DM News' Deliver: Video Professor Learns a Lesson In Mailing

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Play the word association game with an average consumer, and some responses to "Video Professor" may refer to company founder/CEO John Scherer. In a classic case of branding, Scherer has come to personify Video Professor's appeal as the user-friendly solution to mastering computer skills. Along the way, Video Professor and Scherer have created the world's fastest-growing computer software tutorial company.


But if you ask direct marketers, their response to the word game may have more to do with business ... big direct mail business, thanks to 6 million customers and shipments exceeding 310,000 in the average month.


Behind the sheer volume of Video Professor's mailing requirements lies a business model that requires a unique approach to meeting its mail needs. Foremost of the challenges to its shipping partner, DHL Global Mail, was the ongoing "need for speed" given unpredictable volume.


Video Professor's what-you-see-is-what-you-do tutorials have provided home users and corporate professionals with user-friendly learning solutions for the most common software titles for nearly 20 years. The company has learned that getting the customer what he wants is job No. 1.


At the core of the business model is a 10-day product review policy, making it imperative to get the product into the hands of potential customers as quickly as possible. If a customer does not receive the order in a timely manner, she will not have enough time to preview the product. These customers will send the product back just to meet the deadline, resulting in a potential loss of hundreds or thousands of dollars in sales.


Video Professor sends most of its shipments via Smartmail Expedited Flats, which offers delivery within two to five days for flats weighing less than 1 pound. After the mail is picked up, it is sorted at one of DHL Global Mail's mail terminals. Then it is transferred within DHL's network to its destination postal facility and inserted deep into the mail stream. This process allows for greater control and tracking.


A direct relationship with the U.S. Postal Service, under the work-share partnership, lets DHL Global Mail get mail where it needs to go in a timely manner. This business model lets the solutions provider handle front-end processing and long haul delivery while the USPS focuses on the final-mile delivery. Mail and parcels sent to mail distribution centers near the final destination eliminate time-consuming steps, delivering a greater potential for cost efficiency and improved delivery times.


High-volume mailers like Video Professor have recognized the value to their business through improved management of mailing costs, increases in productivity, better customer metrics and strengthened customer relationships.


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