maintaining client confidence. These key advantages help United Mail to deliver quality at scale, allowing us to rank among and above the industry’s best.

Embracing New Technologies

The adoption of new and emerging technologies is crucial to stay thriving in the modern market. From physical machinery and robotics to the utilization of advanced software, data, and computational resources, United Mail is among those leading the charge in embracing new technologies.

Variable Data Printing


Variable Data Printing
(VDP) is essentially the utilization of technologies to massively build upon direct mail’s potential to reach and engage with recipients. VDP makes direct mail more personal, more effective, and all-around more successful. VDP can turn boilerplate mail addressed to “current resident” into locally relevant mail addressed to recipients by name.

Variable Data Printing improves the reader rate and response rate of direct mail, generating more customers, building satisfaction, and increasing trust. VDP does this by making direct mail campaigns customer or region-specific, using data profiles and regional information not just to address recipients by to inform, personalize, and schedule mailings, and to add maps, images, and text that make direct mail seem individualized and local instead of impersonal and mass-produced.

Direct mail from a single campaign can address customers based on individual data. For example, the same general template can be customized to include different coupons to address new customers, returning customers, and customers who have been loyal for years, with different tiers of savings. This makes it so that customers feel known and valued, but also allows the same overall marketing vehicle to be utilized in all of these different ways.

Variable data printing can also take advantage of geolocation mapping (Variable Mapping Printing) and customer data to deliver an experience that feels personalized and important. Maps can be applied to send-outs pointing recipients to the nearest local branch of a given business, or simply welcome new movers to the neighborhood. Recent studies have shown that customers are 70% more likely to engage with mail campaigns that feature their names and that personalized mail raises response rates by at least 15%. Embracing technologies such as VDP is one of the many reasons United Mail managed to achieve such a high rank among the top 400 printers.

StitchLiner Mark III

Variable data printing is just the beginning. United Mail’s continued investment in the latest and best machinery is another reason for the high rank achieved. The newest investment, the StitchLiner MARK III, is one of the most powerful and effective tools on the market, capable of taking VDP to the next level through variable print stitching.

Variable print stitching is VDP in 3D. Variable print stitching makes it not just possible, but also fast and cost-effective, to personalize even multi-page sent-outs such as brochures or booklets. The same multi-page piece can be used in various regions, with various demographics, and for various customers. Variable print stitching makes it so that you can use the same general marketing materials and page layouts but with key elements such as local phone numbers, images, or coupons, easily swapped and applied based on customer data, region, demographics, etc. making your single base piece personalized based on each individual recipient’s data. There’s no longer a need to design thousands of individual multi-page pieces when you can simply assign different elements and information to different customer variables.

The StitchLinder MARK III is also capable of cover matching. This means that the same brochure can have a variable cover page to match local or customer-specific data, allowing for an increase in readership and engagement without needing to individually design the internal materials. It is also capable of various sheets, meaning that certain recipients can receive certain pages, while other recipients receive a different set of pages. For example, customer A could get pages 2,4, and 6, while customer B gets pages 1,2,3 and 4, and customer C gets pages 2,3, and 5. If a set of information or a promotion is only relevant to a given set of customers, there’s no need to send all of that to groups of people to whom the information or promotion doesn’t apply.

Specific pages and covers from the same base pool of materials can be made into a variety of brochures, pamphlets, or booklets to create an effective personalized experience for customers by presenting them with marketing materials relevant to them and their individual data profiles, regional information, or demographics. This incredibly powerful machine is just the latest example of United Mail’s commitment to new technologies.

Maintaining Client Confidence

At United Mail, the work speaks for itself. Customers return time and time again because their needs and expectations are understood, met, and exceeded. We wanted to go a step further. In a world of data breaches and lax data security, we wanted to make sure to go the extra mile in terms of data security certification and commitment to quality. That’s why United Mail is a HITRUST CSF, SOC 2 Type2, and ISO 9001:2015 certified company.

HITRUST CSF

With news stories left and right about massive data breaches impacting huge numbers of customers and resulting in massive damages, there’s never been more reason to make sure that data security protocols are up to code or better.

General guidelines, such as those set forth by HIPAA, are often too broad to be entirely effective for the huge number of companies to which these guidelines are prescribed. Companies whose only benchmark for data security is loose guidelines like this are left without specific direction. Even successfully following these guidelines and frameworks does not guarantee the level of data security necessary in fields associated with high volumes of data and/or sensitive data.

On the other hand, HITRUST (Health Information Trust) offers a third-party assessment, HITRUST CSF (Common Security Framework), that certifies companies as meeting data-security protection standards through rigorous testing. HITRUST CSF certified companies are tested in the spirit of HIPAA guidelines (also incorporating NIST, ISO, PCI, FTC Red Flag and COBIT guidelines/frameworks), but in a way that offers companies an actual path to certification. Whereas HIPAA merely presents a set of guidelines without oversite, testing, or certification, HITRUST actually offers a way to verify and test that their protocols are being met. Being HITRUST CSF certified requires a lot of work and a large financial investment, but doing so will ensure that all data that United Mail handles is safe and secure.

SOC 2 TYPE 2

United Mail is certified SOC 2 Type 2, which means that we invested in a rigorous audit to be performed to certify the entire company. For other companies, complying with general guidelines is good enough, but for United Mail that just wasn’t enough.

We want to ensure that we are creating and maintaining the most stringent controls needed to ensure the highest quality and security of service. SOC Type 2 certification requires companies to comply with standard operating procedures for organizational oversight, the management of data to and from vendors, the minimization of risk, and a high standard of regulatory oversight. It is critical for anyone with sensitive data of any kind, large amounts of user data, personal information, or anyone who wants to keep their data protected from lapses and breaches.

ISO 9001:2015

Quality and trust are some of United Mail’s cornerstones. Opting for discretionary ISO (International Organization for Standardization) certification is just another way for us to ensure that quality is always is at the forefront.

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is comprised of a network of institutions in 161 countries seeking to establish standards for quality across materials, products, processes, and the organization of information and management systems. ISO 9000 has been in existence for more than twenty years. In 2000, the standard was extensively modified to include product and service organizations. ISO 9001:2015 is the universal quality management system standard. To maintain certification, we strictly adhere to established quality control guidelines and practices. With practices such as these, maintaining client confidence has never been an issue at United Mail.

Quality at Scale

United Mail’s high ranking by Printing Impressions will come as no surprise to our customers. With key advantages such as embracing new technologies and maintaining client confidence, our high rank on the 36th annual Top 400 list is possible even when matched up against massive conglomerations with hundreds of production facilities. Our commitment to new technologies, to a high standard of quality, and to security, means that United Mail can confidently count itself among the best in the industry.

If you’re looking for a company with all of the scale advantages and competitive pricing of an industrial conglomerate, but with the quality and commitment of a company that will strive to understand, meet, and exceed your individual needs, look no further than United Mail. Give us a call today or schedule a call online.

By Kenton Jetton

Share this post

Back to Posts