It’s no secret that the direct marketing community is in the midst of a dramatic shift toward digital printing technology. We have embraced this “disruptive force,” and it drives our investment strategy. Marketers today need their messaging to be more personalized and relevant to the recipient, and we strive to lead the way for our customers.
How did this transformation begin? There’s no doubt the market drove advancements in digital technology, as marketers demanded solutions that would provide more relevant communications with their customers and prospects. Starting in 1994 with Don Peppers and Martha Rodgers in their book “The One to One Future,” this concept created an emphasis on personalized interactions with customers. Of course, these advancements (and the dream of true 1:1 marketing) were still years away until digital printing technology could offer higher speeds and affordable costs.
We kept an eye on the digital space for a number of years, looking for the convergence of print/color quality and affordability. Then we “got our feet wet” with short-run automated marketing programs delivering complex, highly-personalized, expected or requested communications using cut-sheet devices.
Now we have found a robust solution for large-scale direct mail in our partnership with Canon Solutions America (Océ). Their ColorStream® presses provide the speed and capacity needed for large volume digital mailings with the color fidelity our customers demand.
More conventional campaigns with minimal text variability and static images are still well supported by traditional production workflows like litho printed shells and monochrome personalization. However, targeted campaigns that have variable text and images truly benefit from digital technology. We use our digital printing capabilities to add both flexibility and value.
Those aren’t the only benefits. A digital production workflow better supports Enhanced Carrier Route Walk Sequence mail sortation for our customers using geographic marketing for their mailings. And as the merger between online and offline channels continues to evolve, IWCO Direct supports a range of print technologies that allow mail recipients to seamlessly access personalized online content.
With advancements in digital printing technology have come outstanding results. Our customers have seen repeat instances of triple-digit lift in gross response rate (GRR), and the overall success of direct mail has led to strong interest, testing and rollout from a number of industries including healthcare, insurance and telecommunications.
With an eye to further advance our digital capabilities, we continue to test other options to stay ahead of the evolving technology curve – and we’re excited about the addition of the following presses across our platform:
- Océ ColorStream 3900 in Hamburg, Pennsylvania (November 2013)
- Océ ColorStream 3900 in Chanhassen, Minnesota (January 2014)
- Two additional ColorStream 3900s (Later 2014)
The future looks bright for targeted direct mail campaigns and true 1:1 marketing. At IWCO Direct, we continue to take the lead by investing in the latest digital equipment and technologies. For a closer look at our digital presses in action, stop back tomorrow for a new video from Dave Johannes, Vice President of Digital Print and Mailing Operations.
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