Quill Corporation | Company Profile, Marketing Contacts, Media Spend, Brands
The Quill Corporation, located in Lincolnshire, IL, is a distributor of office supplies. The company, a division of Staples, Inc., offers products that include office supplies, furniture and technology products through catalogs and online. ** NOTE: As a privately held subsidiary of a publicly traded parent company, annual revenue and employee count are not readily available. Therefore, the revenue and employee figures presented below are those of the parent company. **
|Main Telephone||(847) 634-6690|
|Main Fax||(847) 634-5816|
Quill Corporation ContactsContacts (5/6)
|Kayrle S.||Vice President, Sales & Marketing||IL|
Sample of Associated Brands
|Paul B.||Innovation Director||IL|
|Court P.||Customer & Category Marketing Director||IL|
|Theresa D.||Director, Digital Marketing||IL|
|Laurie F.||Marketing Director||SC|
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Office supply retailer Quill.com brings Dunder Mifflin paper to life
While the challenges fictional paper company Dunder Mifflin faces in NBC’s “The Office” to compete with office supply chains create a ton of laughs, they are in fact a reality for Staples-owned B-to-B paper seller Quill.com and the entire industry.
It also doesn’t help that sales within the $3 billion North American copy paper market have been declining about 3 percent per year, according to The Wall Street Journal, so it’s apparent why brand innovation in this category is so important.
Quill.com’s Chief Marketing Officer Sergio Pereira told WinmoEdge that finding opportunities to be innovative is exactly why the company struck a licensing deal with NBC’s parent Comcast Corp. to bring the Dunder Mifflin brand to life.
Dunder Mifflin-branded paper will be priced largely above private-label copy paper and feature packaging with well-known phrases from the comedy series like “Our motto is, ‘Quabity First’ and “Get Your Scrant on.”
“It really all came down to a business need,” Pereira stated. “There’s really been limited innovation in this area and we saw an opportunity to innovate in this category. Dunder Mifflin is a high equity brand; it has about 10 million followers on Facebook and about seven million people show up every week to watch the show. There’s an emotional connection that they have with ‘The Office’ and Dunder Mifflin.”
Pereira added that Quill.com approached NBCUniversal with this reverse product placement idea and it snowballed from there. Since Quill.com is focused on small-to-medium sized business, it will sell Dunder Mifflin paper by the case; however, NBCUniversal will feature individual reams on its site for consumer purchase.
Pereira said that while he expects Dunder Mifflin paper to be a major seller, the marketing value it has already and will generate is enormous.
“Look at what happen ended yesterday,” he expressed. “There have already been hundreds of articles written about us since the original WSJ article came out. And actually, Dunder Mifflin was trending in the top four brands as of yesterday. There’s a lot of drive here. We are one of the smaller names in the space, so this gives us an opportunity to really stand out.”
Our source said buzz like this is especially important within an industry that has been on a slow decline forced to change quite a bit. Quill used to be a very catalog intensive business, but now three quarters of its business – about 75 to 80 percent – is conducted through the Web.
“We still have catalogs, and they’re important for certain people, but their intensity is much slower,” Pereira acknowledged. “Both digital media and digital spending, SEM and SEO, have increased over the years.”
Being B-to-B, social media hasn’t played a huge role in Quill.com’s efforts, though the company does have more than 21,400 “likes” on Facebook. Our source said that he could see this changing, adding that Quill.com is working to find the right angles that make sense for incorporating social media more into the marketing mix.
“You can see from the Dunder Mifflin news how big social media can be,” he continued. “The day-to-day running of social media may not be as fruitful, but when you have big news it really makes a big impact. We know down the road that we need to be more involved in the social media place. Right now, we’re learning and eventually we’ll deploy it as a broader tool.”
Lincolnshire, Ill.-based Quill.com currently gears its social media strategy to stimulate conversations versus pushing sales.
“We keep it very conversational and want to talk with people versus using it as a commercial,” Pereira said. “It helps us establish the type of personality and tone that we want for the brand.”
Our source added that while the Dunder Mifflin name will help draw attention without heavy marketing spend, Quill.com does utilize paid media outside paid search.
Pereira said the company is advertising in Chicago right now through radio, billboards and media within the city’s METRA commuter rails and Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains.
“We have been expanding paid media slowly,” he added. “We started in three small markets, which led to other sampler markets and then Chicago. Next year, we’re going to add a few markets and keep expanding slowly. You have to balance your spending between the channels that have worked and the new ideas that you’re trying to test into.”
On the agency front, Chicago-based Staples agency roster too, including work related to Web, paid search and SEO, our source said.
Pereira said Quill.com prefers to reach out to agencies on its own as needed, especially since it works so closely with Staples, but the company is always open to innovative ideas that can set it apart.
“The Dunder Mifflin deal is a great example of what we’re trying to accomplish,” he said. “We’re certainly open to ideas beyond the norm. At the end of the day, 80 to 90 percent of the items we carry are already national brands, so we have to stand out. Office Depot and OfficeMax can’t carry Dunder Mifflin paper; it’s an exclusive deal with us.”
The only question that remains is, does Quill.com accept Schrute bucks or Stanley nickels?
With more than 65,000 products available online, Quill.com is the nation’s largest mail-order office supply retailer. The company has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Staples Inc. since 1998.
Nielsen reported that Quill.com allocated $227,000 towards advertising in 2010, most of which – about $175,000 – was spent on outdoor ads. An additional $5,100 also went towards spot radio ads.
100 Schelter Rd.
Lincolnshire, IL 60069
Chief Marketing Officer
Mike Patriarca (Assistant Kristie Fisher)