Success with Web-to-Print — Part 2

Three more helpful tips to help you succeed with web-to-print technology. This is the second in a three part series that covers helpful tips for companies that are using web-to-print solutions for marketing and document management.

  1. Think about pricing, not in terms of individual project cost or per-piece cost, but how the entire solution impacts the bottom line.

If you think that investing in a Web-to-print solution is too expensive, you may be thinking too narrowly—about short-term investment rather than long-term gain. Or about the initial outlay and not bottom-line growth.

Think about Tiffin University, which switched from 9×12-inch folders with preprinted inserts to slim, highly personalized booklets printed on demand and dropped its printing and postage costs by 50%. It sounds counter-intuitive to spend more on a per-piece basis and still end up reducing your overall costs, but it happens frequently.

These applications typically have upfront costs (such as the cost to develop and deploy the portal), so the true ROI has to be determined over time. If a financial company gains 100 new clients through a marketing campaign, it can calculate the ROI of that campaign the first month, but the true value of that campaign goes beyond the initial investments. Those clients could stay with the company for years, even a lifetime, which is why you may hear companies talk about lifetime customer value, or LCV.

  1. Take a holistic approach to support your investment.

If you are going to make an investment in a new way of managing documents, extend the commitment with additional changes that support this decision.

Disney Destinations, for example, revamped its marketing collateral to be 100% personalized, generated on demand by CSRs when prospects contact its call center. Along with this change, Disney made some other substantial commitments to support this investment. Among them, it has begun following up with prospects who received customized brochures and who have not responded to call or book an event. Having access to the personalized information provided for the brochure makes it easier for the sales person to talk about their current needs. The sales staff also contacts past clients to find out what their current needs are and whether they have any upcoming events.

It is this kind of company-wide, strategic initiative that helps Web-to-print succeed. Web-to-print is an important tool, but just as even the most function-rich construction equipment can’t build an office building by itself, W2P can’t carry the load by itself, either.

  1. Plan into the system future needs, not just today’s.

When anticipating the kind of Web-to-print solution you will need (in-house/outsourced, functionality, volumes), keep in mind what your needs might be, not just today, but one year or five years out. If your goal is too narrowly focused on keeping down costs, you might end up with a system that is too restrictive and cannot grow with you. Low-end, off-the-shelf systems, in particular, offer a great opportunity to get into the W2P model at a very reasonable cost, and for many marketers, this might be all they’ll ever need. Other marketers may outgrow them quickly and find themselves locked into a restrictive system and need to start from scratch in order to continue to grow.

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