More advanced offset shells may include some generic marketing images or text, but the traditional—and still rather commonplace—view of inkjet color is that the technique is fine for transactional highlighting, but inadequate for more demanding marketing-based applications where coated substrates and high ink density have traditionally challenged high speed inkjet. Consequently, personalization is often limited to basic content and text rather than graphics and images.
The stark truth is that offset shell usage is anchoring businesses to the past, preventing communications from truly taking off and, ultimately, resulting in wasted spending. Forward-thinking organisations are recognizing that investment in today’s continuous inkjet is not simply a matter of cost-per-print. Rather, the latest technology is driving a completely new approach to communication production, one that frees businesses to better engage customers through personalization and drive business growth.
A simple test of current communication efficiency and effectiveness is to ask some simple questions:
- As a marketer, can you target small groups or individuals as part of a large campaign?
- Can you do small test campaigns quickly and at low cost?
- Can you simultaneously run multiple campaigns across different brands and still obtain full postal discount?
- Can you create fast response communications when needed?
- Can you apply your full CRM data profile to individuals or groups?
- Can you run campaigns in conjunction with your billing/statement runs without laborious IT-based changes?
- Does your outsourced print service bureau or in-house print facility minimize waste and reduce handling and storage costs?
- Can you add relevant messaging and personalization to your envelopes to draw the customer inside?
- Can you ensure lower postage costs by printing your message on transactional document white space rather than adding inserts to your existing envelopes?
- Do you gain the maximum postal discounts?
If the answer to any of the above is “no” then there is an immediate justification to further explore the potential of inkjet technology. Today’s print engines, finishing technology, and sophisticated workflow software have the flexibility and finesse to truly deliver on the age-old promise of one-to-one, personalized messaging. Communication becomes a multi-channel, two-way process that extends way beyond the initial contact.
It is precisely this sophistication that is driving the white paper factory strategy—the process by which highly targeted business communications are created from plain white paper via a workflow that is automated from end-to-end. The freedom afforded by such a communications set-up is extraordinary, leading to dramatic improvements in terms of quality, control, integrity, and postal optimization.
Take Another Look at Inkjet
The old ideas around inkjet capability are just that—old. Not all inkjets are created the same, but the most advanced technology is now capable of delivering superb, near offset quality print at high-speed, enabling 100 percent variable content, including envelope messaging, within a secure environment.
Undoubtedly, many print and mail buyers are unaware that their current service is failing to deliver an optimized return on investment. It is all too easy to stick with existing technology—perhaps fearing the price of change—but this is false economy.
Potentially, these buyers could switch technologies and immediately pay less for a vastly improved level of service and enhanced flexibility. But short-term cost-savings—although welcome—are only part of the story. The reality is that full color printing is establishing itself as a communication must. Investment into high-end inkjet technology is significant, but it is an investment that delivers a long lasting payback. Measurement is not in money saved through cost per page, but rather in the enduring customer loyalty and business growth generated through more engaging and dynamic communications.
Those businesses not adapting to the increasing demands and expectations of customers for smarter, clearer, more convenient communications will ultimately pay the biggest cost.