The history of WS Ponton is a simple story. It is not the stuff of myth and saga. It is not material for some Hollywood biopic, an overnight success story long on glamour and pizzazz. This is no urban legend, but instead a business that developed and grew carefully and deliberately, a perfect reflection of how we work with our clients to this day.
WS Ponton is actually part of a larger story, the history of marketing and advertising in America. The company came on the scene in 1885 when Wilbur Simpson Ponton opened shop in the Northeast. His vision for providing address information, as well as the machines to physically apply addresses, came at the beginning of the Second Industrial Revolution -- the first "revolution" still so fresh that scholars had yet to name it.
The Ponton start-up responded to dramatic business changes in the nation. Products were being mass-produced, brokers were reselling newspaper space to promoters, and little companies began to appear that called themselves advertising agencies.
Plenty of critical developments in the marketing landscape gave impetus to WS Ponton. In 1872, Aaron Montgomery Ward produced his first mail-order catalog. In 1876, Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone, but telemarketing was years away.
By the time WS Ponton appeared on the scene, advertising and direct mail had arrived. Big Apple residents read the New York Times, and the cost to mail a domestic letter ran two cents.
As industry practices matured and new opportunities opened up, WS Ponton refined its data operations. The company consistently proved their leadership role as an elite provider of mailing lists and related services, providing data on U.S. trades, professions and consumers. To this day, we continue to work with many clients that have been with us for decades.
WS Ponton celebrated their 100th year in 1985 as the premier provider of data for the affluent markets. They have witnessed the comings and goings of many data firms, kept pace with clients and a public that grow ever sharper, and have always remained at the forefront of every technological advance. The company has entered their second hundred years with even more services as the Internet and changes in media redefine public habits.
What has not changed is the professional integrity and passion that Wilbur Simpson Ponton infused into his firm back in 1885. The company remains dedicated to the precision of their data and to making every client a success, one campaign at a time.