The Winning Combination: Publisher's Clearing House and FileMaker

You probably know Publishers' Clearing House best from its famous sweepstakes promotions -- and you've probably daydreamed about opening your front door to find the Prize Patrol waiting outside, ready to hand you the giant check that will change your life forever. But what you may not know is the careful thought that goes into each PCH mailing. It's a well-planned, highly-organized process -- and helping to keep it on track you'll find FileMaker Pro, the award-winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Business Challenge

The envelopes flow out in a steady stream -- colorfully printed, enticingly phrased -- to millions of potential customers. Publishers Clearing House has always been known for its value-priced magazine subscription offers, but it's also built up successful followings for a wide range of other products, from the famous range of Fuller Brush cleaning tools and supplies to unique collectibles. Whatever the product, targeted direct mail promotion remains the heart of PCH's marketing strategy. As Senior Vice President Debbie Holland explains, "FileMaker databases enable the company to effectively create multiple versions of direct mail packages with variable product and promotional offers suited to individual preferences, past purchase affinities, and specific regional requirements."

Successful Solution

The process begins in the Print Purchasing Department, where FileMaker databases are valuable tools in the solicitation of quotations from printers and paper suppliers. The PCH Print Purchasing Department then uses FileMaker to develop a budget, printing specifications, purchase orders, and other necessary documentation for each package. "Previously, this was all performed by means of four different computer systems, e mails, faxes, telephone calls, and meetings," recalls Senior Publishing Systems Administrator Evan Goldstein. "This required a significant duplication of effort because all of the tools the Purchasing Agents used didn't successfully communicate with each other. We needed a database to track and consolidate the many processes."

And so it was that FileMaker Pro came on the PCH scene in 1997. Evan and fellow System Administrator Lisa Roth recently re-designed the basic system, with the help of FileMaker Developer Chris O'Connor of the Tricon Group. "We would create a list of the steps required and Chris would come in about once a month and give us some tips," says Evan. "We saved a lot of money by developing the system predominantly ourselves and gained tremendous control."

The result? A smoothly-functioning FileMaker Pro system. Built around 18 databases containing more than 30,000 records, the system keeps the Print Purchasing Department on track, on time -- and under budget! "The department was able to cut three days out of their workflow for a package," declares Evan. "The system has improved accuracy thereby saving money by eliminating mistakes and has reduced production time." Vendors connect to the FileMaker system through Citrix MetaFrame -- to submit fast, accurate status reports on each pending job. "Previously the status report was sent in by each vendor once a week and consolidated in Excel," Evan explains. "FileMaker enabled us to eliminate this step -- it saved PCH and the vendors a lot of time, and made the information more valuable because it is always up to date."

Customer Benefits

For Publishers Clearing House, there's no question with FileMaker Pro on patrol, they have a winner all around!

Contact information

Contact Info for Customer:

Evan Goldstein
Senior Publishing Systems Administrator
Publishers Cleaning House

FileMaker Contact:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.

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