The power of leveraging cutting edge software and high-speed digital printing to produce complex DM campaigns.
Digital printing has been around for years and continues to improve in quality, accessibility, and relevancy in today’s evolving DM space. The market now has improved access to vastly improved paper, and high-speed inkjet presses are producing impressions at much lower costs and incredibly faster turn times. At the end of the day, direct mailers can now expect 100% variable color content carrying higher quality images, at speeds and prices never seen before.
A large number of marketers have admittedly had a difficult time gathering or leveraging specific customer and prospect data to create personalized color communications. However, in many cases, the pure fundamentals of today’s direct marketing world has forced many major direct mailers into the digital world. Campaigns have become increasingly complex over time with extremely segmented customer and prospect needs. Customer acquisition and loyalty offers, in addition to transpromotional offers, vary more now than ever based on the needs and habits of the consumer. Marketers continue to co-brand and cross sell services in order to entice specific target audiences with very relevant messages. All of these factors and many more have led to micro-segmentation and have made producing traditional DM campaigns extremely cumbersome if not impossible.
We have a number of clients that have converted to nearly 100% digital production based on many of the factors above. Occasionally they will have an ad-hoc campaign that calls for a conventional print & black personalization. On more than one instance, our clients will refer to this as “stepping back into the dark ages.” With the advent of closed-loop digital asset management and integrated proofing and change management tools, the campaign management game has changed forever. These capabilities coupled with high-speed color imaging gives us all a tremendous opportunity to reach our targets at the right time with a highly personalized message.
Transitioning to a digital platform can be a bit daunting at first. There is a tremendous amount of coordination that goes into moving assets, converting matrices and information, and becoming proficient at managing changes and updates in a real-time environment. However, this transition happens very quickly and within 2-3 campaigns, technology takes over and the dark ages are in the rear view mirror. All of this, of course, is predicated on choosing with the right partner with not only the necessary physical equipment, but also the intellectual horsepower and experience to deliver.
Most marketers are well-versed on the advantages of digital print technology. The opportunity to personalize in full-color to targeted recipients, the huge savings in postage dollars, reducing production cycle times, the simplification of campaign management, eliminating waste and inventory, etc… For many, just taking the first step is the hardest part. We as an industry need to continue to make that step simpler. This technology is being used across all industries and applications – just check your mailbox today and take notice of the increased personalization and relevancy of your mail, including the monthly bills you receive.
InfoTrends released a report last month titled: U.S. Digital Production Printing Application Forecast 2011-2016. The report clearly illustrates that a tremendous amount of growth over the next five years will come from digital applications, specifically in the DM space. In fact, over the five year period the DM market is expected to add 24 billion digitally produced impressions. That’s a growth rate of 22% in an industry that otherwise is growing at 1-2%.
This print technology is becoming more established every day, more marketers are leveraging it’s power every day, and every indicator in our industry tells us that this will become the dominant execution platform moving forward. Let’s all embrace the future, continue to push the limits, and leave those dark ages in the rear view mirror.