In the Age of Information, brand exposure and visibility have meaningful implications.
Today, with the advancement of technology, media has evolved into a creative tool with the power to enhance the recall of every small or large business. Multimedia can be relied upon to deliver exposure to a variety of audiences, quickly ascending to unprecedented heights as a remarkably profitable industry. Leveraging the power of multimedia technology is MediaBlink™ (https://www.mediablink.com/), a leading commercial printer and direct mail juggernaut that’s focused on creatively reshaping the world of media.
MediaBlink was co-founded by a passionate duo, brothers Benny and Michael Burst, who built a foundation committed to long-term partnerships with clients by providing end-to-end solutions for interactive print, digital marketing and data. This foundation consists of core values that nurture an environment of integrity, accountability, and social responsibility, all of which are fundamental values that have defined MediaBlink’s tenure in the multimedia industry. While the company has come a long way, the journey to success was not an easy one.
In this exclusive article with CIO Views, Benny Burst shares a few of his insights and speaks on leadership along with a passion for media.
Necessity is the mother of all invention. That adage was the inspiration upon which MediaBlink was founded in 2002. The business began in a spare bedroom/office back when print advertising included inserts in the daily newspaper. At the time, they were a new company, and the business plan was simple: grow on the go. The Burst brothers’ development within direct mail printing was not initially part of the plan, but the opportunity came about when an outside vendor began doing business with competitors. The Burst’s solution (necessity begetting invention) was to do it themselves and do it better. From that point on, and throughout the years, MediaBlink has grown and expanded in response to an unanticipated yet rabid hunger for interactive print solutions.
A recent example of this growth relates to the inception of FaceShields™, a new division of MediaBlink. When COVID-19 hit MediaBlink’s home base of New Orleans with record cases and a critical personal protective equipment (PPE) shortage, the company pivoted to manufacturing face shield products as a donation-based effort. MediaBlink delivered cases of these comfortable, reusable FaceShield™ to a number of local operations including hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare clinics, grocery stores and police stations, amongst others. What began as an effort to be of aid within the community has spun into an essential e-commerce business. MediaBlink remains true to its original mission of donating a face shield for every five-pack box sold and, to date, has dished out more than 30,000 shields nationwide.
Challenges of a Rising Operation
In channeling the potential of MediaBlink’s operation, an initial obstacle for the Burst brothers was securing capital without a “track record,” so to speak. They were fortunate to find an institution willing to take the risk, and MediaBlink came through, proving true to their word by repaying a building loan several years earlier than required.
“When we launched MediaBlink in 2002, I am glad that I didn’t know 20% of small businesses fail in their first year, 30% in their second, 50% after five years and 70% in their 10th year. Because there were definitely challenges,” Benny recalls.
The company has also powered through other hurdles like the economic collapse of 2008 as well as this year’s pandemic, which has forced the company to reinvent itself in order to outwork competitors. Still, MediaBlink has surged steadily over the course of the last 18 years, adapting to changing needs in the industry and re-branding its identity to stay fresh and relevant. They’ve seen fruitful results by shifting their business approach.
MediaBlink’s Innovative Products and Services
MediaBlink provides interactive print, digital marketing, and data solutions. Always equipped with the latest multimedia technology, they take pride in being a one-stop shop that bridges the gap between companies and consumers. MediaBlink’s dynamic communication platform, Profit Miner™, allows clients to have direct contact with customers in a way that actually resonates. Profit Miner is a complete cross-platform targeted solution with a multi-faceted, results-driven workflow. It offers millions of algorithms to engage active buyers and identify untapped targeted audiences by demographics or geographics. Profit Miner meshes the print world with the digital world in one interactive application.
MediaBlink integrates print with digital media using a holistic platform of software applications like SMS messaging features, email, text, and social media marketing. They also have an advanced live-call center and can enable on-site check-in directly from the campaign media using QR technology. MediaBlink has pioneered data segmentation specialties, taking gross databases and breaking them down in greater detail to solve complex issues. MediaBlink is in a unique environment where data science is at the highest level. They are committed to using the latest technologies to improve the marketing footprint and identify higher qualified targets for their marketing. This allows them to present campaigns to a wide array of audiences.
MediaBlink leans heavily on innovation and constantly improving products to be the first to market on new technology. The company is dedicated to producing unique features that improve campaign performance for a better ROI.
The Role of a Self-Motivated Leader
Although Benny Burst’s background as Co-Founder and President of MediaBlink has been unconventional, it has proven to be the perfect training ground for his journey in the industry. After graduating from school, Benny became a commercial shrimper, transitioning to employment in the restaurant industry. He then became a regional sales representative for Moen, a Fortune Brands faucet and fixtures company. The 9/11 attacks were significant in his decision to get into business and, along with his brother, he launched their two-person advertising and direct mail business from home shortly thereafter. Fast forward to today, MediaBlink occupies a 60,000 square foot facility in New Orleans and employs nearly 100 dedicated people. Benny’s restaurant experience has taught him about customer service excellence, and his time at Moen defined the structure and values that still ring true. Today, Benny uses all those skills — coupled with an insatiable desire to educate himself — to lead MediaBlink.
Benny’s role at MediaBlink is two-fold. For the employees of the company, he often plays a head coach role, overseeing an award-winning team of professionals, developing schedules, and employing strategies that have consistently led to positive outcomes. “For our customers, the buck stops with me. I strive to not only be available, but also fully equipped to provide solutions and answer questions,” says Benny.
He believes that it’s critical to stay motivated, hence why the company uses a variety of tactics to ensure employees stay fresh and are incentivized to be client service leaders. The longevity at MediaBlink is incredible, which happens because they reward performance, promote from within and cross-train team members who are seeking new challenges within the company.
“We also believe that you can be an innovator or problem-solver regardless of your role or job description. Someone from the accounting department might offer a cost-saving solution for shipping, while a proofreader might offer video editing skills for projects. This creates an energy fueling the “whole” and preventing the stagnant business-as-usual rut,” Benny adds.
Innovation Remains Consistent for a Brighter Future
MediaBlink has expanded its operation beyond New Orleans to include a satellite office in Detroit, Michigan, where two recent hires are tasked with business development, client growth and national expansion. The company looks forward to using its digital marketing and direct mail expertise in the automotive space to grow their business in conjunction with the transportation industry and beyond.
MediaBlink’s extension into PPE products has shown promising growth as COVID-19 continues to ravage the U.S. while dictating use of protective barriers. Organizations explore how to stay viable while still protecting both employees and customers. MediaBlink has team members responding to national inquiries for FaceShields as well as marketing FaceShields around the country.
When they began their business in 2002, newspaper inserts and 8 1/2” x 11” flyers with address labels were successful marketing tools. However, they’ve come a long way. MediaBlink’s ability to grow is directly correlated with their capacity to innovate and present fresh, modern, and effective solutions for clients. “Innovation is the key. And without it, your business is a dinosaur. Extinct.” says Benny.
MediaBlink’s goal was to create a company that married enduring values with radical invention. And those enduring values — like trust, timeliness, consistency, commitment — are hallmarks of their operation. With those values, MediaBlink strives to be a bit “old school.” A handshake (or a fist bump) can seal a deal. ‘Word is bond’, as they say.
It’s a shared value system that fosters the freedom to explore new ideas, suggest fresh products or create new pathways. For MediaBlink, customer service is paramount to this system. Delivery personnel have recognized the unique culture at MediaBlink. Customers have commented on the positive workplace atmosphere. And while the company’s team of innovators and A-gamers is assembled with a variety of skillsets, there remains a commitment to these shared beliefs. MediaBlink has always been fast-paced, but the company’s core values are what keep them grounded and make them the best in the business.