Jim is a Director of Marketing at the Universal Mailing Service. He is an experienced marketer and lecturer with a demonstrated history of working at the executive level in the marketing industry. Skilled in digital and physical advertising, integrated marketing, strategic partnerships, and digital marketing, he has managed large mailing operations distributing millions of mail pieces daily. He has acted as a postal liaison with USPS. He is also a long-term chairperson of the postal customer council(PCC). Jim is known for spearheading an educational outreach campaign that delivers cutting-edge marketing solution content to students attending NY and NJ area colleges and universities.
If you could write a book about your life, what would the title be, and why?
“This is a tough question. But I gave it some thought. And I think the best way to answer that would be ‘knowledge is power.‘ Why do I think so?
My whole life, I wanted to be a better person. When I was young, I wanted to be a better son. When I was competing in sports, I wanted to be a better athlete. When I got into the business world, I wanted to be a better professional. When I became a father, I wanted to be a better father.
I learned at an early age that you learn from your mistakes and your experience. What you do with the knowledge and the mistakes you made make you a better person. So if you make a mistake, try not to make that mistake again. That is step one.
Step two, get more knowledge about what you’re doing. For example, I was a wrestler in high school and college. So, you know, I looked to get more knowledge from people that had more knowledge than me. So I went to them to teach me. And that made me a better wrestler.
So, yeah, a big part of my life has been learning from my own experiences and from other people who had more knowledge.”
How about your professional life?
“Professionally, I follow the same principle. I’m the marketing service provider, working for a big mailing company. A large part of my career has been working with mailing companies. However, a big part of my focus has been learning to be a better marketer.
Professionally, I always think about what I need to do to separate myself from everybody else in a mailing service provider business. I have been in the mailing business for almost 30 years, and I was probably one of the first to embrace digital. I think I was one of the first people that had an enormous laptop computer – it was the size of a briefcase. And I said, ‘I have to embrace digital.’ So I embraced technology quickly.
I wanted to learn more about digital marketing. I went to Rutgers Business School and got a mini MBA in digital marketing about seven or eight years ago. As a direct mail marketing provider, I also work with many innovative digital supplements that work very well with direct mail.”
What is the future of direct mail in this digital era?
“The future of direct mail will never go away. I think what’s happening is, you know, marketers have a finite number of marketing dollars. And savvy marketers are doing two things. One, they’re spending the money where they know it’s going to bring them a return. And direct mail brings the return. Second, they’re also taking some of the other dollars and exploring the new channels as they evolve.
Not that long ago, marketers were pouring money into myspace….and it doesn’t even exist anymore as a marketing channel. But it’s essential to test the waters with new channels as they evolve. Marketers need to talk to their audience in a way they want to be talked to. And there’s still a large percentage of people that value direct mail. They trust direct mail. Besides, direct mail has an excellent shelf-life; I think the average direct mail piece, when targeted, will sit on a shelf for something like 17 days. So think about that. Can you get a social message to pop in front of somebody for 17 days? Not likely. But at the same time, as a direct mail provider, you still need to learn what you can do to interact with other digital channels.”
Why did you get involved with the AMA-New Jersey chapter? Why is this organization important to you?
I joined AMA- New Jersey for two reasons. I came to learn, I want to learn, and the AMA is a great place to learn. It’s a very diverse group of individuals from different backgrounds – both social and business backgrounds. There are people involved with agencies. There are end-users, there are consultants, there are service providers like myself. And I learn from them how they do it differently.
I also like the content that AMA distributes. For example, lately, there are a few sessions on diversity, which is a very important topic today. So I want to be able to talk to my customers about marketing to diverse backgrounds. I’m certainly not going to be an expert after one session of diversity marketing. However, I’m going to learn a little more, and I’m going to be better prepared the next time I interact with my customers.
And I also want to share. I like talking to people. So I talk to people about what I’m doing. When they say, ‘Hey, you’re the guy that’s polluting the environment, you’re the guy that’s making all that junk mail,’ I am happy to say that the paper industry plants more trees than they cut down. I’m happy to say that the inks today are all vegetable-based. I discuss the responsible printing business. And when they say it’s snail mail, I am happy to explain how snail mail has anywhere between a 5 and 10% return on investment. So, yes..AMA New Jersey has given me that platform to share my knowledge with other marketers too.
What is the best advice you would give to new professionals in your industry?
I had the pleasure of teaching many college students – all within the marketing majors. While lecturing at the Rutgers Business School, I had the opportunity to hire somebody in my company. I spoke with some young students, and most of them already had job offers. I told them, ‘each of you would come out of this school with basically the same knowledge. You’re all going to know everything there is to know about digital and social media marketing. But none of you will know anything about direct mail. One that comes to me will have a distinct advantage over the others as I’m going to give you the foundation of physical marketing.”
A young lady joined, and she stayed for two years. And at the end of the two years, she took the job as a direct mail manager for a big company in New York City. And she’s making a very comfortable living with that company. I think she got the job for three reasons. One, she was young and able to give a young person’s perspective. Two, she had a good handle on digital marketing. But most importantly, she had a good handle on direct mail and how it interacts with digital marketing.
So I would say to young professionals and students, open your horizons, open your eyes, and be open-minded. Don’t think you know everything. If someone gives you $100,000 to spend, don’t spend it all on social. Think about influencer marketing. Think about print, think about billboards, think about radio, think about cable TV. You know, think!
If someone wants to connect with you, what is the best way to reach out to you on social media?
You can contact me at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-lombard-5980464/