Family: Married, 2 Sons
Industry Experience: Direct Marketing Industry for 26 years
BirthdayPak is an award-winning marketing platform that brings local upscale businesses together with their best customers. Through a powerful convergence of personalized direct mail and cutting edge digital marketing techniques, BirthdayPak effectively creates first time engagements with upscale businesses and an exclusive group of affluent consumers. What makes BirthdayPak even more appealing to businesses and consumers, is presenting the offers in the form of gift cards, not coupons, in such a way that protects the brand and image of both. BirthdayPak recipients are then encouraged to activate their gift cards online, becoming a member of our online community, opening the door to multiple digital marketing opportunities, effectively turning BirthdayPak into a powerhouse multi-channel marketing platform.
Since it’s founding, Paul Berman has been an essential partner in establishing BirthdayPak as a unique marketing platform for upscale businesses. Paul brings over 25 years of direct marketing experience and has valuable knowledge in financial planning, digital media, direct mail, and business development, which have contributed to the overall growth and success of BirthdayPak. In addition, Paul’s contagious enthusiasm and positive energy create the ideal culture for BirthdayPak employees and franchisees to collaborate towards a unified goal.
I have a degree in business administration from Oklahoma State University. I am from Philadelphia originally and Oklahoma State had the number one golf team in the United States. Coming out of high school, my plan was to be a professional golfer.
Past Roles in the Industry:
I was the President of a large direct marketing firm for 20 years before joining BirthdayPak in 2008.
What led to the concept of BirthdayPak?
The concept of BirthdayPak was originally developed by our cofounder, Michael Marchesani, and some other professional individuals in the direct marketing and advertising space. BirthdayPak was the convergence of print and digital media leveraging the use of a life event, such as a birthday. There were no other companies that were fully utilizing or thriving in the “Happy Birthday” business. We developed BirthdayPak in 2008 and launched in 2009. We then formed our company in June 2010 to fully prove and grow the concept. We grew it from 1 to 4 states and then decided to franchise in 2014 as our go to market strategy to develop BirthdayPak as a national brand.
Role as CEO of BirthdayPak:
My role is to develop and work with our internal team, which is production, marketing, and franchise development, as well as our franchise owners and their sales representatives, to develop BirthdayPak as a national brand. My past experience and skills are well suited for this, including my past role as financial manager. Being in the direct marketing business and managing 100 sales people over the course of my career has provided me with the skills necessary to do well and fulfill my role as CEO. Additionally, I am a member of the Entrepreneur’s Organization where I get fantastic amounts of cutting edge information on entrepreneurship. I am also an avid listener of business content and I get new ideas every day as a result of seminars, webinars, and books that I consume.
Managing and leadership style:
It is one of collaboration. I have learned that all the brains in the room are smarter than just one. You have to bring on the right people, trust them, and allow them to do their jobs. It is important not to micromanage, but to also hold individuals accountable. I also find it is critical to have clearly stated and reachable goals. Every individual on my team should be aware of both short and long term goals that are boiled down to very specific metrics that are measured constantly.
What or who has inspired those styles?
The Entrepreneur’s Organization and my mentor, who built a 1.2 billion dollar business. Having decades of experience being a serial entrepreneur and making many mistakes has certainly given me the ability to learn and grow from them.
What drives your passion for your company?
I love working. I get great enjoyment out of it and I feel so blessed to be able to work with the people within our company, both internally and externally. I feel a great sense of responsibility to them, their families and our brand to do the absolute best job that I can. I love the business of business. I have been in the birthday business for a long time, wishing happy birthday to people for over two decades. I always take the time to remember and make a personal call to wish a happy birthday; it was something that was always important in my personal and professional relationships. This company is truly a passion for me.
One of the things I often see entrepreneurs not do a great job at is abusing the flexibility of having your own business and not putting in enough hours. Entrepreneurship is not a 20 hour week; I’ll often put in 40 hours by Wednesday morning. Looking forward 6 to12 months, having clarity for what is coming, and being well prepared also drives my passion for continuous success.
What trends are you seeing in direct mail marketing?
Print is not dead and direct mail is alive and well. We all receive direct mail and marketing materials in print. People go to their mailbox six days a week and physically go through their mail. It is a very effective channel to get a business’s message out and BirthdayPak is the most effective convergence of print and digital media that we are aware of. I see many businesses chasing what I call the “digital rainbow” that is elusive, expensive, and conversion rates are low. I think that digital marketing is by far the most sophisticated area, but hard for many businesses owners to succeed at.
What makes BirthdayPak a Success?
BirthdayPak is a win-win-win proposition. The first win is the affluent females that receive a great birthday gift. Women love their BirthdayPak, whether it is a joyous or a difficult time in their household. We have had many women reach out to us who are overcoming an illness or other difficulty to thank us for sending them a BirthdayPak. It gives them a great reason to go out and enjoy a special meal, service, or gift. The second win is that our clients, primarily restaurants, tend to get excellent results. 2% response rates do exist with BirthdayPak and our primary goal is to make our clients money. Our product is helping restaurants, day spas, and other upscale businesses to flourish. I have been helping other businesses grow for two decades and BirthdayPak works more effectively than anything I have worked with before. The third win is our franchisees. They have invested their money in us and we feel a huge responsibility to provide the best support we can in order for their businesses to succeed.
What are you looking for in new franchisees?
The ideal franchisee is willing to work very hard to build something great. They have what we refer to as “grit” and they set big goals that they don’t give up on. Franchise owners bring to the table proven skills with a desire to sell. We also want to do business with good people, with a passion for our product that will lead to continuous growth.
How does working in the happy birthday or celebrating life business reflect in your work culture and personal life?
I’ve always been a “work hard, play hard” type of individual and I try to do a really good job at work-life balance. My passion is backpacking and I am currently on the Appalachian Trail. I have almost completed that journey of 2,189 miles and I have 200 miles left to go that I am scheduled to complete next year. As far as what drives me every day in business, it is an awesome fit for me to be in the life celebration business. One of our taglines is, “Celebrating Life’s Memorable Moments.” We all have a lot of memorable moments in our lives, birthdays being one of them, and it gives me great joy to extend birthday wishes across America and potentially to millions of people on an annual basis.
Part of our internal culture is also celebrating life. It would be contradictory for us not to celebrate internally as much as we extend so many birthday wishes externally. We have begun that in 2017 with celebrating birthdays with our employees and fun off-sites that are a great reason to get out of the office, have fun and continue to build culture. We will continue to build onto this as the company is more financially successful and we will be able to invest more with our internal customers, our employees, as well as our external customers, our franchisees and their sales representatives, to celebrate the life events that we all share together.
What are your short and long-term goals for BirthdayPak?
Our goal is to have successful franchisees in every major U.S. city in the next 24-36 months. We also have a small market strategy for towns with a large “foodie” culture and the restaurants that drive our program. We are working on the development of two digital products that are associated with BirthdayPak. As we expand nationally, we will be able to command the attention and secure the business of national accounts that can be represented both in print and digital. This will provide a lot more value to the affluent females that encompass our BirthdayPak community. My goal would be to deliver great value, at the right time, to the right audience with a national brand. Being able to utilize national accounts on a pay by performance basis is my vision for 2018 and the future.