Minuteman Press Franchisee David Dilkes Teaches English and Trade Show Marketing to One Thankful Student

How a chance meeting in the Austrian Alps paid dividends for both teacher and student…

David Dilkes not only owns and operates a strong design, marketing, and digital printing franchise in Kitchener, Ontario, he volunteers his time in Europe teaching English, where his expertise in marketing crossed language barriers in a perfect way.

Seventeen years ago, David Dilkes originally purchased a Minuteman Press franchise in Guelph that was already up and running.  Upon assuming command, he immediately poured his seasoned leadership and sales skills into a renewed dedication to the proven system that has made Minuteman Press a leader in the modern printing industry.

David says, “We spent a lot of time out on the street, marketing.  We also made certain that we took a solid shot at every single opportunity to connect with a new customer. Even if it seemed outside of our sweet spot, we tried.”

The networking tenacity paid off over time as larger clients elected to take their places within his growing customer base.  His customer service philosophy is to find a way to do things upon request and to take an entire project (not just the printing part) and see it to fruition.  His ability to deliver on this philosophy impressed a lot of people and his reputation became that of a winner, a central place for all marketing services.

David explains with pride, “My background is in sales.  I worked in the software industry selling ERP (enterprise resource planning) systems to companies just like our paper suppliers.  It’s a coincidence, but one of my ERP systems customers also happens to be one of our major paper suppliers at Minuteman Press.  Since I have sales as a strength, my philosophy remains to give people what they need…plus a little bit more.  I also tell my employees that people should be elated when they leave our center.  Our job is to elate them, to spoil them.  That’s quite different than simply delivering on-time and in this way we move on from the commodity part of the job and really become someone they can rely upon.”

As time and jobs well-done advanced and accumulated, his decision to buy an underperforming printing business and transform it into a welcome and productive presence within his community rewarded him.

When a marketing expert and ally such as David Dilkes encounters unique opportunities to design, print and promote…you, he will let you know and it has proven wise for many determined business owners to listen.

If someone has a challenge or a need, David’s Minuteman Press franchise (now in Kitchener after Guelph was sold to a new and thriving franchisee) is populated with experts that will simply do everything they need related to marketing services, using digital and traditional channels. And he means it when he says “take every opportunity to connect with potential customers” no matter how or where you encounter them. “I teach English over in Europe to German and Austrian executives in the Austrian Alps, and one time I met a marketing manager for a German company, Nowofol, a maker of window film.  Turns out, they needed assistance with a trade show they had coming up in Orlando, FL and I knew I was able to help.”

She was lucky that the English teacher was also a Minuteman Press franchise owner because he was not only able to listen to the fact that they do trade shows and have a hard time getting displays and mailings out to prospects, he was able to tell her he could take the entire burden off of her hands and get the right people to visit her company’s booth.

David elaborates, “After I listened to her needs, we produced all the promotional materials for the show and went further to create a promotional “survival kit”. The show was in Orlando and the company is based in Germany and we are based in Canada, but I took the list of 250 people she needed to reach and we produced small, branded handbags stuffed with bandages, pens, paper, sticky notes, stain remover, mints, shoe polish and an eyeglass cleaner.  So when you are traveling, you might need these things.  We mailed it to her prospects in the United States.  They had this unique promotional gift in their hands a week before the show.  We then produced all the banners and personalized the envelopes for the survival kit and got people to go to the show.”

David’s team includes the experienced staff he inherited when he bought his second center, a well-performing location in Kitchener.  He also added new employees that will benefit from that experience as they work in the new Waterloo Minuteman Press center, one he purchased a year ago after selling his original center in Guelph, after he brought it to strong performance.  “I am fortunate to have experienced staff and the ability to hire and train new staff for their ideas and various skill sets,” David says.

This blend of proven and innovative capabilities ensures the advancement of Minuteman Press and their clients’ endeavors, both within their communities and even beyond the borders of their own countries. 

Sabine Münsterer, of Nowofol, was in Austria studying English under the tutelage of Mr. Dilkes.  It was her good fortune that expanded from learning one of the toughest languages on the planet to encountering solutions to a marketing conundrum, courtesy of her English tutor.  She recalls meeting him, “I was very happy to meet Dave in Austria. And my first thought was “that could be an interesting contact”.  We have a few shows in North America where we exhibit. I try always sending out invitations which will NOT go directly into the garbage; but it’s tricky to realize those ideas from Germany.”

Like many intelligent professionals, Sabine had an inspired idea and needed expert help to develop it and produce it.  She says, “When I had the idea for the “survival kit,” I got in contact with Dave and from the moment I did, it worked out very well. The communication was easy and we were in close contact to figure out both my expectations and how can meet them, producing what I need within our budget.”

It is with great pride that Sabine continues her study of English. Even better, her work for her company Nowofol was boosted by the advantageous coincidence that her tutor was none other than a successful Canadian Minuteman Press franchise owner, able to supply the needs of her American trade show.

Such is the reach of a company that leads the modern printing industry in a time that finds print to be increasingly limitless as a promotional tool, a reality that made Nowofol’s trade show a huge success.

Sabine concludes her thoughts with Minuteman Press praise, “Dave and his colleagues were always helpful and as you can see, the survival pack looks great! It is exactly what I was looking for and I must not forget to mention the perfect customer service. They got an address list of 230 contacts for shipping the survival packs and saw the entire production and mailing to its completion. They also made certain that the roll-up display and additional products I needed were sent to Orlando in time. So, the entire project worked perfectly… and at the end we had a successful show!”