At Fidelity, we have made sure that we have kept pace through investment in the latest digital and print technologies and understanding the capabilities and resulting benefits of putting them into practice.
Printing has been around for over 500 years and in that time, whilst the technology has changed, the basic principle of acquiring print has not; the general rule being that the more copies of a document you print the cheaper each unit becomes.
This is due to the high initial set up charges of traditional litho printing where it is only fractionally more expensive to order 1,500 than 1,000. But this over-ordering of print to get lower unit costs can create a tremendous amount of waste and obsolescence. This is very costly when you consider not only the initial high capital outlay but also the cost of reprinting new up to date materials. Typically, 25 per cent of colour marketing print goes to waste through obsolescence. The print industry has done a good job of educating the market to buy print in this way, but times have changed and a number of factors have created a large demand for a new way to both buy and use print. Working with reduced budgets, faster moving products and markets and the need for better and more relevant communication with customers and end consumers are all influencing the modern day marketers.
The good news is that there is an alternative - digital printing. A digital press is a bit like a huge industrial version of a copier or desktop laser printer. It takes a print ready file straight from computer and it allows businesses to order what they need, when they need it – it’s called print on demand. Digital printing offers a similar unit price for short runs to what you would be paying for much longer runs with litho, depending on volume and job specification. In addition, the quality of digital print has improved immensely and is no longer seen as the lesser quality alternative to litho.
And new digital web to print systems allow businesses to manage their print in a more efficient and cost effective way via a web portal 24/7, so each transaction can be managed and tracked online allowing for fast turnaround and tight control of budgets. Marketing portals, as they are now commonly referred to, can store all of a business’s marketing materials and operational print documents in an online library from where you (or employees, agents, distributors, franchisees or any other permission-based user) can quickly and easily choose, customise, proof and order printed materials. A simple example would be the ordering of business cards – which is made so much easier if the business card template is online and the user enters in the person’s details and clicks order – you can order as many or as few as you need and there’s no need to wait until you have enough names to make the print run cost-effective.
But this is just the tip of the iceberg because, with personalised digital printing, each page of a brochure can be personalised or versioned for a particular market or product or even down to an individual customer. We are all different, so why shouldn’t you communicate with your customers in a more personal manner? Imagine you are in the market for a car: you go on to the manufacturer’s website for details and specifications including trim and colour; as you’re doing this, in the background, the website is building your unique and personalised brochure to be digitally printed that day and posted out to you. The completed brochure will contain your name, the actual car you have specified, the trim and the colour you desire. Whilst this may sound futuristic it’s not – it is happening in the world today and by using this type of technology many marketers are improving their print communications.
The very latest application of digital print technology that Fidelity is using to help customers improve their marketing campaign success is to integrate digital print with other communication channels such as email, personalised websites (purls) and SMS to create multimedia campaigns that drive response and increase that all important return on investment.