Posts tagged print automation
Mail Print, a full-service printing and direct marketing company, is nearly doubling its Kansas City, Missouri facility from 40,000 square feet to 70,000 square feet in the Hunt Midwest Subtropolis located in the northeast region of Kansas City. The expansion is designed to support the merger completed earlier this year with Graphic Services Printing and L & L Manufacturing. The firm said its expansion includes a significant investment in equipment and technology and plans to create over 40 full-time jobs.
“We are excited about the future of print and integrated direct marketing services. The merger and addition of Larry Wittmeyer to our ownership group shows our commitment to growth and the future. ”Gina M. Danner, company CEO goes on to share, “Many people think that print is dead, but our experience shows that when print is integrated with online efforts like email, video, mobile and social media, organizations are able to drive more prospect and customer engagement. We know that when done right, integrated direct marketing makes our customers money.”
The state’s Department of Economic Development assisted Mail Print with its expansion plan, the Department of Economic Development and the City of Kansas City authorized a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment criteria.
Larry Wittmeyer, Vice President of Manufacturing at Mail Print goes on to say, “The EDC and Hunt Midwest were both instrumental in helping us navigate through the expansion plan. We are very excited to participate in the growth of our community.”
Expansion and reinvestment are not new to the company. In 2012 Mail Print underwent a $3 million round of equipment and technology investment and is looking at an investment round this year of similar size. Wittmeyer shares the vision, “Our goal is to create a leading edge organization that redefines the printed page in this region. By building on the vision set forth over the last 25 years by the Danner family, we are creating a company that drives customer engagement and delivers value to clients and team members.”
Mail Print is owned by Eric C. Danner, Gina M. Danner and Larry Wittmeyer, and today employs 90 team members.
About Mail Print
Mail Print specializes in the execution and delivery of complex, data-driven multi-channel direct marketing. Mail Print is a premier partner and test site for a number of equipment manufacturers and a variety of software providers. The company is also an industry leader in the latest direct marketing technologies, including Variable Data Printing, Personalized URLs, Web-to-Print and Print Automation workflows. Mail Print owns and operates a state of the art integrated technology and production facility and has served the direct mail and printing needs of the Midwest for over 25 years.
In his new book Digital Disruption, James McQuivey, a Forrester principal analyst, explains that technological advances are creating opportunities for more people to meet more customer needs than ever before at lower costs– and that is the essence of digital disruption.
While some businesses have been digitally disrupted, the ones listed below have been completely transformed by the digital age of media that has evolved over the past 20 years.
- The music business (YouTube, iTunes)
- Banking and insurance (online banking, photo deposits, digital signatures)
- Photography (film is nearly extinct)
- Retailing (bricks and mortar are now optional)
- Travel agencies (Orbitz, Expedia, Travelocity, Kayak)
- Newspaper and magazine publishing (online subscriptions)
- Telecoms (home phones are going extinct, VOIP)
According to McQuivey, digital disruption is about to completely change how companies do business. Digital tools and digital platforms are driving the cost of innovation down to nearly zero, causing at least 10 times as many innovators to rush into your market while operating at one-tenth the cost that you do.
This is one reason companies are hiring or stealing the brightest digital innovators in the marketplace like Jeff Hammerbacher, data entrepreneur, who was one of Facebook’s first employees and who is now the co-founder of Cloudera (a Silicon Valley software start-up).
IT, app and software geniuses are in demand today because of the need for companies to protect themselves against digital disruption. Companies needed the brightest and future-forward thinkers on board to retool their businesses to stay ahead of the just-in-time needs of their customers.
3 Ways Your Company Can Stay Ahead of Digital Disruption
Ever-advancing technology forces any company from a lube shop to an international airline to leverage technology to speak one-on-one with its customers and deliver competitive costs, convenient services and products that exceed their expectations.
Personalize Your Interactions. Using well-oiled and captured data enables you as a savvy marketer to send customer communications that are relevant and personalized. Whether you use highly personalized email or variable data print pieces your marketing can be extremely targeted. Consumers welcome personalized offers. They love that you know their likes and market accordingly. Are you using data-driven marketing to optimize your appeal to individual customers?
The Need for Speed. Real-time interactions separate the amateur from the pros in marketing and product delivery. Just look at Oreo’s response to the Super Bowl blackout as lesson #1.
Integrate and Automate. If you haven’t already integrated your marketing channels and platforms, you’re already at risk of digital disruption. Get all your customer contact points talking to one another seamlessly and then tap the power of marketing automation to extend your reach and shorten the time to market. Using sales force automation tools and your CRM (customer relationship management) system you can marketing in a trigger based fashion for maximum customer engagement.
If this post frightens you, perhaps it should. Talk to any CEO or CMO and ask them about their top concerns with the business and chances are disruption and marketing effectiveness will be in the top five. The good news is there are industry experts and talent on hand to help you transform and deliver. Unfortunately this is an endless process.
The 1980s Australian band, INXS (pronounced “in excess”) has yet to retire though critics plea that they reconsider. The band’s name summarizes the excesses of that period, which include plenty of waste in the marketing industry — mass mailings, print overruns, static, soon-to-be-tossed collateral pieces, and one-way, non-triggered communication.
The spoilage and fallout of living to extremes or marketing to the masses has led us to today’s fine-tuned world of print on demand, variable data printing (VDP), and print automation. The pendulum has swung toward tighter controls, two-way communications, well-timed incentives, and just enough materials to get the job done and the results needed. Are you working smart or stuck in the world of give me 5,000 pieces instead of the 4,500 pieces really needed because it only costs me another $50 printing, one-way conversations, all delivered through one-channel vs. highly engaging multi-media campaigns?
When executed with tightly refined parameters and a laser-focused prospect list, VDP with multi-channel marketing is the new sensation because it generates higher results despite the smaller reach in most instances. Today’s marketing tools and digital print pieces reduce the cost of print communication by as much as 90% —shaving off the bottom half of the pyramid below.
With print on demand, there is no need to warehouse materials and no inventory obsolescence. Supplement print on demand with print automation and you also omit the last three line items at the base of the pyramid: external creative, internal creative, and fulfillment/distribution.
Just in Time Printing Omits Waste
If you’ve ever had to throw away 7,000 image brochures because of a change in leadership, you’ve felt the pain of offset printing in today’s fast moving, ever-changing business climate. It is Murphy’s Law that as soon as the annual report or other key piece gets printed, something will already be out of date.
Refine Your List, Blanketing Populations is So 80s
If you haven’t determined who your customer is, you can spend a lot of money blanketing populations of people and be missing those potential customers who are actually interested in your business.
If you’re pulling data from your internal database for your mailings, make sure your data is scrubbed and solid. A data quality survey revealed:
- While 96.2 percent of organizations view data accuracy as an essential issue, nearly one-third of them don’t enforce it.
- More than half of the respondents claim that at least 6 percent or more of the important information in their database is inaccurate or completely missing.
- 63 percent of respondents say that five to thirty percent of their marketing budget is wasted as a result of bad data.
If you’re using an outside list company or broker for your marketing project, make sure it’s been cleaned or scrubbed (the process of detecting and removing or correcting any information in a database that has some sort of error).
Errors can be the result of human data entry error, merging of two databases, a lack of company-wide or industry-wide data coding standards, or due to old systems that contain inaccurate or outdated information.
When in doubt about the accuracy and deliverability of your list, hire a mailing expert or partner with a reputable mail house to provide:
- Data Normalization
- Data Migration
- USPS CASS-Certified Address Cleaning, Parsing (Splitting)
- USPS NCOA Processing, Duplicate Record Removal (AKA: “De-Dupe” or “Purge”), Data Standardization & Reformat
Finally, make sure you’re using the tools of the 21st century in your marketing practices today and have retired the shotgun approach of the 80s. This is a period of refinement, not excess.
As the economy shows signs of shifting in a more positive direction, many companies are revisiting direct marketing programs that were profitable years ago, but were cut during the height of the recession to reduce marketing budgets. Contrary to the boom years, most marketers are cost cautious these days when setting up programs. We are willing to try new things, or revisit the old, but not in the same way as the past.
As marketing practitioners, our fresh focus on marketing operations, marketing procurement and the marketing supply chain, have made us better business people and I contend, more successful marketers from an ROI perspective.
Print Automation is Less Sexy Than Email Automation, But Far Richer in Opportunity for Cost Reduction
Print automation is a fairly new term in the industry and a clear success story for early adopters. Some would label print automation simply as traditional print and direct mail, but with cost saving enhancements related to how print can be procured and deployed. Marketing automation, a much more widely used and accepted term, is related, but most often focuses only on email automation and never sees the full deployment and integration of print into the marketing automation mix. Although this article focuses solely on educating business leaders on print automation, full marketing automation that incorporates all channels, is the ultimate aspiration.
Want to learn what the print automation buzz is about? Watch this video to see how you can implement a print automation strategy in your company. It includes three real-life stories to help you determine if your print and direct mail is poised for a move to automation: