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Dove Direct Print & Marketing Blog - “Digital Printing Changes the Marketing Mix”

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Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today’s post, “Digital Printing Changes the Marketing Mix” revisits the advances made in the digital printing universe that provides the reasoning behind the resurgence of print. Thanks to technological advances with digital printing, the marketing world has come full circle in acknowledging the importance and use of digitally generated print collateral within marketing and advertising initiatives. As a result, digital printing has become the driving force associated with delivering better ROI, including higher engagement rates when directing prospects to online destinations.

Similar to computer and app generated online/digital creative, digital printing is also computer file driven, including database interactivity. This means that computer generated digital print raw files contain all the capacity to restore and/or edit that last print job in a manner that is consistent with digital collateral editing provisions created on computers.

What Makes Digital Printing So effective?

By definition, digital printing provides the capability to ditch the old offset print presses and replace those four color separation printing setup plates with a more streamlined approach using digitally generated images. Digital printing offers a computer generated technique whereby offset print plates are replaced by the capability to print native digital imagery directly onto and across a multifarious assortment of media substrates.

Substrates are the collective mixture of print surfaces that can be printed upon. These substrates vary widely with printable surfaces such as paper types, photo paper, canvas, fabrics, synthetics, card stock files and others. Desktop publishing files such as PDFs generated from graphical apps such as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop and others provide a direct upload functionality in that these files can be dispatched directly to a number of digital printing presses.

By its very nature, digital printing’s effectiveness can be realized with quick turnaround jobs, more cost efficient short runs, the ability to print on demand and most importantly, the offshoot for personalization in the context of variable digital printing (VDP). We are now living in the age of personalization, whereby marketing collateral, either online or in the form of printed collateral, is the key to generating heightened engagement and response rates. Generic offerings that fail to address the real person as opposed to a personalized delivery generally produce lower or substandard responses.

VDP, an offshoot of digital printing technology provides brands and marketers with the capability to create personalized digital print creative, which can include names, addresses, zipcodes, purchasing habits, demographics, ethnicities, and the list goes on as far as the collected content a database can provide. This VDP personalization technique stemming from digital printing technology has become ubiquitous among brands and marketers looking for that response and conversion rate edge. VDP is a huge contributor as to why digital printing has become so effective in the age of all things digital.

Digital Printer Types

As you can probably imagine, there are a plethora of digital printing presses. Depending on the job requirement, this assortment of digital printing presses can handle a wide array of job requirements. For example, a number of manufacturers such as iGen, Xerox, HP, Nuvera, Versant and D series production printers can provide sheet-fed production printing, cut-sheet digital presses, continuous feed, including production inkjet printers. Continuous feed and production inkjet presses also have a nice assortment of manufacturers, ranging from Impika, Brenva, Xerox, CiPress, Rialto and Trivor.

Depending on the job type, we recommend that you consult with commercial printers to determine which digital printing press is best suited for the job. It’s also a great idea to introduce your chosen commercial printer to your brand, thus giving the printer enough detailed information to arrive at creative solutions to best fit your marketing strategy.

Digital Printing Ink Types

The types of digital printing inks are now far more interesting beyond the customary cyan, magenta, yellow and black (CMYK) toner. Thanks to digital technology, the color spectrum has grown exponentially to include colors such as orange, blue and green, as well as, a variety of specialty dry inks for clear, white or metallic effects.

Now when you add the other digital printing assets such as die cuts, folds, embossed or debossed techniques to your print job, in combination with new color choices, this provides a new tactile experience that transcends vocal and visual assets. When prospects can feel and touch something, that experience becomes elevated in the human sensory channels.

Digital Printing Advantages

We contend that one-size-does-not-fit-all when it comes to printing. The job type will dictate which printing press should be utilized, either a digital printing press or an offset press. Both the offset press and digital press have advantages and disadvantages. Digital printing presses are known for the following advantages:

  • Print only the amount you need, on demand
  • Print a minimum of 1, 25 or 75 pieces thus reducing quantity limits
  • Black and white digital printing is less expensive
  • Setup costs are reduced for short runs
  • Digital quality has improved thanks to advanced technology

  • VDP database provides names, addresses, codes, numbering and more which can be inserted with the click of a mouse

Conversely, offset print also offers advantages, particularly when it comes to big jobs that require the best color reproduction. (Note: digital printing technology quality is rapidly approaching par with offset presses) That said, offest printing presses offer the following advantages for the time being:

  • The price per piece drops with higher print volumes
  • Custom finishes can be applied to a wide variety of paper types
  • Metallic and Pantone colors are available as well as other custom ink treatments
  • Sizeable quantities are able to effectively reduce expenses
  • Print quality at its highest quality output, including matchless detail and superb color fidelity

Therefore, if your job requires a substantial number of printed pieces at the highest output quality, then offset should be the way to go. However, if short runs, on demand, or VDP requirements fit the job specs, then by all means, it’s digital printing all the way.

Choosing a Commercial Digital Printing House

There are a number of commercial digital printing houses in nearly every county and zip code across the U.S.  When you are looking to choose a digital printing organization, there are a number of considerations that are on the table. For example, does the commercial printer print all jobs on site or are they outsourcing jobs to another print house? If they are, then odds are strong your price point will be raised to include the price of the secondary print house. Therefore, it's a good idea to compare prices for print houses that print onsite versus those who outsource jobs to larger houses.  In the event you discover that the print house is outsourcing a job, it may be possible for you to identify the print house that is the recipient of the outsourced job.

Let’s say your job requirement is based on VDP. Typically, variable digital printing collateral is meant to be mailed to the intended recipients. Therefore, is your job going to be output by a printing house and then delivered to your offices requiring your staff to deliver the collateral to the USPS?

In the instance of using VDP collateral to be mailed, you may want to consider saving time and money by selecting a printing house that can both create VDP collateral and mail the final product to the intended recipients direct from the printing shop. This process ensures an end-to-end solution that saves resources, cost and time.

The Net-Net

Digital printing continues to be a formidable marketing tool in the age of all things digital. Digital printing’s VDP technology falls in lock step with any marketing initiative looking to add the personalization asset to the marketing mix. Digital printing also offers something digital online marketing fails to deliver, and that is touch and feel, and to that end, nothing compares to a tactile customer experience. Happy Digital Printing Inclusion with your Next Marketing Campaign!

Let’s have a conversation about direct mail strategies, printing, print software, transactional documents, variable digital printing, brand equity and unified marketing collateral during our next Open House. We invite you to join us on Thursday, July 26th, 2018, anytime between 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. Let us show you how to improve your document processes to optimize your workflow, reduce your costs, and maximize your organization’s printing, letter shop and mailing capabilities. Dove Direct does have an official USPS certified bureau located within our offices that will save you time and money. And, if you bring us your files, we will create a demo file for you. For more information call Carla Eubanks at 404-629-0122 or email Carla at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider offers organizations end-to-end data, printing and mailing solutions: Data Management, Variable Digital Printing, LetterShop and Fulfillment, Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau, Marketing and Production Management Support and Secure Data Life Cycle Management.

If you don't want to wait for the Open House, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the contact form for Dove Direct.

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Leland Hicks is the CTO of MatterMax Media, a digital marketing agency that provides business strategy, web design, social media management and training.  He can be reached at lahicks@mattermaxmedia.com