Virginia Tech Alumni Association Grades Bulk Mailer A+ in Mailing Preparation

The Virginia Tech Alumni Association keeps the school in touch with over 500,000 VT graduates, sending them newsletters, information about upcoming events in their area and notices about university athletics.

Virginia Tech Alumni Association

No Help Learning a New Product

Three months after John Borman was hired to work in the printing and postal division of the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the man who hired him died. Borman, whose previous experience was in printing, was suddenly forced to become the in-house mailing expert as well. He’s the first to admit he’s “not a computer guy,” so when he tried to use their mailing software, Pitney Bowes SmartMailer, he needed some help.

He went to Pitney-Bowes looking for training on their SmartMailer product, but found none. For the next two years, he tried to arrange some sort of training without much success. Finally, Borman was fed up with Pitney-Bowes’s service as a whole. When it came time to upgrade their printers, they went with Secap instead. Secap bundled a one-year license of Satori Software Bulk Mailer® with the printer purchase.

At first, Borman was wary of anything “free.” “Oh sure,” he thought, “you get what you pay for.” Satori Software gave him a demo disc so he could see the program before he had to decide on the Secap offer. “No other company was willing to do that,” he says. Once he made the decision to switch, though, he still needed to learn how to use the software.

“Going to something new made me very nervous. Satori’s Technical Support made me comfortable.”

John Borman, 
Printing & Postal Manager

Technical Support Eases the Software Transition

“Going to something new made me very nervous,” says Borman, now Printing & Postal Manager. “Satori’s Technical Support made me comfortable.” Borman used the online Express Demos and free weekly training classes to learn how to use the program. When he ran into trouble, he sent a couple of e-mails to support and quickly found the answer he needed. With this help from Satori Technical Support, the transition was very easy — much easier than expected. Anytime he needs a refresher, he takes the free online training course again.

Bulk Mailer fit smoothly into the existing printing and postal process at the VT Alumni Association. Local chapters will request an alumni mailing, which is usually to notify alumni of local events– a networking meeting or football game, for example. With over 240 chapters and clubs, this adds up to thousands of mailings each year. For each mailing, Borman pulls a subset of addresses from the Virginia Tech Banner database, imports them into Bulk Mailer, and finally corrects and presorts the addresses. Immediately after Bulk Mailer finishes processing the addresses, he prints the addresses onto the mail pieces directly from the software.

“I’ve got templates for everything. It’s a no brainer. Once the templates are set up, you put the addresses in and you’re done.”

Bulk Mailer Improves the Overall Process

The Bulk Mailer user interface has made Borman’s job easier. “I’ve got templates for everything,” he says. “It’s a no brainer. Once the templates are set up, you put the addresses in and you’re done.” Every process from data import to mail piece printing has a step-by-step wizard, and those settings can be saved into templates. Processing each mailing is quick — it takes less than 10 minutes. At the end, each address is standardized, corrected and confirmed as deliverable, and the mailing list is sorted for mailing discounts.

Borman can solve address quality problems quickly and easily with the tools that Bulk Mailer provides. When an address fails to verify as deliverable during the address correction process using USPS®DPV™ data, Bulk Mailer attaches an error code that details exactly why. Borman then uses the Groups feature to isolate these errors and view them either in a list or one by one. He takes this information back to the main Virginia Tech database, which helps the university keep its data clean.

Bulk Mailer has simplified Borman’s design process as well. With the versatile mail piece designer included in the software, he only needs three envelope templates to cover all potential mailings. With SmartMailer, he used around 40. Templates can be changed anytime, like when he added a memorial ribbon graphic to all envelopes in Spring of 2007.

When their bundled license expires, Borman plans to keep Bulk Mailer and pay the subscription fees. “SmartMailer did the job, but wasn’t as thorough,” he says. With Bulk Mailer, he gets software that is easy to use, address correction with useful feedback and easy access to postal discounts. The free technical support and training help him get his money’s worth.

Satori Software and Bulk Mailerare registered trademarks of Satori Software Inc. The following trademarks are owned by USPS: DPV and USPS.