Notice the title of this blog is not digital printing but digital print marketing. Digital printing is simply a technology, while digital print marketing is a strategy to use that technology to run your business better. This series will examine some best practices to help you get the most out of digital print technology.
Just as with any technology, these success factors start with the fact that it is not the technology itself that makes the difference, it’s the solution you build around it. That’s what’s so exciting about digital printing. It’s the types and flexibility of solutions that it opens to marketers of all sizes, from the smallest to the largest.
If you are going to being folding digital print applications into your marketing mix, here are the first two of nine basic “critical success factors” you want to keep in mind.
Change document and marketing management models, not just output technology.
Digital printing may give you more flexibility to do things like print in four-color at the same cost or print smaller volumes at a time, but if that’s the only way you capitalize on this technology, you are missing the point. Digital printing is capable of revolutionizing the way you approach your marketing and document production and management. That doesn’t happen merely by incorporating more color or saving money on document costs.
Take the example of HealthNow, a regional affiliate of a national insurance company. Before switching to digitally driven information packets, its information packets were large, often reaching 70 pages each. Not only were these packets time-consuming and expensive to print, but customers often complained that the information was difficult to understand.
So the company launched a new approach. It began personalizing the guides at the plan level. This alleviated subscriber confusion caused by the inclusion of irrelevant information. Plus, it reduced the size of the packets from 70 to 20 pages. This slashed production costs by 50%–60%. Administrative costs and calls to its service center were reduced, as well.
This is just one company, but it illustrates the larger message of digital printing. The idea isn’t just to change how you print. It’s how to use the technology to change how you do business or how you market.
Don’t think about technology. Think about solutions.
As in the example above, the greatest gains in digital print are typically made when combining applications to create a larger solution. Some are difficult to classify by application type because they combine multiple elements, such as print on demand, versioning, personalization, and web to print fulfillment.
Consider the success of the in-house graphics department at Villanova University. Before implementing a digital, print-on-demand workflow, students and professors submitted jobs manually and it took a full day to produce. Sometimes jobs got lost in the shuffle. To increase efficiency and drive down costs, Villanova’s Graphic Services department implemented an automated fulfillment system for online submission of jobs output on the department’s four Canon 7095s. In just the first two years alone, overall revenue for the department increased by 18% annually and cost per copy dropped significantly by lowering labor costs.
The key isn’t the application itself. It’s what the solution can do. The marketer says, “This what I want to accomplish.” The print provider puts together the necessary technologies to make it happen.