36 Years In Direct Mail Marketing Evolves
into an Interactive Direct Mail Marketing Association
Many of you may know DJ Stubben, who has been the owner of Welcome Pardner for the last 36 years, to be a tiny little powerhouse full of spunk, humor and faith. DJ started out at Ad Image an advertising agency in Amarillo. Her training there went from reception, accounting, copywriting, typesetting to production. DJ’s knowledge of advertising, marketing and consulting is vast as she has also worked in various departments in radio with KGNC and KDJW.
After much drama with the previous owner, DJ bought Welcome Pardner in 1981. At the time it was a “newcomer” mail out of about 50 per month. The major premises that Welcome Pardner kept from the previous owner was for their coupons to have no expirations dates, because that creates negative marketing, and to acquire quality businesses to partner up with. DJ brought on a friend of hers, Danella Davis, who worked for Pioneer Natural Gas (now Atmos Energy) to help her with sales. It was at this time that as DJ put it, “I put it on what was called a computer, which nobody had except the banks and utilities companies, so we felt fancy.”
DJ was told she had to get her mailings up to 225 in order to qualify for bulk mail, so she got with the credit bureau and began mailing to new residents. Today, between 400 and 600 folks receive the Welcome Pardner Residential Package each month.
It is mailed to newcomers, parents of newborns, newlyweds, engaged couples, anniversaries, birthdays, baptisms, special honors for Amarillo, Canyon and surrounding areas… all occasions to tell someone “Welcome Pardner!” In addition, they will also distribute advertising materials (with your permission) at trade shows and club meetings around the area. Welcome Pardner pays non-profits to stuff their envelopes each month as a fundraiser.
In 1982, a carpet cleaning client, Roger Thomas, said the mailings were working well for him. However, he wanted to increase his demographic by reaching potential clients at their offices. He suggested the Business to Business Mailing. DJ offered him Industry Exclusivity for his idea, and would grant this to other businesses (except restaurants, non-profit organizations, and events) and mail once a quarter, as the residential mailing kept Welcome Pardner so busy every month. Today, Welcome Pardner mails to over 7,000 general business people in January, April, July and October. Each client provides their own insert to fit into a #10 envelope. They do have printers who give wholesale prices to their clients! This mailing is also stuffed by various non-profits.
In 1993, Cathy Barnum (who was a client, representing PPO in the residential mailing), said she was opening a business of her own.
She wanted to reach a target audience: Medical/Healthcare. Hence, the Medi-Education mailing was created to be mailed quarterly, following the months of the Business to Business Mailing. Today, the Welcome Pardner Medi-Education Mailing is sent to approximately 7,000 Health Care and Education Professionals each issue for February, May, August and November. This mailing is also stuffed by various non-profits.
In 1994, Beverly George, a Welcome Pardner staff member, said that we had represented all of the audiences except the #1 industry in the area: Ag!
Renowned disc jockey, Dugg Collins, brought over the data supporting TCFA and AQHA members, which has grown over the years. It was decided to mail it quarterly, the month after the Medi-Education program. The Agricultural industry is vital to the economic success of our region. Welcome Pardner’s Agri-Industrial Mailing tells approximately 7,500 people what you offer every March, June, September and December.
Jim Johnson, a staff member who set appointments for DJ for 20 years and called her a “wheeler/dealer”, became ill and ended up at the VA hospital. So in October of 2016, a resume came through to DJ from one of the subscribers of her e-blast. Toni Schumacher left a job she loved with a boss she didn’t and came on a panic attack after being without a new job or interview for 2 weeks. She prayed for a job with a Christian company, a boss she loved, doing what she loved and she prayed to hear of something by that next Tuesday. She then received a called from DJ for an interview on Tuesday. Both women know that God runs Welcome Pardner and they are blessed to carry out God’s intentions for their company. Toni became known as DJ’s “handler” once she realized Toni was excellent on the phone, shared her passion for God, and got her quirky sense of humor.
Welcome Pardner has moved way beyond just direct mail and now describes their business as an “interactive direct mail marketing association”. DJ says God added a new word to their business description each year as they grew. DJ wakes up at 2:30am every weekday and personally puts together the e-blast that is emailed to approximately 2,500 recipients daily. They also have the Welcome Pardner website with a business directory and a community calendar on it, a brand new APP, all of their direct mail products and their monthly networking breakfasts.
During our sit down with DJ, we learned that DJ was brought to Amarillo from Clovis in a shoe box (they didn’t have baby carriers), she plays the piano, she used to do stand up at Jolly’s Comedy Club here in Amarillo and she has a true passion for God and the “pardners” she is blessed to come in contact with today and throughout the years. When you become a “pardner” with DJ and Toni and Welcome Pardner, you truly become partners in marketing your business!