domingo, 15 de março de 2009

Trends in printing, Print 2.0 generation

We see a trend in printing technology to use also the electronic media support. For most of the conventional media, printing technology continues to be offset lithography.
Digital printing was considered has having less quality then offset. This is not an issue anymore. From print buyer´s perception, only 25% consider it as unacceptable. In fact, most of the print jobs can be done with new digital technology equipment with an offset quality, except in a few cases. There are new tools like System Brunner´s Proof Check (1) that can measure color and adjust parameters quickly.
What can increase quality perception of a printed job is more the finishing options available, like “UV coating, foil stamping, embossing or die cutting on the front or the cover”. (2)
Actually the unit cost of digital printing is still higher then offset technology, but for short runs the digital printing is a better solution, mainly due to the high cost of make-ready for the offset. We can estimate the “breakeaven” number of copies as around 5.000 impressions.
This is the playing field of most of the mailing campaigns.
What is the challenge for publishers and marketers in general is to differentiate and segment in order to avoid what is the “junk mail” we receive in our mail boxes.
In the words of Kottler (3) “when direct mail is at its worst, it consists of a cold mailing to a list of names and addresses with the hope of hitting a 1 to 2 percent response. The response is low because the message doesn´t go to people with a need for the product or arrive at the time they need it”.
In particular, the capability of building cross-demand marketing intelligence will be the key to succeed in creating effective mailing campaigns. To attract users to personalized URL landing pages, not only gives them a value added perception but also enables to build more information about users, accounting the time they were in the page, the way they navigate, retrieving their detailed preferences. This marketing intelligence will generate lead reports for sales representatives, measuring return on investment and also enabling the “perfect” additional mailing services required with the variable data needed for each particular person or profile.
Variable Data Printing, personalized printing and versioned printing can be used with the same meaning but it can go in different levels of complexity. Frank Romano´s report (4), classifies it in four major categories.

Publication on demand: Multipage documents, bound books, photo books, booklets
Mail merge: Name, address, salutation
Versioning: Integration of static pages with personalized pages
Full variable: Merge text data from a database and an image database. Images are selected according to a predefined profile

The range of substrates for digital printing are also expanding and paper suppliers offer now several coated, uncoated, light weight and heavy weight papers (5).
The right combination of papers, digital or offset printing, intersection of print with electronic solutions, innovation and design of marketing programs together with expertise on database and incorporating business intelligence to better personalize and target the marketing campaign is the trend for the future.

(1) Proof Checker, Measuring the “Offset Quality” Claims of Digital Presses, Seybold Report, October 23, 2008.
(2) Digital Printing Directions, Trends and Opportunities, Frank Romano, 2008.
(3) Philip Kottler, Marketing Insights from A to Z, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003.
(4) Digital Printing Directions, Trends and Opportunities, Frank Romano, 2008.
(5) UPM DIGI papers, UPM-Kymmene digital papers, http://www.upm-kymmene.com/

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