There's a great Dilbert comic where Wally says "I recommend we build a tracking database."
Dilbert replies "We could put it on the network!"
Pointy Haired Boss asks "Wouldn't you like to know what the problem is first?"
To which Dilbert says "We like databases."
I like databases too. All geeks do. So does Jeff Wood, the CEO and President of Integrated Marketing Technologies in Brunswick. He told a group of business owners at the John Carroll University Entrepreneur's Association that he started out by building customized databases for tracking and reporting on sales leads.
With his focus on the food and beverage industry, Wood soon found that his customers needed a lot of support in many area that he was more than willing to provide. So IMT started handling a variety of tasks for their clients such as eCommerce sites, Print on Demand and digital print services, handling specialized samples, B2B rebate fulfillment and so on. The customers didn't want to handle those tasks, or were not equipped to do it well, so Wood made it his business to do it efficiently for them.
An Inc article offered the following example. "Sara Lee Foodservice operations aren't designed to send 12 sample wings to a tavern near you. But if they hope to have that tavern offer their wings for sale, they need to do just that. And they need a method to follow up on (1) did the wings arrive in good condition with cooking instructions included, (2) did the salesman follow up on the sample, (3) did the tavern order more wings, and (4) what other menu items might the tavern offer that could be met through Sara Lee Foodservice products?"
Sure, Sara Lee or Clorox or Skyy vodka or any of IMT's numerous clients could handle these tasks but Wood helps them do what they do best and has built IMT to support the other tasks.
Wood says you have 3 choices. You can do tasks in house yourself, outsource to a 3rd party or in-source, that is, become a resource for your client's outsourcing.
Listen to Jeff Wood tell about your 3 choices in business
Wood asks his clients, "What keeps you up at night" and tries to find what they don't do very well and then takes on that burden for them.
Listen to Jeff Wood tell how he got in the sample business with frozen cookie dough.
As they kept listening to customers' needs, they created a new division that has become the faster growing part of their business by far: Print on Demand and digital printing. Did you know that about 60% of what their liquor clients printed got thrown away? Take a listen.
Listen to Jeff Wood tell how he got in to Print on Demand services.
So in many ways, IMT is a technology company. But the definition of a tech company is changing. Would you consider UPS to be a tech company? Maybe if you consider the technology that handles their logistics. But what about computer repair? Listen to this story Wood told about UPS and Toshiba.
Listen to Jeff Wood tell about UPS and Toshiba
So as a database guy, what are Jeff Wood's impressions of IT people? They had been using many languages and platforms including Java, PHP and MySQL before investing in the Dot Net platform. Listen to a business person's thoughts on hiring IT people. The compensation for programmers is high and they provide perks to their programmers. Listen to what Wood says "excites" their IT guys.
Listen to Jeff Wood talk about programmers and IT
IMT had their best year ever in 2009 and now employs 130 people in its Brunswick Ohio headquarters.
Listen to the Great Lakes Geek podcast featuring IMT CEO Jeff Wood
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