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Cathedral Corporation

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Cathedral Corporation plant tour




From its flagship printing facility in Rome, New York,


Cathedral Corporation turns out millions of documents a year.


Whether it's church envelopes or sophisticated business documents,


the company prides itself on its 100% accuracy guaranteed


made possible by a skilled staff and the latest in digital technology.


We're approaching our data center over here.


We accept data files 24-7.


As you can see there's a blue arc system in there.


It's a redundant service system so every day all of our


programs are backed up and push to our plant in Rhode Island


so that their redundant.


When data from a customer, say a bank or credit union,


arrives in this center it's tagged with a complete set of tracking IDs.


That information is compiled with other data to create


a comprehensive set of instructions for the job.


We call it the Bible. It's a whole record of that entire cycle.


That all happens and lives inside here.


In our print area we have two types of laser printing that we do.


We have cut sheet laser printing and we have continuous laser printing.


To meet the needs of its broad customer base,


Cathedral operates in an array of digital printers


each designed for a different job.


Cut sheet is an individual sheet of paper that we are printing on.


We have highlight color laser which is black toner,


plus a color very popular the credit community bank space,


where they're getting a color document


where they never had one before.


We also print checks, and we have the Xerox iGen3


which provides graphic arts quality laser full color imaging.


It runs more exotic stocks so it can replace offset printing.


And that makes the iGen3 suitable for everything from


transactional documents to the most vibrant full-color marketing brochures.


This is Cathedral's full variable color 980 by Xerox.


But the new kid on the block taking variable data


transpromotional printing to the next level, is the Xerox 980.


It's very, very clean, very quick, about 980 pages a minute.


Cathedral is among the first in the country to adopt this new technology,


the industry's fastest toner based full-color continuous feed printer.


We can do complete one-to-one direct marketing in full color.


We go in plain white stock, we come out completely printed


as well as perfed and cut sheet.


Here you can see the finished statements.


It's full variable color all of the graphics are put on the page.


All of the data is put on the page.


So it's a complete one-to-one variable marketing document in full color.


No job is complete until the right documents,


with the right data,


are put into the right envelopes and shipped.


These are our Pitney Bowes Flowmaster inserting machines.


What's basically happening is we're validating


every single page of the print stream.


We take a photo of it.


The machine make a decision whether it's in order or not.


Which it is.


Once they're validated they're accumulated here.


They get folded and then every six inches its validated


that that piece is were it's supposed to be.


It just keeps looking, keeps looking, keeps looking.


From there it comes down.


It gets inserted into the envelopes


We put live postage on them.


We actually have an in-plant postal person here.


We get almost instant delivery right out the back door.


The oldest part of the work that we do a Cathedral


actually grew out of the church offering envelope business.


We have several thousand customers that were producing


envelopes that were distributed all over the United States


and we produced them here in this facility


with many of the same quality controls that we have


in the business service side,


making sure that we have the right envelope,


the right perishoner in the right cycle.


They're then collated and inserted and presented


to the post office in our building


for mailing to the customers.


It doesn't matter the product line,


Cathedral offers a flexible solution based on


the customer's objectives.


We have the tools, we got the expertise,


that we can output virtually any configuration that they want.


What are your objectives?


What is it that you really want to do?


And then we'll come up with a solution for you.

Cathedral: Pioneers of Print and Mail

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Church envelopes, 1965

Cathedral Corporation delivers essential financial communication programs and direct mail to our customers. In our earliest days of providing fundraising and stewardship services for churches, we managed parish member lists and produced and mailed church offering envelopes. These envelopes were a vehicle for parishes to collect donations on a regular basis and helped the parishes reach their financial goals. For Cathedral, this strategy of managing customer data, producing mission-critical documents and distributing the documents in the mail continues today as one of the company’s core competencies. Cathedral continues to produce direct mail, both first-class and standard mail, in multiple industries including Financial Services, Healthcare, Religious Organizations, Municipal Entities and Utilities, Higher Education, and other Non-Profit Organizations. The company’s 100-year history of experience continues with the creation of customized and personalized print and mail in various forms - statements, invoices, explanation of benefits, church offering envelopes, direct mail letters, postcards, etc.

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Church envelope

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Sell card

Brief History and What We Do

The corporation dates from 1916 starting as a manufacturer of corrugated boxes, called The Columbia Corporation, eventually evolving into other “niche” products and markets using more modern paper-making equipment demanded by the market. Over time, management saw the need to diversify the business acquiring a company that produced offering envelopes that managed parishioner lists and mailed these offering envelopes directly to parishioner homes.

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Columbia Corporation article

Overtime, the paper-board part of the business was sold, however the print and mail part of the business became the strategic focus of the company. Along with the existing church offering envelope business the company expanded to offer data management services and other kinds of direct mail. For example, a church mailing of offering envelopes commonly went to only a partial list of the parishioners. A personalized direct mail letter to the remainder of the parishioners allowed the church to stay in touch to all parishioners. This strategy helps the church be more financially fit by providing other ways to receive offerings and in addition, and just as important, to stay in touch with all parishioners and increase parishioner involvement in the church. The stewardship direct mail program for churches became a proven and effective approach.

Future Success with Direct Mail

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Transaction mail

A natural evolution of managing customer data and focusing on member type groups, Cathedral Corporation started to diversify into other industry segments still focusing on core competencies which included personalized direct mail programs, high-quality production control and exceptional customer service. In the for-profit business segment, just like in non-profit, the customer data is used to create a more relevant experience and relationship. Transaction-type documents (bills, invoices, account statements, etc.) such as a credit union member statement shows monthly customer detail for that member’s financial account. These are mailed as first-class documents which are surely to be opened by the recipient. This transaction document, e.g. credit union member account statement is also a canvas to convey important member information and can include targeted advertisements. Thus, mass marketing was replaced with mass customization. In other words, marketing to each individual per month with the first-class mailing had a high-rate of being opened is now an opportunity to connect to the recipient in other ways to improve the member experience and to market to them using data intelligence. Over the years as capabilities of printing technology advanced, Cathedral has been able to go from black-and-white printing to the use of one-color and now full-color. Now with color and the use of data intelligence, the document being produced - whether in the non-profit or for-profit space - can be a more powerful tool to drive attention and response. This is also true with the outer envelope used to mail the document. The message on the outer envelope can be enhanced with the use of color and/or messaging to gain action from the recipient. Certainly the class of mail can also drive that attention. Financial documents must be mailed first-class with a high percent of them being opened and read. Other types of direct mail that are advertisements are sent standard rate is a signal to the recipient of being “junk mail”, however with the use of transaction data a more relevant mail piece can increase the likelihood the recipient will take action.

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Special Collection envelopes

The advance of electronic was embraced to supplement Cathedral’s print and mail capabilities as the market demanded its use. Though some print and mail may have shifted to online, our experience has found it to be a complimentary service needed in all industries. The same customer data we managed was now being formatted into an electronic format such as PDF and HTML. Though some transaction-based documents, e.g. bank statements, are being presented electronically, marketers are aware of research statistics that the most effective advertising offers need to embrace multiple channels - both electronic and in print. And we have found that print and mail is the most effective medium for direct mail advertising especially when it is highly targeted and timely.

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Box sets

Partnerships and Relationships

Just as important in delivering exceptional customer service to our clients, Cathedral created partnerships and relationships with key industry associations. The quest of sharing and learning industry best practices allows us to deliver exceptional service and ensure our client-base of the strict rigor needed for an optimal production environment - as required by industry regulations and delivering on our promise of guaranteed quality.

Early on, Cathedral developed a strong relationship with the U.S. Postal Office due to the ever increasing mail pieces being generated. The learnings and best practices in the mailing industry have been instrumental for the business. This involvement led to Cathedral being recognized as a Business Alliance Partner with the USPS. Our evolution of standard-class mailing services for church direct mail to its growth and integration of for-profit industry segment with first-class mailing services, quickly cemented the need of our company involvement with the U.S. Post Office throughout the years including leadership roles on the Postal Customer Council (PCC), Mailers Technical Advisory Committee to the Postmaster General (MTAC) and the Area Industry Mailing Focus Group.

Future Challenges

Today’s world requires fast turnaround, ability to respond to advances with technology, managing customer demands, and competitive pressures. Cathedral’s continued strategy remains focused on managing customer data for the production of customized direct marketing programs, high-quality production control and exceptional customer service. Our clients in all industries continue to have the need to deliver programs with return-on-investment that can be measured.

America’s Mailing Industry