Romax targets growth with high-profile appointment

Digital specialist Romax is to launch a premium photobook service and is targeting dynamic growth in its established direct marketing business following the appointment of former Inc Direct director Wesley Dowding.

Dowding joined the Greenwich-based, £5m firm in March as business development director. His appointment came after he he sold his stake in Inc Direct, PrintWeek's Cross-media Company of the Year in 2012 and a former Company of the Year, back to his co-founder Noel Warner last November.

"I left Inc because I ran out of energy for the business to an extent and I also fancied a fresh challenge," said Dowding.

He has been tasked with driving sales and marketing at the £5m-turnover company, primarily by expanding its client base beyond its traditional arts and charity homelands.

"We see huge possibilities from exploiting technological developments, such as cross-media, transpromo, photobook applications, augmented reality, security tracking and brand enhancement. With Wes’ experience, we hope to exploit some of these emerging market opportunities sooner rather than later," said Romax founder and chairman Robin Sumner.

Romax was founded in 1997 and is headed up by Sumner, company secretary Margaret Sumner and managing director Mark Calladine. Dowding has joined the board, but currently has no equity stake in the business.

"Romax has a huge amount of potential and to an extent is under the radar. It has some great clients with some interesting work, very much arts-based at the moment, but I think there’s the opportunity to expand that into other sectors, said Dowding.

The company also has a number of clients in the travel and events sectors, both of which are areas Dowding said the company is looking to grow its presence in.

"We certainly see expansion in those areas as a priority, but it’s also about breaking into new markets along the lines of telecoms and retail – and we’re having some encouraging conversations there," said Dowding.

"The market is certainly drifting back to print, perhaps not to the volumes of pre-2009, but I think people are recognising the value of print, and while emails are cheap, they don’t get the ROI and I think everyone knows that."

In addition, the company is also targeting a new consumer launch. The photobook service, Photoleaf, which was in development prior to Dowding joining the business, is set to go live next week and will be spearheaded by a national radio campaign.

"We’ve got high hopes for that. It's targeted at the high-quality end of the B2B and consumer markets," said Dowding.

Dowding declined to reveal too much detail on the new offering at this stage, but said that as well as a consumer offering, the company will look to roll out a white-label version of the service to holiday and events companies.

Romax is an all-digital house, with a Xerox iGen3, six mono lasers and intelligent enclosing line and a raft of post-press kit. However, Dowding said data handling was the company’s USP and as well as XMpie, GMC’s PrintNet T and The Software Bureau’s Cygnus it also has a "substantial" in-house data development team.

"In some respects, it’s a business similar to Inc Direct, just not with the focus on corporate clients, yet," said Dowding.