“Say it to Max” Veteran Publishing Company Improves Team Efficiency, Recovers Lost Revenue, and Builds Clients’ Market Share with Maximizer
In 1993, executives at Kenilworth knew that if they were to maintain their culture of excellence and continue to strengthen each new client’s profile within their respective industries with a high-value publication, they would have to systemize their customer information management and deadline tracking processes.
“With the number of publications we managed even then, we had nearly 100 deadlines to meet each year – deadlines that had to be met flawlessly,” says Rudy Kral, Vice President, Kenilworth.
As well, Kenilworth wanted to diversify its focus from association magazines to those that were market driven and company-owned.
After evaluating both Maximizer and ACT!, they chose Maximizer. “We found ACT! Seriously lacking in functionality and not that easy to use,” recalls Kral. “We’ve been using Maximizer for 14 years. Year after year, upgrade by upgrade, we’ve been completely satisfied.”
With more than 8,000 customers, Maximizer is one of the world’s most popular and proven customer relationship management products. Today, 40 out of Kenilworth’s 45 employees use Maximizer, including those in publishing, editorial content creation, advertising, administration, circulation and readership, and printing and distribution.
“Maximizer is essential to keeping our deadlines and teams on track,” says Kral. “Without it, we’d be lost.”
“Maximizer is designed to improve the efficiency of your sales, marketing, and support teams with automated reminders and the ability to capture information from all client and prospect interactions,” says Peter Callaghan, Chief Sales Officer, Maximizer Software. “For companies like Kenilworth, this level of productivity means more value for advertisers, more value for readers, and more market share for each publication.”
A great demonstration of efficient business operation and underlying technology or what Kenilworth calls ‘The Kenilworth Difference’, is the company’s success launching new ventures. In August 2005 the publisher launched, Jewelry Business – a new magazine for Kenilworth. In a short 18 months, the magazine has grown to dominate the market segment, despite its main competitor’s 125 year history.
Stable Company, Stable Product
The first version of Maximizer installed at Kenilworth was its DOS version installed in 1993. “I’ve been extremely happy with how stable each release has been over the years. Upgrades have worked really well out of the box,” says Rudy Kral. “Because we’re a small company with so much of our corporate intelligence contained within Maximizer, we can’t have too steep a learning curve for staff – including IT – when we do an upgrade.”
Maximizer integration partner, Indus Systems (www.indussys.com) in Markham, Ontario, has played an important part of the relationship between Maximizer and Kenilworth since 2003. Indus helped Kenilworth IT staff move their corporate data to Microsoft SQL Server while also upgrading them to the latest generation of Maximizer. “Indus Systems has been a dream to work with,” says Kral. Remarking on how Maximizer has helped Kenilworth grow and succeed, Indus Systems President Shahzad Mustafa says: “Maximizer has given Kenilworth the ability to run a high-performing and highly structured media and sales environment with efficient use of resources. Because Maximizer is so well integrated with the Kenilworth philosophy and workflow, new staff adopt the tool quickly, so training and support costs are low. Kenilworth is enjoying an excellent CRM system with a very low total cost of ownership.”
Interwoven with Company Philosophy
When new employees come to Kenilworth, they take a training course – a key component of this is a unit on Maximizer. Training is personalized to each new staff member’s particular department. For example, new staff in the editorial department see how the action planner can manage deadline-driven projects, while sales sees how Maximizer can help provide them with customer information as part of their workflow.
“We can get staff up to speed in Maximizer in about two hours,” says Kral, “This saves us money on training that would be required for more complex tools.”
Kral enjoys seeing new faces embrace Maximizer as part of making ‘The Kenilworth Difference’ – “You can’t force someone to use software, no matter how great it is. After someone uses Maximizer for the first time, it’s incredible to see the transformation. First they’ll balk, ‘Oh, Editors don’t use this sort of thing’. But, they’ll soon see how their peers use Maximizer to be better organized. They see how it allows their peers to do more work in less time. Soon, teams are sharing tips with each other. They see how to add notes, schedule events into the calendar, set reminders for phone calls, the works.”
“We have a saying at Kenilworth: ‘Say it to Max”, says Kral. “I hear it all the time. If a clerk is telling another associate about a call with a customer or advertiser, the associate will listen, and then respond: ‘Did you say it to Max?’ They mean: ‘Did you create a note for this in Maximizer?’”
“Maximizer is the corporate glue that holds our departments together. If I ever took Maximizer away, I’d have a mutiny on my hands,” remarks Kral.
Audit-Quality Customer Data
Maximizer has also been a strategic tool in Kenilworth’s growth by helping the company successfully pass the twice-yearly voluntary BPA Worldwide media audits. BPA audits ensure value for advertisers by ensuring magazines go to a real person at a real address, not just a wastepaper basket.
“We have a team of five that run our circulation department and maintain the ‘health’ and accuracy of our databases,” says Rudy Kral. “Thanks to Maximizer and its great record keeping, we met the audit requirements for BPA without hiring extra staff or moving to a different piece of software. And we didn’t want to – we believe we’ll continue to get the most value out of Maximizer by using it for all company-related information.”
Kral adds: “The quality of our databases is a benefit for our advertisers, and secured us more, better, bigger accounts. These dollars help raise the profile of our magazines, which helps us gain more market share from the competition.”
Less Lost Revenue
Maximizer allows Kenilworth staff to better monitor accounts, which saves money on lost advertising revenue.
“I’m a member of the Independent Publisher Exchange networking group,” explains Kral.
“At meetings, many discussed how their companies struggled with ‘bad advertisers’ and end up writing off losses when people didn’t pay. With Maximizer on our front lines, we’ve reduced lost advertising revenue to an unbelievably low .24%”. If someone calls up saying “I want to advertise” but the Kenilworth staff sees a “Take Cash with Order” note in this person’s record, they ensure the cash is received before the ad is placed in a magazine. This saves Kenilworth tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Improved Team Efficiency
“At Kenilworth, we believe in information gathering and sharing, and Maximizer allows us to push information to the front line where it’s needed,” says Kral. “There’s no longer information hiding in a file in a cabinet or an Excel spreadsheet. Our sales teams and circulation department people have what they need on hand, making them more self-reliant. They can manage themselves and manage the accounts how they want, not having to wait for someone else to look something up.”
Sales teams sell future ads in future issues. Maximizer is configured to pop up a message to the team member on specific follow up dates to contact the advertiser. As a result, ads arrive on time, in the correct format, and things flow smoother issue to issue.
“Our teams know using Maximizer puts money in their pockets. They’re more efficient – I’d say 20% more efficient at least among the Sales team for sure,” comments Kral. “For those compensated on closed sales and reaching certain incentive levels, this efficiency means more money.”
Return on Investment
“At Kenilworth, we’re crazy about publishing – and we like to partner with companies who have the same passion about what they do – companies like Maximizer,” comments Kral.
At Kenilworth, Maximizer has:
- Allowed staff to produce more, higher quality publications, more accurately, with less staff
- Helped company pass twice-yearly media audits
- Saved approximately $400,000 CAD in annual salaries. Kenilworth estimates they’d need 20% more people to perform the tasks they accomplish today because of Maximizer
- Reduced lost advertising income by over $19,000 CAD per year.
“Kenilworth is about more than just ink on paper,” says Kral, “We’re a technology company determined to produce high quality publications and maintain profitable, long-term customer relationships using the technology that’s available to us as cost-effectively and intelligently as possible. And, we’ve found a perfect match in Maximizer.”
Founded in 1989 in Richmond Hill, Ontario, Kenilworth Publishing is a full-service media company that publishes nine consumer and business-to-business print magazines in diverse sectors including jewelry, franchising, construction, chemistry, turf, and sign making. The company’s publications offer in-depth editorial analysis and offer interesting commentary on key industry issues. With sales balanced equally between US and Canada, Kenilworth Publishing and its 45 employees have and continue to grow a successful business, with projected sales for 2007 to hit $6 -$10 million CAD. Maximizer has been essential in improved team efficiency and making “The Kenilworth Difference” since its installation over 14 years ago.