Innovation Spotlight: Baesman Group

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Baesman Group uses its reputation as a respected printing company to offer new data-driven services that companies now demand.

Tucked within a neighborhood of nondescript warehouses off Hilliard's Reynolds Drive is the headquarters of Baesman, a family-owned central Ohio company best known as a commercial printer since 1952.

Despite the permanence of the 63-year-old business, Baesman and its building are metamorphosing.

When current co-owners Rod and Tyler Baesman's grandfather, Richard "Dick" Baesman, founded his unassuming printing company, it's unlikely he could have imagined the shape it has taken today. As the brothers came on board with their father, Richard "Rick" Baesman, in the late 1980s, clearing $1.5 million a year in sales was healthy.

Fast-forward 30 years. CEO Rod Baesman and President Tyler Baesman have projected revenue to hit the $30 million mark in 2015.

Some of this growth can be directly attributed to an idea Rod Baesman conceived about eight years ago. He says he wanted to find a way to increase value in his printing business by cutting out the middle man.

"We would bid this (printing) job or bid that. I felt like there was one (design) person with a Mac who was the gatekeeper between me and millions of dollars' worth of work," says Baesman.

He wanted Baesman to fulfill not only printing needs, but the work going into creating what is produced.

It didn't take long for Baesman to realize that while many clients valued the new service, they weren't sure how they would pay for it. There was also the hurdle of Baesman being known strictly as a local printer, but not much else.

Jeff Sopko, president of Baesman's insights and marketing division, came on board in 2007. He was looking to put his interpersonal skills and data-based marketing background to use. The timing couldn't have been better.

"It took about a year and a half to get a good handle on what we wanted to do," says Sopko. Using market-driven data analytics, Sopko helped create Baesman Insights & Marketing, which captures customer data, analyzes consumer behavior and uses the results to create interactive marketing strategies.

Chelsea Penzone, director of strategic marketing for Stanley Steemer, says that since her company began using Baesman for corporate and franchise strategic marketing in 2013, Baesman has been like an extension of their marketing department.

"The spike in phone calls we receive on the days we (send customer) emails has just skyrocketed," Penzone says.

Insights & Marketing has quickly become indispensable to high-profile clients - like national shoe store chain Shoe Carnival, whose Baesman-modified loyalty program saw an increase of 47 percent in loyalty customer sales in just two and a half years.

Baesman admits he never envisioned what has transpired over the last six years, but he is quick to note Baesman remains a printing company.

"Our printing business is growing faster than the industry average," he says. In a nod to that growth, the 65,000-square-foot printing plant in Hilliard is receiving its first major renovation since its purchase in 1995. Baesman hopes the new atmosphere will attract younger employees.

Baesman also started performing as a fulfillment center as well. In another 100,000-square-foot warehouse a few miles away from Reynolds Drive sit thousands of marketing and display items ready to ship all over the world.

"Fulfillment has tripled in size this past year," Baesman says, noting that they've added L Brands as a client. The Insights & Marketing office is Downtown on Marconi Boulevard.

"We have a lot of capability to do so many things," he says. "We can do it all or we can do it piecemeal. We can wrap our arms around retail solutions across all areas."

Kelli Milligan Stammen is a freelance writer.

Baesman Group

Headquarters: 4477 Reynolds Dr. Hilliard43026

Owners: Rod Baesman and Tyler Baesman

Employees: 135

2014 revenue: $28 million

Business: Commercial printing and strategic marketing company offering signage and collateral production and worldwide fulfillment services.