Allen Press: New tech, marketing services keep commercial printer at forefront
For almost 85 years, in the face of evolving technology and the digital era, Allen Press has kept the presses rolling.
Founded in 1935 in Lawrence, Allen Press is a publishing and printing company of 175 employees that specializes in publication and commercial printing as well as scholarly publishing and marketing services. Its scholarly publishing unit creates, edits and prints scientific and academic journals for hundreds of nonprofit societies around the world.
With last year’s addition of a new in-house marketing agency, Allen Press has expanded its digital marketing and web development services to offer comprehensive strategies for clients.
“We do all our marketing and design in-house now, and we’re looking to repurpose that model for clients and publishers,” said Taylor Fulton, senior manager of marketing services.
The addition of a marketing team has positioned the company for sustainable long-term growth, according to Fulton. Allen Press provides what it calls a “full-service model,” which offers marketing, editorial and digital assistance in addition to its trademark printing, publishing and association management services.
This holistic setup allows the Allen Press team to do “everything under one roof.”
“A lot of publishers don’t have the staffing, resources or online presence they need,” Fulton said. “We’re hoping that we can help them with their website, social media channels, digital advertising and online publishing strategy.”
Within the industry, commercial print sales have increasingly ebbed as traditional publications transition to digital platforms. So what’s Allen Press’ secret to staying at the top of the market and growing the print business?
“It really goes back to our full-service model. We don’t just do printing or publishing—we’re the one-stop shop for all media needs,” Fulton said. “As publishers are facing those challenges, we’re hoping our in-house marketing agency can be a support area to provide those digital marketing services.”
Allen Press also implemented new state-of-the-art technology in 2018. Additions include two HP Digital Indigo 7900 presses–which give Allen Press heightened production flexibility in the press room–and the Tempo 22 stitcher, currently the fastest saddle-stitcher in the world.
The team also added a top-notch die cutter and foil stamper, which add high-tech finishes to products. When it acquired the Brause 1050SFi last spring, Allen Press was the first and only commercial printer in North America with that machine.
“We’ve added equipment that allows us to enhance our portfolio of products and services,” Fulton said. “If you went back three to five years ago, we were primarily a publication printer. Today, we’re a lot more diverse.”
‘NOT SATISFIED WITH THE STATUS QUO’
In keeping with its social impact statement, Allen Press contributes to community service efforts in and outside of Lawrence.
In addition to its nonprofit academic contributions, the company does pro bono printing and marketing work for small nonprofits within its local and industry communities. Sometimes, the team volunteers, contributes donations or hosts community events.
“What it’s chalked up to is we want to help change the world for the better through our services,” Fulton said. “We’re very growth-driven, and we’re not satisfied with the status quo.”
Moving into 2019, Fulton says the company hopes to promote its academic and scholarly services through this lens of social change.
“We try to proactively stay in tune with our culture and its values,” Fulton said. “There are far too many businesses that don’t understand the impact they have on culture and society at large; so we’re trying to do that in Lawrence as well as in the larger printing industry.”