Printing Beyond Borders
PRESIDENT DWIGHT D. Eisenhower had a dream of developing a program that would promote international understanding and friendship. So in 1956, Eisenhower founded People to People, basing the organization on his idea that direct contact between ordinary citizens from different parts of the world can encourage cultural understanding and world peace. Eight U.S. Presidents have served as the honorary chairman of People to People International. Since it's inception, People to People Ambassador Programs, based in Spokane, Wash., has served as People to People International's global educational travel provider. It is responsible for organizing and promoting travel opportunities aimed at bridging cultural and political borders by providing interaction, access and unique experiences. Its Marketing Production Systems department is charged with the task of recruiting and retaining students, athletes, educators and professionals interested in educational travel opportunities.
"95 percent of our business is generated by direct mail," says Greg Marcinkowski, vice president of Marketing Production. "We are driving some of it to the Internet, but we are going to continue to get more sophisticated with our direct mail programs."
People to People Ambassador Programs has offered travel opportunities for nearly 50 years, boasts more than 400,000 alumni, and has destinations on seven continents. In 2008, more than 40,000 delegates traveled to 49 different countries. The company relies on its in-plant to send its message to thousands of clients per year.
"We create various letters sent to delegates, which includes letterhead artwork that coincides with the campaign," explains Kristi Veale, communication set-up supervisor. "We could have up to several hundred different letters with variable data."
People to People employees believe that educational travel is always going to be popular and serves a vital function; however participants have to have some disposable income to take part.
The downturn in the economy has caused People to People to become more diligent and aggressive in securing new contact names. Still, even as the company has seen a drop off in travelers, the number of direct mail pieces the in-plant is sending out has not changed.