The color demands and paper stock expectations were at an all-time high. Without hesitation, our trusted print vendor, SG360°, invited the client on site for a day of print tests, leading a hands-on exercise in finding the right answer. Without such support and flexibility, we wouldn’t have been able to meet the client’s needs with such success. It’s instances like this that led us to grant SeQuel’s third-annual David Forster Vendor of the Year Award to SG360°.

As a valuable SeQuel supplier for the past three years, SG360° was actually a finalist for the award last year.

“This year, they took the next step in elevating themselves to be an extended partner to SeQuel,” said SeQuel’s Director of Purchasing, Jason Smith. “The supportive culture that they allow us to lean on is second to none. We couldn’t be the company we are without them.”

The award is named for David Forster, who worked with his mother, Sandy, at Little Pepper Promotions, which supplies SeQuel’s branded clothing and gifts. In June 2016, David passed away unexpectedly at age 27 while training for a marathon. Doctors later discovered that David had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that was likely caused by an unknown virus.

SeQuel awards a vendor partner each year in David’s honor. The winner is selected from SeQuel’s roundup of over 160 vendor partners, highlighting the one that best displays concerted effort, integrity, proactivity, creativity and unselfishness.

David Forster, whose memory is honored by SeQuel’s annual Vendor of the Year award.

 

 

“We are pleased to formally honor the memory of David Forster, who himself demonstrated all the qualities we look for in an exceptional partner – to such an extent that he inspired the launching of this meaningful award,” explained SeQuel Co-Founder and CEO Jay Carroll.

Ted Gaillard, Executive Vice President of Sales at SG360°, spoke about how honored his team was to accept such a distinct award.

“Any time you get recognition, it’s special,” he said. “But [connecting] it to David’s memory meant that much more to us.”

Over the years, SeQuel and SG360° have become true partners in success. While SeQuel relies on SG360° to fully realize client needs, SG360° knows that meeting SeQuel’s specifications means that, by extension, they’re fulfilling the end client’s requirements. As such, SG360° plays an essential role in SeQuel’s ability to find and implement winning combinations.

“The word ‘partnership’ is thrown around loosely in this industry,” Gaillard said. “But it’s always a true win-win for both organizations. We’re not hesitant to support what has turned out to be a truly collaborative relationship.”

Smith admitted that some of SeQuel’s demands can be quite strenuous but praised SG360° for never blinking an eye at any of them. Whether it be condensed schedules, limited budgets or clients with tough demands on color and stock quality, SG360° was able to perform.

“Their ability to turn out work flawlessly month after month was second to none,” Smith said.

As part of the annual award, SeQuel makes a donation in David’s name to a charity of the Forster family’s choosing. This year, the gift will go to The Basilica of St. Mary’s Shoe Ministry to fund donations to Minneapolis residents in need.

“The David Forster Vendor of the Year Award is one of the most important recognitions we give out each year. We relish this chance to celebrate the supplier that has delivered on an elite level over the last 12 months,” said Carroll. “The folks at SG360° had plenty of competition with our numerous other faithful partners, but they consistently served us beyond the norm and acted like a true extension of our agency.”

Through their partnership, both SeQuel and SG360° will continue to grow as independent companies vested in each other’s success. For now, celebrations are in order.

“To be part of the legacy of this award certainly means a lot to SG360°,” said Gaillard.

To learn more about how you can support The Basilica of St. Mary’s Shoe Ministry, click here.

Left to right: Jay Carroll, Jason Smith, John Wallace, Ted Gaillard, Bill O’Brien, Rob Arnold and Paula Phipps.

Direct mail and digital marketing agency SeQuel Response announced today that it added more talent to its data department, accelerating the growing company’s ability to help brands reach more of their best prospects in a shorter period of time.

Yuemin Xu joins SeQuel Response as a Data Analyst, a role in which she will manage large datasets, create reports for clients’ marketing efforts, translate data, analytics and insights into strategic recommendations for clients and maintain sQoreboard, SeQuel’s proprietary online analytics tool.

“With Yuemin on the team,” said James Fussy, SeQuel’s Vice President of Data & Analytics, ”we can process match-backs, build models, deliver reports and update dashboards at an even faster rate. This increased speed and efficiency allows our clients to be more accurate and nimble in their targeting.”

Extending its capacity further affords SeQuel the ability to run multiple analyses at the same time and make adjustments on the fly. The agency also plans to utilize Xu’s programming skills to automate in-house processes, which will allow them to run tests and deliver results to their clients at an accelerated pace.

Chosen from a pool of nearly 300 candidates, Xu comes to SeQuel with a strong data science and research background. She worked as a research assistant on numerous database marketing projects while earning both a bachelor’s degree in statistics and a master’s degree in data science from the University of Minnesota. She was also a Data Analyst Intern at Lenovo, where she played a key role in various data management initiatives.

“Xu is extremely bright and talented, and we appreciated her genuine and honest disposition during interviews,” Fussy said. “We feel she will fit in seamlessly within the SeQuel culture.”

Fast-growing direct response advertising agency SeQuel Response announced today the hiring of a seasoned print production and digital marketing expert to further optimize the effectiveness of client campaigns.

Erica Templeton joins the direct mail and digital marketing firm as Senior Account Manager, a role in which she will manage all aspects of clients’ direct marketing efforts, paying special attention to streamlining SeQuel’s campaign planning, cross-channel execution and client communication.

“As our clients’ multichannel programs continue to grow in scale and complexity, it’s even more critical that our account managers lend not just an organizational eye to these efforts, but a proactively strategic one” said SeQuel’s Co-Founder and CEO, Jay Carroll. “Erica’s intimate knowledge of both direct mail production and digital marketing will provide our clients with another day-to-day contact who possesses a strong level of technical expertise. Erica has a glowing reputation in the industry, and we know our clients will enjoy working with her.”

Templeton brings with her more than a decade of experience in various marketing disciplines, including branding, digital strategy, project management, print production and purchasing, most recently playing an integral role in procurement efforts at Life Time Fitness. The Rochester Institute of Technology graduate also holds a degree in New Media Publishing and Printing Management.

“I’m grateful that my diverse background in multiple areas of marketing strategy helps me clearly see the ‘big picture’ and best align all aspects of a campaign with the client’s goals,” Templeton said. “SeQuel has an amazing group of talented and driven individuals, and I’m thrilled to be a part of this team.”

SeQuel, which launched in Eden Prairie, Minn., in January 2010, finished 2018 with $38 million in net sales and has grown by an average of 52 percent per year since its inception, a nearly unprecedented feat in the agency world. The firm has now appeared on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. in five consecutive years, putting SeQuel in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

Direct marketing agency and five-time Inc. 5000 honoree SeQuel Response announced today the hiring of a former Fortune 100 finance leader with a proven track record for steering high-growth companies through seasons of rapid revenue scaling.

Jody Johnson joins the fast-growing advertising firm as VP of Finance, a role in which she will drive strategy for enhancing SeQuel’s business processes, placing a special emphasis on scalability.

“As our clients continue to increase their marketing spend with our direct mail and digital marketing campaigns,” said SeQuel’s Co-Founder and CEO, Jay Carroll, “our financial strategies and workflows need to accommodate and outpace our clients’ ever-increasing investments. Jody has played a critical role in helping numerous companies navigate these challenges with excellence, and we’re thrilled to have her aboard.”

Johnson brings more than a decade of experience in various financial leadership roles at organizations such as NovuHealth, HealthFitness, Convey Compliance Systems and CHS, a Fortune 100 company based in the Twin Cities.

“I’ve seen up close what it takes to bring organizations in a variety of industries to the next level,” Johnson said. “Change is constant, and in this always-evolving advertising space that we live in, SeQuel has thrived. The way their experts use digital targeting to augment their proven direct mail methodologies is truly cutting edge, and it’s no wonder their clients have enjoyed such dramatic success.”

SeQuel, which launched in Eden Prairie, Minn., in January 2010, finished last year with $31.7 million in net sales, marking three-year revenue growth of 88 percent. The agency has now appeared on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S. in five consecutive years, putting SeQuel in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

For the fifth consecutive year, a national business publication today named SeQuel Response to its list of the fastest growing private companies in the U.S., putting the direct mail and digital marketing agency in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

“Of the tens of thousands of companies that have applied to the Inc. 5000 over the years, only a fraction have made the list more than once,” said Inc. Media’s Editor in Chief, James Ledbetter, in a letter to SeQuel’s leadership. “A mere one in ten have made the list five times.”

SeQuel, which launched in Eden Prairie, Minn. in January 2010, finished last year with $31.7 million in net sales, marking three-year revenue growth of 88 percent.

“We’re very honored to be recognized on this prestigious list for the fifth consecutive time,” said SeQuel’s Co-Founder and CEO, Jay Carroll. “But more than that, we’re excited that our clients are growing so rapidly via direct response media that they are continuing to make greater and greater investments in these channels.”

For example, when a major player in the financial services industry had maxed out all of its digital growth opportunities, the brand’s leadership tapped SeQuel to find added scale through direct mail. In the first year of the campaign, direct mail generated tens of thousands of new customers for the client. Today, the channel drives one-sixth of the client’s new business, achieving a campaign ROI of 39x.

“SeQuel opened the door to an entirely new revenue channel for us and held our hand through every step of that journey—they’re truly an extension of our internal marketing team,” said the client’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Thanks to SeQuel’s proven direct mail strategies and insights, our brand is enjoying explosive growth. SeQuel’s performance and service model are the gold standard, and SeQuel is now the benchmark by which all of our current and prospective agency partners are measured.”

The firm this year also climbed to No. 6 on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal’s list of the largest advertising agencies in the Twin Cities.

SeQuel Response announced today the hiring of a talented researcher and marketing analyst whose insights will help consumer brands quickly unlock their next level of growth and profitability via the direct mail channel.

Preston Carroll joins the multichannel growth agency as a marketing strategist, a role in which he will drive strategy for all aspects of clients’ direct mail programs, including marketing research, testing structure, audience targeting, offer development, creative concepting, print production, postal optimization, digital advertising integration and performance analytics.

“It’s an honor to become part of such a talented and research-driven team,” said Carroll, who holds a degree in economics from the University of Minnesota. “I can’t wait to join them in helping growth-hungry consumer brands launch and rapidly scale their direct mail campaigns.”

Carroll previously served on the behavioral health marketing team at Optum, a leading health services business under the umbrella of UnitedHealth Group. There, Carroll’s exhaustive market research and competitive analysis fueled marketing strategy for behavioral health applications aimed at Fortune 500 companies.

“We’re growing at an exciting clip,” said SeQuel’s Chief Marketing Strategist, Erik Koenig. “As more and more growth-oriented brands, particularly those in the subscription space, are realizing the critical role that direct mail plays in new customer acquisition efforts, we need additional keen analytical minds like Preston’s to help these brands optimize their performance even faster.”

Last year marked SeQuel’s fourth consecutive appearance on the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country, putting the direct mail and digital marketing agency in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

Direct mail and digital marketing agency SeQuel Response announced today that it has promoted Wenqiuli Zhang to Director of Data Science, a role in which she will help clients better target likely buyers and rapidly expand the scale of their campaigns.

Zhang will be tasked with analyzing clients’ customers in greater detail and in real time, and building models that can quickly find more consumers who share various traits and behaviors with people who have already made a purchase—a process also known as predictive analytics.

“I will be tracking campaign performance and adjusting audience selections continuously,” Zhang said. “That will help us be even more precise and timely in our targeting, so that we can get client offers in front of the best prospects even more rapidly and at higher volumes. Our clients will be able to scale their campaigns and grow their brands faster and more affordably than ever.”

Zhang’s promotion is the latest move in the multichannel growth agency’s recent push to dedicate added internal resources to analyzing audience trends and quickly generating actionable performance insights for clients.

Prior to joining SeQuel as Marketing Analytics Manager in June 2016, Zhang worked as a data scientist in the banking, health care, and retail industries. She holds two master’s degrees: one in economics from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and a second in business analytics from the prestigious Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

“Wenqiuli’s contributions in her short time at SeQuel have been truly amazing,” said James Fussy, SeQuel’s Vice President of Data & Analytics. “She is driven, dedicated and tenacious, and she is a consummate team player. Most importantly, her remarkable instincts make us nimbler and smarter in the way we invest our clients’ marketing dollars, so that we can maximize their growth and ROI as quickly as possible.”

Last year marked SeQuel’s fourth consecutive appearance on the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., putting the firm in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

Direct marketing agency SeQuel Response announced today that its second annual David Forster Vendor of the Year Award will go to KBM Group, a global leader in database marketing solutions.

“In addition to providing SeQuel with high-performing direct mail audience data in 2017, KBM also helped enhance our digital retargeting efforts, and even provided training to our model-building team,” said SeQuel’s Vice President of Data & Analytics, James Fussy. “KBM builds the best models in the industry, hands down, and they have truly gone above and beyond this year to help us take our clients’ performance to the next level.”

SeQuel’s VP of Data & Analytics, James Fussy (left), presents the second annual David Forster Vendor of the Year Award to KBM Group.

 

The award is named for David Forster, who worked for his mother, Sandy, at Little Pepper Promotions, which supplies SeQuel’s branded clothing and gifts. David passed away unexpectedly at age 27 while training for a marathon in June 2016. Doctors later discovered that David had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that was likely caused by an unknown virus.

Each year, SeQuel plans to give the award to the vendor partner that best displays the values that SeQuel’s team observed in David on an unwavering basis, namely his effort, integrity, proactivity, creativity and unselfishness.

“We are greatly honored and humbled to be recognized, especially in the name of David and the values that he exhibited, and the values that SeQuel exhibits,” said Dave Sharpe, KBM Group’s Vice President of Data Services. “SeQuel’s values are reinforced in every interaction we have with their team. We’re very thankful for this partnership that is helping our businesses grow, both independently and together.”

SeQuel employees submitted numerous nominations for this year’s award, recognizing many of SeQuel’s more than 160 vendor partners who went above and beyond the call of duty in 2017. SeQuel’s management team ultimately selected KBM from a group of four finalists, which also included American Spirit Corporation, SG360°, and TechGen Consulting.

“None of our success as a company would be possible without our incredible group of vendors,” said Jay Carroll, SeQuel’s Co-Founder and CEO. “It’s a tremendous honor for someone to say that you embody the character traits of someone as special as David Forster. KBM is living up to the extremely high bar that David set for our vendors, and I know that our employees are constantly striving to personify those same values as well.”

David Forster, who worked at Little Pepper Promotions, a family-owned supplier of SeQuel’s branded clothing and gifts. David passed away unexpectedly at age 27 while training for a marathon in June 2016. Doctors later discovered that David had myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that was likely caused by an unknown virus.

 

As part of the annual award, SeQuel will make a donation in David’s name to a charity of the Forster family’s choosing. For the second year in a row, that gift will go to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, to fund myocarditis research. Following in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Priority Envelope, KBM also made a donation to the heart institute in David’s memory.

“We’re so grateful that you would think to honor our son David in this way,” Sandy Forster said. “Your generous donations are funding very important research, and we hope that these types of studies might help build awareness among physicians, parents and young athletes, so that they can begin knowing the warning signs and identifying myocarditis before it’s too late.”

To discover ways you can support the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation, click here.

SeQuel Response announced today that its recently promoted Vice President of Data & Analytics, who has nearly 20 years of database marketing expertise, will spearhead some significant advancements in the multichannel growth agency’s targeting capabilities.

James Fussy becomes VP of the firm’s data department, which will now build models and perform address-hygiene maneuvers in-house. The moves are the latest in the company’s recent push to dedicate added internal resources to analyzing audience trends and quickly generating actionable performance insights for clients.

“Internal model building and data hygiene will help us be more proactive and get our clients’ offers in front of more of their best prospects during that critical window of time in which they’re most likely to make a purchase,” said Fussy, who had previously served as SeQuel’s Director of Data & Analytics. “By interpreting results at the variable level in real time and adjusting model selections on the fly, we’ll be nimbler and smarter in the way we invest our clients’ marketing dollars.”

The direct mail and digital marketing agency is also making key upgrades to its proprietary online analytics tool, known as “sQoreboard.” SeQuel clients will now be able to dissect their campaigns’ performance by age, income, net worth, interests, and countless other segments. Clients can also choose to receive updated performance dashboards via email on a monthly, weekly or daily basis.

“We will be overlaying core demographic variables onto our clients’ mailings,” Fussy said, “allowing us to analyze our clients’ customers in greater detail, and quickly find more consumers who share various traits and behaviors with people who have already made a purchase. That will lead to more precise data selection and improved future performance.”

Fussy’s extensive database marketing background also includes a more than 13-year stretch at North American Membership Group, where he ascended to Associate Vice President of Membership Marketing. In that role, Fussy drove strategy for all new-member acquisition mailings, which generated $85 million in gross revenue per year.

“Under James’ direction, we will take our targeting capabilities to the next level,” said SeQuel’s Chief Marketing Strategist, Erik Koenig. “We can’t grow as an agency unless we’re helping our clients grow, and the single most important factor in determining how rapidly you can acquire new customers … is whether you’re targeting the people who are most likely to buy what you’re offering.”

Last year marked SeQuel’s fourth consecutive appearance on the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., putting the firm in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

SeQuel Response announced today the hiring of a top-tier business development talent with over a decade of experience as an adviser on direct marketing campaigns for some of the nation’s largest consumer brands.

Josh Blair joins the multichannel customer-acquisition agency as Director of Business Development, after spending the past 12 years working for national direct mail production juggernaut Japs-Olson Company.

“My exposure has given me a unique perspective on innovative ways to help marketers reduce costs, improve speed to market, maintain their brand and grow sales,” Blair said. “SeQuel’s cutting-edge testing methodologies are setting the pace industry wide for attacking those goals as aggressively and cost-effectively as possible. You just can’t ignore SeQuel’s track record for success.”

Blair’s production and postal optimization strategies have helped clients in numerous industries, including financial services, insurance, nonprofit, telecommunications, retail, computing, manufacturing, and various other verticals. He is also a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout’s renowned Graphic Communications program.

“Josh will certainly be an immediate fit with our values and culture of tirelessly investing in the growth and success of our clients,” said SeQuel’s Chief Marketing Strategist, Erik Koenig. “But he will also be an immediate contributor to our near-term sales goals and long-term growth plans as an agency.”

Last year marked SeQuel’s fourth consecutive appearance on the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country, putting the firm in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

SeQuel Response announced today that it has tapped a top analytical mind in the direct marketing profession to decode nuanced trends in consumer data and further optimize clients’ audience testing.

Rob Moran brings nearly 20 years of direct mail expertise to the multichannel growth agency, after most recently serving as the Director of Product Marketing at North American Membership Group. In that role, he drove marketing strategy, implementation and analysis of all control offers and testing efforts, and was responsible for generating more than 50 percent of corporate revenue.

“I’m fortunate to be joining such a talented group whose strategies are already on the cutting edge of data targeting and performance analytics,” Moran said. “The data always tells a story, and I enjoy examining the data from countless perspectives, in search of that key nugget or insight that ultimately unlocks a greater ROI for the client.”

Moran will serve as the Senior Marketing Insights Analyst at SeQuel, which this year made its fourth consecutive appearance on the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the country. He will be responsible for shaping SeQuel’s targeting strategies and performance dashboards by developing an exhaustive understanding of clients’ target consumers and competitive positioning.

“In Rob’s time at North American, he developed a reputation for regularly exceeding performance and profitability goals,” said SeQuel’s Director of Database Marketing & Analytics, James Fussy, who worked with Moran for more than five years at NAMG. “With Rob’s unique approach to uncovering hidden data trends and quickly leveraging those insights in ensuing tests, we’ll undoubtedly bring our clients’ growth to the next level—in short order.”

SeQuel Response today announced its latest appearance on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s “Fast 50” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the Twin Cities, marking the fourth consecutive year that the direct marketing agency has received the award.

“Making the ‘Fast 50’ four years in a row,” said Kim Johnson, the publication’s Editorial Director of Events and Special Projects, “it’s a great accomplishment and difficult to achieve, given the vibrancy of the region’s business community.”

SeQuel, which launched in Eden Prairie, Minn. in January 2010, comes in at No. 11 in this year’s rankings after finishing 2016 with $36.7 million in net sales and driving revenue growth of 117 percent since 2014.

“Last year was critical for us in many ways,” said Jay Carroll, SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer. “We launched a digital marketing division in January 2016, but we also added a sales office in Dallas in October 2016, hiring Kevin Voigt as our VP of Business Development there. The new clients that Kevin has brought in since his arrival will account for nearly 30 percent of our revenue in 2018, so our future is looking bright.”

In 2017, the multichannel growth agency also received two other annual honors for the fourth straight time. SeQuel made its latest appearance on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s list of the Top Ad Agencies in the Twin Cities, and it also appeared once again on Inc. Magazine’s “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S.

For the fourth consecutive year, a national business publication has named SeQuel Response to its list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S., putting the multichannel growth agency in the top 10 percent of applicants nationwide.

“Of the tens of thousands of companies that have applied to the Inc. 5000 over the years, only a fraction have made the list more than once,” said Inc. Media President and Editor-in-Chief Eric Schurenberg in a letter to SeQuel’s leadership. “A mere one in ten have made the list four times.”

SeQuel, which launched in Eden Prairie, Minn. in January 2010, finished last year with $36.7 million in net sales, marking three-year revenue growth of 234 percent.

“Our No. 1 goal is to help our clients grow as rapidly as possible,” said SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Jay Carroll. “As excited as we are to be recognized by Inc. Magazine yet again, we’re even more excited about what it means for our clients: Our direct mail and digital marketing campaigns are helping them grow at rates that are justifying ever-increasing investments in these channels.”

The award comes on the heels of a pivotal year for the future of the young agency. In January 2016, SeQuel supplemented its direct mail capabilities by launching a digital marketing division that specializes in paid social, search-optimized content marketing, paid and organic search, programmatic display, email, mobile channels and landing-page optimization.

Since taking over all digital marketing efforts for Northwestern Health Sciences University, SeQuel has already helped the nonprofit grow its enrollment-inquiry volume by 673% year over year.

“The most effective delivery system will always vary based on the product, offer and audience,” Carroll said. “We’ll continue using direct mail to help our clients acquire hundreds of thousands of new customers per year—for one of our clients, mail brings them more than $30 million in new revenue every month. Now we’re simply applying those time-tested direct-response principles across digital media to help accelerate our clients’ growth even further.”

This year marked another fourth consecutive honor for SeQuel, as it made its latest appearance on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal’s list of Top Ad Agencies in the Twin Cities. SeQuel came in at No. 7 on the 2017 rankings by revenue, moving up two spots from a year ago.


SeQuel Response announced Thursday the hiring of a growth strategist with nearly 30 years of experience in direct marketing for numerous Fortune 1000 clients.

Matthew J. Downey joins the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based direct marketing agency as Vice President of Business Development, and will be stationed in San Diego, Calif. SeQuel has tasked Downey with building consultative relationships with brands that are looking for faster and more cost-effective ways to grow their business via direct and digital marketing channels.

“Matthew’s character and commitment to serving his community certainly made him a great fit at SeQuel,” said Jay Carroll, SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer. “But Matthew also brings an extensive background in direct-response strategy and a wealth of learnings across a variety of industries, which will add tremendous value for our clients.”

Downey’s experience encompasses all facets of direct and digital marketing. Throughout his career, he has contributed to the success of a variety of leading brands, such as AAA, AARP, American Express, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Citrix, Ford, General Motors, LifeLock, Microsoft, Mutual of Omaha, Wells Fargo and Xerox.

“I competed against SeQuel several times in the past, and they won every time,” Downey said. “SeQuel’s winning formula is helping clients enjoy explosive growth. I’m eager to tell that story coast to coast, and find more new clients who are ready to grow their business faster and more affordably than ever before.”

Since SeQuel’s inception in 2010, annual revenue has grown by 19x, landing the agency on the “Inc. 5000” list of the fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. in each of the past three years.

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal announced Thursday that SeQuel Response cracked the top 10 in the publication’s 2016 list of the 50 fastest growing companies in the state. The direct marketing agency came in at No. 7 this year, after being ranked No. 18 and No. 17 in 2014 and 2013, respectively.

WE ASKED CO-FOUNDER AND COO JAY CARROLL:

How has your company adjusted to new challenges caused by rapid growth? We recently moved into a new space that is four times the size of our previous space.

What’s your company’s fastest-growing expense? Humble, hungry and smart new talent

What’s your strategy to be able to hire enough qualified workers to keep up with your growth? Leverage the following: the unique aspects of our company culture and purpose, our track record for growth during our first seven years of existence, and our deep passion for continued expansion of services and national presence


GROWTH RATE

146.05%

2013 revenue: $10,986,534

2014 revenue: $16,865,559

2015 revenue: $27,032,125

Top executives: Jay Carroll, Tom Rothstein

Founded: 2010

Business: Full-service direct-marketing agency for digital and direct-mail media

Employees at end of 2013: 10; now: 28

SeQuel Response today announced the addition of a regional sales VP who will play a critical role in the fast growing direct marketing agency’s plans to boost sales revenue at least 50 percent in the next five years.

Kevin Voigt joins SeQuel as VP of Business Development, Southern Region and will be stationed in Dallas. Voigt is the Eden Prairie, Minn.-based firm’s eleventh new hire since January, marking a 65-percent increase in employee headcount this calendar year.

“Kevin is a seasoned direct marketing veteran who understands the pressures that marketers are under today and the need for them to continually find more new prospects with lower acquisition costs and improved sales rates,” said Tim Finley, SeQuel’s VP of Business Growth Strategy. “He’s spent the past 20 years engaging a national audience of CMOs and direct marketing decision makers by bringing a unique understanding of data, analytics, printing, modeling and direct marketing acumen to those conversations with industry leaders.”

Voigt most recently served three years as VP of National Accounts at American Spirit Corporation, where he specialized in cross-channel consumer engagement solutions and worked with SeQuel regularly on various projects. Prior to that, he was EVP of Sales & Marketing at MOV Digital Media, after spending 11 years as the Sales Director for National Accounts at IWCO Direct. Voigt first met SeQuel’s Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer, Jay Carroll, when Carroll hired Voigt to be a Senior Account Representative at Banta Direct Marketing Group (now RR Donnelley) in March 1995.

“I see Kevin as an interesting representation of SeQuel in that he grew up in direct mail but has since leveraged his vast knowledge of direct-response fundamentals in the digital world,” Carroll said. “He’s a blue-chip talent when it comes to selling data-driven marketing services, but he also has a rare degree of integrity and fits in perfectly with the people at SeQuel. With him on board, I have great confidence that we’ll continue our exciting growth curve.”

The agency projects its 2016 sales revenue to be $40 million by year-end, a 40-percent increase over 2015. SeQuel is currently looking to hire three additional regional sales directors by the end of 2017.

“SeQuel is best in class in two specific areas,” Voigt said. “First, their marketing methodologies work, and they service their clients incredibly well. Second, the people at SeQuel—I’ve been fortunate to come to know them on both a personal and professional level in recent years. SeQuel was born from grit, trust and a ton of talent. When I learned they were building a national sales team, I knew I wanted to be their first hire.”

Direct marketer SeQuel Response today announced two new staff additions that will streamline the agency’s workflow processes and strengthen its expertise in database marketing and analytics.

Dale Kraus joins SeQuel as its Director of Operations—he will oversee quality control, process improvement, electronic workflows, IT security and compliance, human resources, and facilities management for SeQuel’s offices in Minnesota, Wisconsin and any future locations. He had been serving the agency as an independent consultant since April.

Dale

“Dale is a strong leader who has a knack for building consensus between departments and personalities in the interest of what’s ultimately best for the client and SeQuel,” said Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer Jay Carroll. “He is a true team player who is multi-talented, hard-working, trustworthy, bright, and continually brings new ideas for improving all aspects of our operation. I believe he fits our organization like a glove.”

Prior to working with SeQuel, Kraus held various operational roles at Thrivent Financial and its subsidiary, brightpeak financial.

“After working for a Fortune 500 company for the past 10-plus years, I’m very excited to be part of a smaller, nimbler organization that can quickly identify opportunities and pursue them,” Kraus said. “The great leadership group and talented team at SeQuel were things that I wanted to be a part of long-term after working with them for the past few months. This role allows me to bring together a lot of my past experiences to benefit SeQuel while also learning from them.”

SeQuel also hired Wenqiuli Zhang to be its Marketing Analytics Manager. She will tackle campaign analysis and recommendations, prospect optimization and modeling, overall data asset management, and communication with clients’ analytics departments.

“I enjoy the challenge of solving unstructured problems,” Zhang said. “At SeQuel, I will have the opportunity to do that while working with a close-knit team that allows me the freedom to be creative and autonomous as a data scientist.”

Wenqiuli

In June, Zhang earned her master’s degree in business analytics from the prestigious Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota. She also holds a master’s degree in economics from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, as well as a bachelor’s degree in economics from Fudan University in Shanghai, China. Zhang has previously worked in corporate finance and data science in both the banking and health care industries.

“With her expertise and experience, she brings immediate credibility to the analytics that we perform for our clients and will help build and expand our valuable analytic services,” said SeQuel’s VP of Data and Analytics, Scott Anderson.

Fast-growing direct marketing firm SeQuel Response opened its new Eden Prairie headquarters this year.

Before the expansion, the firm had 20 employees but only room for seven cubicles, co-founder and Chief Operating Officer Jay Carroll said.

“We had several people working from home remotely because we just didn’t have space for them,”he said.

Founded in 2010, the company’s revenue has grown from $1.9 million to $27 million in 2015, landing it on the Business Journal’s annual Fast 50 and Top Ad Agencies lists.

STRATEGIES: SeQuel Response finds there’s still profit in ‘snail mail’

The new Eden Prairie space checked off all the boxes on his staff’s wishlist, Carroll. The company tripled its square footage, and Carroll said his team of about 25 employees may grow over 30 by the end of the year.

The office reused cubicles from the previous tenant, government defense contractor Alliant Techsystems. The roughly six-foot high cubicles house height-adjustable desks, as well as built-in storage and whiteboards, Carroll said.

The office has two conference rooms, the larger of which features an 18-foot Cambria table with Minnesota-made quartz, Carroll said. A 70-inch MondoPad comes in handy for video conferences and touch-screen annotating.

The building also includes a gym, cafeteria, heated underground parking and a deck.

SeQuel employees needed a way to take a break from the fast-paced, deadline-driven nature of the business, Carroll said. Rather than the typical ping-pong or pool table, Carroll and his staff decided on something calmer: a 25-foot putting green.

“They can just go put on the green for five to 15 minutes, sometimes they have quick competitions with teammates. It’s just a quick distraction … a release, place to unwind, have fun, laugh and go back to the grind,” Carroll said.

The putting green is part of what SeQuel staff call the family room.

“I know it sounds corny but we really do think of ourselves as a family,” Carroll said. “There’s a fair amount of love for each other on this team and we believe it’s one of the greatest reasons for the success that we’ve had.”

Hardwood floors, a homey color scheme and portraits of each employee complete the feel of a real living room, which also includes a kitchen.

“It’s almost like they closed their eyes and went into their family room at home and they can kick back on a leather couch, put their feet up, watch ESPN, have a cold soda and just unwind,” Carroll said.


SeQuel Response

  • Business: Direct marketing agency
  • Employees in the office: About 25
  • Address: 7480 Flying Cloud Drive, Eden Prairie
  • Building: Eden View Office Center
  • Office opened: February 2016
  • Size: 13,000 square feet
  • Floor: 1
  • Designer/Architect: Tami Dieringer, Nelson
  • General contractor: Anderson Commercial Construction

Charlie

SeQuel Response this week strengthened its digital capabilities with the hiring of a promising multichannel marketing talent.

Charlie Kojis will now serve SeQuel as a Digital Media Analyst, expanding the fast-growing direct marketing agency’s expertise in digital channels and media, including paid and organic search, programmatic display, paid social, email, optimized SEO content and mobile.

“He is a quick study with a tremendous amount of upside potential,” said Chris Hofmann, SeQuel’s VP of Digital Services & Senior Marketing Strategist. “Charlie will be a very good fit with the SeQuel culture—friendly and humble, but motivated and excited to deliver control-beating results.”

Kojis comes to SeQuel from the University of Wisconsin-Extension, where he spent nearly three years working under Hofmann, who joined SeQuel in January.

“Charlie took very quickly to digital campaign management and optimization, and over time we gave him more and more responsibility for day-to-day management of campaigns for our online degree programs,” Hofmann said. “He soon eclipsed the results of his teacher and was consistently delivering significantly lower cost-per-lead results and better lead quality as defined by education level needed for degree-program entry.”

The University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and has passed the Google certification exams for AdWords Fundamentals, Search Advertising, Display Advertising and Analytics. Although there is presently no certification exam for Facebook advertising, Kojis also brings a proven track record for boosting ad performance on the ubiquitous social media platform.

“It’s obvious that SeQuel has tremendous leadership and a great group of people in place,” Kojis said. “I was really impressed by the organization’s analytical approach to marketing. The opportunity to help bring that data-driven mindset to the digital side and further expand their capabilities is incredibly exciting.”

SeQuel Response announced today the addition of two new employees poised to help continue the direct marketing firm’s rapid growth. Jason Smith joins SeQuel as Director of Procurement, and Sue Teien joins the company as an Account Manager. Both bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the company.

“We are delighted to welcome Sue and Jason to our team. These additions bring our total number of full-time employees to 20,” said Jay Carroll, SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer. “Both Jason and Sue are accomplished professionals and high integrity people who will enhance our ability to serve our growing list of clients.”

Smith comes to SeQuel from The Lacek Group, where he served as Print Production Manager for the past three years. Before that he spent eight years with Japs-Olson as a Customer Service Representative. He is a graduate of the University of Central Missouri.

Teien has a strong background in marketing and communications as she worked for Thrifty White Pharmacy as an Advertising Manager for the last 20 years. She also possesses exceptional graphic design and project management skills.

“We are very pleased with our new hires,” said SeQuel’s Vice President of Client Services, Vicki Erickson. “It is important for us to add talent that not only has the knowledge to succeed but the ability to help our business grow. This is an exciting start to what promises to be a great year for the company.”

Hofmann

SeQuel Response announced Tuesday the addition of a crucial senior executive who now holds the reins on the fast-growing direct marketing company’s ambitious digital strategy.

Turning to one of its initial clients, Twin Cities-based SeQuel Response has hired Chris Hofmann as its Vice President of Digital Services and Senior Marketing Strategist.

“We reached out to Chris and explained our big-picture plans to further bolster our digital capabilities and continue evolving into an integrated multichannel agency,” said Erik Koenig, SeQuel Response’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Now we’ve got an industry veteran and a student of direct-response marketing whose value is undeniable. Chris has an insatiable desire to learn about trends in direct marketing strategy, and he’s a great person to have on your team to stay out in front of things.”

Hofmann’s main focus will be taking the rigorous, data-driven testing methodology that has made SeQuel Response so effective in direct mail, and translating that to digital channels and media, including paid and organic search, programmatic display, paid social, email, optimized SEO content and mobile.

“Consumers are shopping and discovering products and services in a myriad of online channels today,” Hofmann said. “The buyer is in charge. We’ll aim to help our clients put the right messages and offers in front of the most valuable prospects at just the right time.”

Hofmann comes to SeQuel Response from the University of Wisconsin-Extension, where he had been leading marketing and outreach for the system’s dedicated online education division for more than three years, winning wide industry praise along the way. It was in his earlier position as Director of Marketing Communications with WPS Health Insurance—Wisconsin’s largest not-for-profit health insurer—that Hofmann and the leadership at SeQuel Response got to know and admire one another.

“I met Chris back in 2009 just before we launched our new direct marketing agency,” said Jay Carroll, SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer. “We thoroughly enjoyed the chance to work with him for the better part of four years. Being able to tap into his strategy, his way of thinking, was something we’ve always valued, and now we have that talented asset in-house.”

The addition of Hofmann in such a vital executive role comes on the heels of SeQuel Response’s consistent year-over-year growth, which has repeatedly earned the company coveted spots on various state and national “fastest-growing” lists. The growth has been so dramatic that SeQuel Response is nearing its much-needed move into a markedly larger Twin Cities headquarters.

Hofmann said he saw in SeQuel Response’s accomplishments “an opportunity to join a great group of people in a fast-growing company, where I knew I could build up the digital side of the business. That was very appealing to me.”

Koenig

SeQuel Response announced Friday that former Vice President of Marketing & Sales Erik Koenig has been promoted to the role of Chief Marketing Officer.

“Erik possesses a rare combination of analytical aptitude, creativity and humility,” said Jay Carroll, SeQuel’s Co-Founder and former Chief Marketing Officer, who will now hold the title of Chief Operating Officer. “He proved early in his career that his talents extended far beyond managing our sales team and helping us build a strong client portfolio. Erik is now the lead strategist on most of our accounts, and is no longer considered a ‘rising star’ in this industry. He is a seasoned mind with game-changing aptitude in all aspects of direct marketing.”

Koenig, 29, first joined SeQuel as Director of Marketing & Sales at its inception in 2010, and has since helped the company’s annual revenue surge from $1.9 million in Year One to more than $25 million in 2015.

“Through the process of launching SeQuel, I thought to myself, ‘If we can get Erik on board, we’ll have a good shot at making this work.'”

-Jay Carroll, Co-Founder/COO

In each of the past two years, SeQuel has garnered national attention on the Inc. 5000 list of the country’s fastest-growing private companies. The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal has also twice named SeQuel to its Fast 50 list of the fastest-growing private companies in the Twin Cities.

“Erik is a direct-mail pro and a trusted resource,” said Peg Zwicker, a former SeQuel client. “He’s very diligent about constructing appropriate test offers … and makes strategic recommendations based on achieving profitability. … He seeks to truly understand our business, and offers new ideas for partnerships or other marketing opportunities that go beyond direct mail.”

The move will allow Koenig to delegate some day-to-day client-contact responsibilities, giving him an even broader voice in SeQuel’s larger accounts.

“I’m honored to take on this new challenge,” said Koenig, a 2008 graduate with distinction from the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. “I have big shoes to fill, and taking SeQuel’s rapid growth a step further won’t be an easy task. But I have an extremely talented team around me, and I look forward to working alongside them to help our clients be even more profitable in the future.”

SeQuel announced today that it has hired as Marketing Strategist Ryan Wilder, a dynamic talent who brings a wealth of experience to the fast growing agency.

Wilder’s responsibilities for SeQuel Response are two-pronged — business development and client-facing marketing strategy — as the company is poised for yet another year of surging growth in both revenue base and client roster.

“We’ve had our eyes on Ryan for a few years now, and we’re pumped to officially have him on board,” said Erik Koenig, SeQuel’s Chief Marketing Officer. “We expect immediate contributions from him, not only in direct mail strategy but in the area of digital marketing, where we’ll be putting even more emphasis in 2016 than in the past.”

Wilder has built a strong marketing foundation that started taking shape in 1999. He began as a Marketing Manager for Wolters Kluwer Financial before moving on to become TCF Bank’s Director of Marketing for four years.

For the past four-plus years, he was a Business Development Manager for John Ryan, a leading digital marketing and point of purchase marketing agency focused in the banking channels.

Through those rewarding experiences on his career path, Wilder became well acquainted with SeQuel Response’s attention-grabbing success on the national marketing scene.

“I’ve known the leadership at SeQuel for some time now, and I’m excited to be on a team that is on the upswing, and I look forward to contributing to its growth,” Wilder said. “I believe I can develop relationships with clients, strengthen their marketing strategies and help improve their response rates.”

SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Jay Carroll, describes Wilder as “the complete package, who brings more than just exceptional marketing and sales skills to the company.”

“Ryan has outstanding interpersonal skills and is a high-integrity guy,” Carroll said. “These qualities are very important to SeQuel. We’ve had a lot of contact with him and those strengths have shone through. We increase our chances of future success when we add people who carry the same vision.”

“Integrity is a core value for me,” Wilder said. “It’s certainly a personal mission of mine to hold that in the highest regard.”

With Wilder on board, Koenig sees more coveted new hires in the pipeline as SeQuel prepares to move into larger headquarters in the next few months to accommodate an expanding staff.

“It’s the sustained success that we’ve enjoyed that will allow us to attract even more top-tier talent,” Koenig said. “It’s a very exciting time for SeQuel and our clients.”

Turnkey direct marketer SeQuel Response announced today another honor in recognition of its continued growth, this time the lofty position of 18 on the latest Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal Fast 50 list of the fastest growing privately held companies in Minnesota.

SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer, Jay Carroll, said he envisions continued growth that should keep the company on the Fast 50 list for at least the next few years, and that means more space is needed for additional staff to handle an expanding roster of clients.

“We’re getting very close to pulling the trigger on a new home for SeQuel,” said Carroll, who has helped narrow the possible locations to a very few. “We hope to move sometime in January, maybe February.”

Whatever new locale Eden Prairie-based SeQuel settles on, “it will more than double the space we’re in, which will give us some breathing room,” Carroll said. “We anticipate our full-time head count to jump by almost 50 percent in the first quarter of 2016, so we need to accommodate that, plus the growth in the next several years, if all goes well.”

SeQuel Response reported revenue of nearly $17 million for 2014, a robust 56 percent jump from just short of $11 million the previous year. This helped the company sail over the following requirements to qualify for Fast 50 consideration:

  • Independently owned and privately held; headquartered in the Twin Cities’ 24-county metro area; have $1 million revenue or more in the first of the three most recent fiscal years; had year-over-year revenue growth for each of the past three completed fiscal years; and have attested financial data for the three most recently completed fiscal years.

“We’re gaining a following, and the recognition is certainly helping to give us credibility as we continue to approach new prospects,” Carroll said. “And it’s consistent growth. It’s not like it’s a spike one year, and then a decline, and then a spike, and then a decline. It’s been a constant surge forward, which people are intrigued by. ‘What are you guys doing over there? What’s your model?’”

The Fast 50 nod also means clearing more room on the SeQuel Response mantle, where the most recent honors include:

  • Landing well up the ladder on the Inc. 5000 coveted list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, coming in at 1,699
  • Placing ninth on the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s Top 25 ranking of Twin Cities’ advertising agencies

SeQuel Response, a leader in the direct marketing industry, announced today the hiring of Karyn Hendricks as creative production manager. The hiring comes on the heels of the company announcing business growth of 56 percent in the 2014 fiscal year.

Hendricks isn’t a stranger to SeQuel Response, having served the company previously as a freelance worker for the past 18 months. In her new role she will oversee SeQuel’s growing creative execution efforts – as well as quality control for art file delivery to a variety of vendor partners. In addition to freelancing, Hendricks has experience at a number of creative firms of varying sizes in both Minneapolis and Chicago.

“Karyn will bring consistency and quality to our creative teams. She will also continue to design for us as well,” said Jay Carroll, SeQuel’s Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer. “Karyn has a diverse skill set and will be a welcomed addition to our team.”

In 2014, SeQuel’s revenue grew to $17 million, up from $11 million the previous year.

“Adding Karyn further strengthens our team as we continue to grow as a company,” said Vicki Erickson, SeQuel’s VP of Client Services. “She is well versed in our work because of her previous experience with us, and can hit the ground running.”

Hendricks said she is eager to become more strategically involved in SeQuel’s creative efforts.

“It’s exciting to work for a rapidly growing company,” she said. “It’s an exciting time for me to expand my role and to help to further strengthen SeQuel’s success and growing reputation as a leader in the industry.”

Full-service direct marketer SeQuel Response announced today that it has tightened its grip on two major rankings, further cementing its growing reputation in the advertising industry.

For a second consecutive year, Twin Cities-based SeQuel Response landed well up the ladder on the Inc. 5000 coveted list of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies, coming in at 1,699. Inc. Magazine’s president and editor-in-chief, Eric Schurenberg, said, “Only a tiny fraction of the nation’s [private] companies have demonstrated such remarkably consistent high growth, particularly in the difficult economic environment of the past few years. This achievement truly puts [SeQuel] in rarefied company.”

Closer to home, the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal placed SeQuel Response ninth in its Top 25 ranking of Twin Cities advertising agencies, based on the company’s nearly $17 million in revenue for the previous year. That’s up sharply from 16th place in 2014, when SeQuel Response totaled almost $11 million in revenue in 2013.

Tom Rothstein, Co-Founder and President of the rapidly evolving direct marketer, pegged much of SeQuel Response’s success on its team members gaining “maturity and experience.”

“We’re not just specialists in one channel,” Rothstein pointed out. “We can bring any direct-mail product that has viability to market. We’ll help a client construct their messaging & design, we’ll build a sophisticated test matrix and, most critically, we’ll find the ideal audience to pursue. We’re a very strong fit for incubating products into the direct-mail space.”

Jay Carroll, Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer at SeQuel, emphasized that these two authoritative business barometers make it clear that SeQuel Response has graduated from being a startup company. “We’re grateful to be thriving, and from a national perspective, we’re building a following that is opening up more and more doors for SeQuel,” Carroll said.

Rothstein said he sees SeQuel Response’s standing “somewhere in the top 10 on a national level” among direct-marketing focused agencies, with a bright future ahead as its staff expands to serve the company’s lengthening client roster. “I can see us growing again as a company at 20, 25 percent a year,” he said. “And I think our employee head count will probably mirror that as well.”

Fast-growing Twin Cities’ direct marketing firm SeQuel Response announced the hiring of a new Account Manager, Carrie Dunn.

Dunn worked as a Marketing Manager for Cygnus Business Media since 2008. She was responsible for the execution of integrated marketing plans across print and digital media. At SeQuel Response, she will be responsible for building and maintaining client relationships, project management and overseeing creative & marketing development for a variety of direct mail and digital campaigns.

“Our account managers are the working hub of communication for our clients and the rest of our internal team,” said Vicki Erickson, Vice President of Client Services at SeQuel Response. “With the addition of Carrie, we will now be better equipped to serve our client base.”

The staff expansion comes as SeQuel Response is hailed by industry critics as one of the fastest growing advertising companies in the field. In August, SeQuel Response was recognized by the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal in its 2014 Top 25 Advertising Agencies list. It came in at 16th in revenue among advertising agencies in the state in just its fifth year of operation.

SeQuel Response was also named to the 2014 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing 5000 businesses in the country. SeQuel Response came in at number 984, thanks to its three year growth of 476 percent and 2013 revenue of $11 million.

“The growth is exhilarating and it’s also been very rewarding,” Erickson said. “Everyone kind of marvels at the expansion in five years. We’ve worked really hard to get here – but five years ago we never would have thought we would attain this level of growth. We’re humbled to have so many new clients, partners and employees coming on board because they’ve heard that we’re consistently driving strong results for our customers.”