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Key Idea: Do The Customer's Heavy Lifting

All strong companies try do the customer's heavy lifting. When they do it right they are rewarded with loyalty.  Friendly, fast moving teams at Modern Postcard help customers get what they want when they want it.

Key Question:


Make it easy for customers to buy from you and anticipate their needs.

How has this mind set moved Steve from the Iris Group generating just a couple of million in annual sales to Modern Postcard where revenues will soon top $40 million?

Steve has been thinking, "how do I lift a burden off the customer's shoulders?" since 1976. He was thinking about market share from his one-bedroom apartment. He was thinking about speed and quality and ease of use. He said he has always been more motivated to serve that to make money and that he learned about the power of a servant leadership style from his father.

To make doing business with Modern Postcard easy for the customer, first Steve pursued the digital workflow concept. This gave every customer a 23 x 7 relationship. And remember that he came into business young and energetic and offered his customer an incredibly low price but delivered quality and speed too. Now he has taken on the burden of list management and mailing services because he knew it would save shipping costs and time for the customers.

Q: What is the difference between being profit driven and being customer driven?

A: It is a mind-set or an attitude. You can probably get to the same results from either starting point but being customer driven creates a kinder, gentler workplace. It paves the way for building lasting and warm relationship with both customers and employees. It attracts a type of person who wants to work in a kinder, gentler place.

Think about the Pulitzer Prize-winning play by David Mamet, "Glengarry Glen Ross," that in 1992 was turned into the film starring Jack Lemon and Al Pacino. It is the story of a real estate company that is profit driven. As a result, one critic writes, "there is so little civility in the office and so few social skills it is probably due to the dog-eat-dog environment. Each salesman is pitted against the others for survival. The salesmen are willing to lie, cheat, steal, whatever it takes to make the sale. They are like animals in a jungle. It is not a shining example of humanity, salesmen or capitalism."

The corny-but-beautiful thing about Modern Postcard is, Steve and Jim are all about serving others. This starts with serving customers and spills over into serving employees. We asked Steve if he thinks being nice translates to the bottom line and he said, "yes."

Think about it

What can you do to stop thinking so much about money and start thinking more about serving? What actions can you take to be a servant to both customers and employees? What would your employees say if we asked them if your organization is profit driven or service driven?

Clip from: Modern Postcard

From 16 to 250+ employees

Carlsbad, California: Can an entire industry, the business of performance management, be reduced to a postcard? Can the deep study of kaizen and the work of business gurus like Peter Drucker be reduced to a link?  The quick answer is, "Yes." Visit Modern Postcard and meet Steve Hoffman and his team  producing over 100 million postcards a year for some 150,000 customers.

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Modern Postcard, Inc.

Steve Hoffman, CEO

1675 Faraday
Carlsbad, CA 92008

Visit our web site:

Office: 7604317084

Business Classification:
Printing, publishing

Year Founded: 1996

Do The Customer's Heavy Lifting

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Arnie Cohen is mailing services manager.

ARNIE COHEN: We decided to add mailing services, because it saves time and money for our customers.
First of all, if we're shipping the cards to them, they have to travel across country, and there's a significant expense associated with that. If they just leave it with us for us to mail it for them, it goes in the mail pretty much the same day that it would normally arrive to them when we ship it to them. So they're getting it in the mail a lot sooner, to their customers a lot sooner, and then, of course, the cost of shipping is eliminated, and we save them quite a bit of money overall.

ARNIE: (Voiceover) If a customer gets us a mailing list on the same day that they submit their order, we can print it in one day, and we probably can mail it the second day. We keep trying to come up with new ways and new things that we can do for our customers, ways that we can do it faster, quicker, better, things that they haven't thought of on their own and that the additional mail house isn't going to offer them. Our ability to think of this all under one roof and to come up with new ways to marry those technologies, both on the print and the mail side, is something that we've really emphasized, and something that really keeps us on the cutting edge.

HATTIE: Twenty thousand names an hour?

ARNIE: Yes. We can eject 20,000 names an hour on a postcard.

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