All posts by Caroline

Caroline is a Director at Digital Print Management, a leading print management company specialising in providing print and mailing solutions. Having spent 25 years in the transpromo industry she is one of the UK's leading expert's in print and mail solutions.

Why print matters more than ever

When the PM announced the gradual easing of Lockdown 3.0, UK businesses aim to come back to normality greener and environmentally sustainable.

Print matters more than ever.

Why print matters more than ever
Print still retains an important place in our everyday lives

The government announced several new initiatives to encourage the UK to commit to ensuring that within the next ten years, the UK will be at the forefront of the green revolution and accelerate our progress to net zero emissions by 2050.

As we endured the first lockdown, there were visible improvements in air quality due to fewer emissions and less noise pollution.

As we return to everyday life, it won’t be long before air pollution reaches pre-pandemic levels.

What about the print industry?

The print industry continues to be at the forefront of sustainability and works tirelessly to be greener.

There are still misconceptions about the sustainability of print, notably e-communications and false messages like Go Green, Go paperless and save trees are regular messages you see on the foot of an email or a household bill.

The truth is that print is highly sustainable.

Paper is a renewable and sustainable product; the raw material is wood and is grown and harvested while being carefully controlled and managed sustainably.

In 2018 the European recycling rate for paper was 72% and was recycled on average 3.5 times a year.

The European pulp and paper industry is the biggest single user and producer of renewable energy in Europe. 60% of the European pulp and paper mills energy consumption comes from renewable sources.

What about digital?

Why print matters more than ever
Digital communications are having a significant impact on our environment

The ICT ecosystem of our ever-increasing digital world is having a significant impact on the environment.

The ICT creates 2.5% – 3% of global greenhouse emissions and is predicted to rise to 14% by 2040.

53% of the world’s carbon emissions produced from the extraction of the raw materials needed to make the customary hi-tech gadgets we use every day of our lives is the world’s fastest-growing waste products.

Electronic and digital communications are not necessarily the utopia businesses believe it is?

Many print manufacturers have excellent environmental accreditations and processes in place and, in many instances, lead the way to increased sustainability.

There is always more that we can do, and manufacturing produces by-products; it’s the nature of the process.

Surprisingly print and paper still get a bad rap.

Reading a book is taboo because innocent trees are cut down.

And, as for Direct mail, do we need it if search engines garner the information we want?

Ignorance of the nature of paper and print doesn’t help the cause.

Why does print still matter?

Despite this, the industry is recognised as being one of the most accredited and audited to high internationally recognised standards, including ISO 14001, FSC and PEFC.

Print companies recognise the need to go carbon neutral using vegetable-based inks to replace harmful chemicals.

In addition, innovative technologies continue to make printing presses more eco-friendly by reducing chemicals and emissions from the process.

With many suffering from digital overload and burn out consuming information on paper is more relaxing and less stressful.

Installing solar panels to generate power, recycling, reusing and supporting the local environment.

In 2018, the European recycling rate for paper was 72%, and the paper industry is aiming for 74%. Paper is recycled on average 3.5 times a year in Europe.

However, paper can only be recycled a few times before the fibres are too short and worn out, so virgin fibre will always be needed.

The European pulp and paper industry is the biggest single user and producer of renewable energy in Europe.

60% of European pulp and paper mills’ energy consumption comes from renewable sources.

Worldwide total emissions generated by emails is estimated to be 300 million tonnes of CO2 a year – equivalent to the annual emissions of 63 million cars.

(Source: Twosides.info)

The next time you give paper and print a condescending stare, show some support.

Doing so means you’re supporting more than 140,000 employees in 10,500 companies who are committed to being greener and who commit to the longevity of print and paper.

Imagine a world without it?

Further reading for you

Why you need a print management strategy

Payslip Printing

Hybrid mail

6 reasons to use hybrid mail whilst businesses are locked down

With COVID-19 effectively putting the UK on an unprecedented lockdown, businesses have been preparing themselves to maintain business as usual.

Our print-2-mail hybrid mail solution services are providing much-needed support to businesses whose employees are working from home but still need to print and mail important customer letters and transactional documents.Hybrid mail

Why now?

The coronavirus is forcing many to work from home.

The problem is how do businesses continue to maintain contact with their employees and customers?

Companies who choose our Print-2-Mail service do so because it significantly reduces their costs while optimising key staff who create critical business documents, uploading them on to the Print-2-Mail portal saving time and worry.

After the recession in 2008, companies were forced to look for cheaper mailing alternatives.

And although there was a big swing toward electronic communications, companies needed an alternative for mailing smaller volumes of letters.

Businesses continue to mail out letters.

Hybrid mailThe running costs of managing the process in-house makes it expensive. It is one of the first areas a company looks at when streamlining its printing requirements.

Automating the process of print and mailing offers companies the flexibility to send paper communications alongside digital.

Hybrid mail is ideal for emergency and ad hoc customer mailings including payslips, invoices, statements, remittances, newsletters and marketing.

Hybrid mail is the perfect back up solution for your everyday needs.

Businesses have greater flexibility to upload letters at any time of the day.

The current stay-at-home measures from the government afford access to our hybrid mail portal by key employees which mean businesses can continue to mail out important letters.Hybrid Mail

What are the 6 key benefits:-

  1. No installation is required (you will need to download a print driver) A username, password and an internet connection are all that is required to upload documents directly from your desktop and you can be up and running in a matter of minutes.
  2. With no setup charges or licensing fees, hybrid mail can save upwards of  30% on office print and mailing costs. Hybrid mail costs less than a 2nd class stamp and includes the paper, envelope, printing folding, inserting and posting
  3. Ease of use – Hybrid mail is simple to use there are four easy steps create the documents in word and hybrid mail does the rest.
  4. Hybrid mail is ideal for companies that have branches located across the country. Departments can access specific documents and templates which means there is complete control over what is sent out and by whom.
  5. Documents that are uploaded by 4 pm on a working day are printed and mailed the same day this means you don’t have to panic about that forgotten mailing. Hybrid mail does the rest.
  6. Hybrid mail allows you to store any number of document templates, you also benefit from postcode validation, user and department spending caps, custom signatures and document archiving for future reference.

The important thing to consider with hybrid mail is that no matter the size of the organisation or how many documents you send out a day you WILL benefit from our hybrid mail solution.

Hybrid mail is a 21st-century mailing solution designed to take care of those ad hoc letters – whether it is an accountancy business, a firm of solicitors, a dental practice, a fitness company or an organisation that sends most information electronically but still has residual letters and bills to send out, hybrid mail is a cost-effective alternative to printing in-house.

For more information click here

Contact us here

Digital detox does it work and can it reduce stress levels

My six weeks of digital detox

There isn’t a day that goes by without reading the future of communications is digital and interactive, heck, I should know I am in the business of delivering communications in the form of payslips, letters, invoices, cheques, statements sent to customers either in digital or paper format.Digital detox

Earlier this year I felt I had reached online overload. The internet, social media, blogging, Instagramming, Facebooking I felt overwhelmed and under so much pressure because being online is an important aspect of business marketing.

I needed a digital detox.

When the school summer holidays finally arrived I made the decision to go offline.

Oddly it wasn’t even a conscious decision more a case of I just couldn’t be bothered or see the point, I had lost all desire and I really wanted to get away from the falseness of social media and shut down.

iStock_000012614300XSmallI read dozens of articles about how too much time being online and in front of a screen are bad for you and so I thought I would share with you what I did as I tried to get off the so called social media treadmill and re-energise my life.

My eldest son and my husband noticed an improvement in their eyesight because they were spending more time outside rather than stuck in front of a screen for 8-10 hours’ a day.

My decision was vindicated when I happened to find Ofcom’s communications market report which in a nutshell described how internet users were becoming tired of being online.

This report validated my choice of staying offline during the summer holiday.

According to the report 15,000,000 of us have undertaken a ‘digital detox’ with the report highlighting the need for people to seek time away from the internet and spend time with friends and family.

One in three adult internet users (34%) has sought a period of time offline, 25% spent up to a day internet free, 20% took a week off and 5% went web free for almost a month.

According to the report many people had said that being offline was liberating.

I can certainly vouch for that after all, this isn’t world breaking news.

social media = an always on culture

Our work and lifestyle means we are always on

Getting away from online digital distractions and having the opportunity of an extended summer holiday allowed me to get in touch with the real world.

I fell out of the everyday work routine and made a few changes which, had a huge beneficial impact on my mind and body.

Whether your are a director, manager of a business, overseeing a department of people, ensuring smooth operations, whatever the business or your job title does not give you the option of turning everything off. Customer emails and calls need to be responded too, a complete ‘digital detox’, in other words, turning everything off completely isn’t feasible.

Faster internet access enables us to be better connected than ever before, three in four of internet users (75%) consider the web intrinsic to their everyday lives and adult users in the UK spend an average of one day per week, approximately 25 hours online.

59% of internet users consider themselves compulsively connected to their devices and 34% find it difficult to disconnect.

I had unwittingly become one of those compulsive phone checkers, grabbing the phone every time it pinged.

Everything we do has an effect on us either physically, mentally and emotionally.

In Noel Janis-Norton’s book “Calmer, Easier, Happier Screen Do you have a favourite child?Time” she highlights the negative effects of screen time on children, she writes:

“Screen time is one aspect of our children’s lifestyle that parents worry about the most and often feels powerless to do anything about.

Children are affected by every aspect of electronics: how much screen time they have, what they are doing in front of the screen, when and where they do it and with whom. All of these factors will influence a child’s mood, her behaviour, what she thinks about herself and her family, her friends and her teachers.”

Although the book primarily talks about screen time for children; the same is applicable to adults.  We are more likely to be in front of a screen and online for significantly longer periods during the working day than children.

  • Too much screen time means we are more sedate, we move less, we burn less calories and this has resulted in us being overweight and unfit than the last generation.
  • Nutrition is affected, screens are absorbing which leads to mindless eating of junk food. It is much easier to grab high sugar, high fat snacks rather than make a nutritious meal.
  • Being on the screen for longer than four hours results in lower levels of well being
  • Screen use affects the brain like a drug to the point where we are demotivated to do anything else other than stay in front of the screen

And I had fallen into the same additive, compulsive routine of being online from the moment I wake up ‘checking in’ to going to bed and ‘checking out’.

Omnipresent, but, in reality I wasn’t ‘there’ it took this summer vacation to make me realise how much I overuse technology.

Death_to_stock_photography_weekend_work (7 of 10)Over use of the internet – reading my daily online newspaper, magazines, flitting through Pinterest, Facebook timelines, posting on Twitter and uploading photos to Instagram even going to the loo with my iPad in tow.

What made my internet overuse more evident was my children’s apparent lack of interest and attention because they too were absorbed with their devices.

Rather than switching everything off I developed a digital routine for the holidays which, has now become part of my working life habit.

  1. Check emails first thing when rising in the morning, lunchtime and finally after the evening meal. I worked in the morning before heading to the beach between 1-2PM. Back at work I follow the same routine.
  2. I chose to stay off social media altogether only posting fun things to Facebook and Instagram but allowed myself the occasional timed 15 minutes online(approximately 5 times in 6 weeks) when I would check notifications and respond to any conversation I thought was interesting or funny. Back at work I still haven’t gone back online fully but my intention is to do 20 minutes whilst I cook the evening meal. This routine does not disrupt my working day and ensures that I don’t get absorbed by social media wasting work time.
  3. I muted the phone and set it on vibrate so I couldn’t hear the notification ping but would know if there was a call. This hasn’t changed other than when I am available I will turn the mute button off.

What changed for me?

I read four books, caught up on reading a whole host of other stuff, had many conversations on the beach with my family when we walked, I exercised daily, cleared my mind out fully, discovered and now use a great app called ‘Headspace’.DeathtoStock_EnergyandSerenity4-672x372

I had changed. I feel more calm and relaxed than I have done in a long time. I regrouped, reconnected with the real world, had face to face conversations and heated discussions, I telephoned customers and friends instead of emailing and saved a heap of time.

Digital detoxing is like being on a diet, you work hard to achieve your desired weight only to start back on the bad eating habits once you reach your goal.

Totally switching off from the internet and the online world is impractical, I would love to, permanently, save for ordering from Amazon.

There are more advantages to using the internet than there are disadvantages, the key is breaking the habit so it doesn’t seep into your life insidiously, like kicking a smoking habit, small steps that are sustainable and achievable.

Like many of you I thought that “I really didn’t use the internet that much, not really, but I did”.

The best of 2015. From interactive print to multichannel

My final blog post to round up 2015. Digital detox

Like you, I’m sure you are sitting at your desk wondering how this year came and went. Sure scares the heck out of me.

Although the world has been troubled and unstable, marketing, social media and print are holding their own.

2015 has been about making content and marketing work better through cross-media marketing and personalisation.

Interactive print to cross media

Companies are waking up to the idea that it isn’t good enough to email or send a generic marketing piece print or electronic.

It is about understanding your audience and knowing how to ensure that they get the information they need.

I read a lot about ‘big data’ how organisations need to monopolise data capture and customer data to get the sales pitch right.

No one really knows what big data is and what impact it is having, yet.

In reality, big data is a load of data that has been captured either digitally or via traditional methods, like direct mail, web, social media interactions and then entered into a CRM type system.

Then what? How do you harvest that data and make use of it?

multichannel servicesMy posts this year focussed on the importance of using print with digital methods of communication, ensuring the customer has the choice of how they choose to receive information.

Augmented Reality is still in its infancy largely optimised by magazines, newspapers and larger organisations.

I expect to see this develop as we see the benefits of reading something in the physical world before being transported into the digital world.

In March I introduced you to multichannel services – what is it and what are the benefits.

Multichannel marketing is the ability to interact with customers on a number of different platforms giving the customer the choice.

multichannel servicesMultichannel service works similarly allowing customers to simultaneously access their transactional information like invoices, statements and payslips online or being given the choice of receiving a physical printed document.

What makes multichannel so appealing is that information can be accessed via a smartphone and I wrote about the benefits of it here.

In July, I reported on the Royal Mail’s findings following a survey they conducted into email and print marketing.Stacked Mail

There is a genuine misconception that print is on the decline but the report found when used in conjunction with email marketing it is an effective marketing tool.

I’ve tried to convey during the year that we don’t need to be solely in the digital world we can make use of paper and print.

Customers want to be able to access information on a variety of devices when they want to and not be forced into making a choice.

Print and digital work well together, print is now the first touchpoint before the consumer is taken into the digital world via QR codes or AR (Augmented Reality).

qr code on smartphone screenPrint use to be the end of a marketing campaign now it is the start of a journey for the consumer to make a purchase.

One of the services we provide at Digital Print Management is our Print-2-Mail service.

It is a cost and time-effective way for companies to mail out residual statements and invoices, for those customers that won’t or can’t accept electronic equivalents.

One of the reasons hybrid mail is so useful is the ability to upload documents from your desktop anytime and anywhere, assuming the connection is good.

We take care of the rest and it is cheaper than doing it in house.

In November I attended a really interesting seminar on the transformation of print in an ever changing world.

Unsurprisingly speakers from big organisations including Sky were adamant that print plays a crucial role in their marketing initiatives.

Far from being dead, print is not better than digital it is simply another way of consuming information and is demographic dependent.

Producing content means that we really do need to think about where our audience is, are they mobile, internet-based?

Marketing departments have to produce content that is digestible on all platforms from print to web, online and social media.

I end where I started, in my penultimate blog ‘the future of interactive print’.

I emphasise the importance of using print as well as electronic means of communication by optimising new technologies such as interactive print (AR).

Making content come alive on the page is a fun way to engage with an audience that is continually bombarded with mass information.

Wherever you consume information and whatever your thoughts on print and digital the argument will continue.

Our world is forever fast-paced and we are bombarded with information.

Winding down with a good book or magazine without the distractions of pop up ads and links takes us away from reality and into a place of calm and slowness.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my posts this year and I appreciate the time you have taken to read and share my content.

I hope that they have been useful.

From all of us at Digital Print Management…

Final look at 2015 from cross media to hybrid mail

Print or digital? Do we really need to choose?

The future of interactive print

In my penultimate blog for 2015, I take a look at how interactive print can take us from the physical into the online world and make the content we read more fun and entertaining. Print or digital? Do we really need to choose?

In the post, the transformation of print in a multi-channel world, I showcased innovations that are available and essentially transform print into a work of digital art.

I highlighted that print isn’t dead.

Like many, I live in the digital and physical world of online and print consuming content determined by where I am, what I’m doing and how much time I have.

Print has been doggedly fighting new digital technology and innovations, from email marketing to online banking there can be no disputing the fact that print dominance has gradually been eroded by new forms of media.

Why have the paper version when the mobile option makes it truly portable and flexible?

multichannelDespite this, there is a growing reluctance to admit that email and online marketing never reached their full potential, with many of us reaching saturation point with overflowing inboxes and junk e-marketing.

Increased awareness of the environmental impact of technology, print is seeing a resurgence particularly in direct mail and there is a real desire for the printed word.

Is print seen as the naughty boy?

I hear comments like oh, print is finished or we’ve cut right back on all our printed items.

Why not look at print differently?

Utilise new technology to deliver the advantages of traditional print but incorporate the latest digital innovations that take print from paper into the digital world.

You can read more about that here.

Only 10 to 15 years ago print was seen as a traditional safe way of delivering communications.

Consumer habits change almost daily.

We use a wide range of devices to access information from apps, to social media to contactless and apple pay purchasing, how humans digest information is fragmented.

Audiences switch between smartphone, tablet to PC to view and purchase this makes it difficult for the marketing manager to create campaigns that engage with their customers.

Technology has helped marketers and brands to understand their audiences and target them with personalised information suitable for them.

We are reliant on mobile technology and there is a generation of young people who have little interaction with print and I think it is very important that we don’t lose print altogether.

The challenge for the print industry is to be able to reinvent itself through new innovations like augmented reality/layar technology and capitalise on these developments by making print truly interactive so the printed word speaks to you.

In the past five years, there have been significant developments in digital technology working with print.

AR (augmented reality) transforms print into interactive content with videos and more digital content.

Layar was one of the early mobile augmented reality browsers to come to market in 2009 providing augmented reality and interactive print bridging the gap between print and the digital world.

Being able to scan items with the Layar logo like magazines, newspapers, movie posters and more, print is brought to life enriched with videos, web content, links to social media, websites and purchasing.

Layar is now part of the Blippar group and according to their website have had more than 46 million downloads by consumers who are keen to digest more content both from print and digital.

Video on demand gives marketing and brands the opportunity to deliver highly personalised advertising and content.

Think BMW or Mercedes Benz highly targeted and personalised print and digitalprint advertising with AR; the user scans and views how the car performs.

After you’ve visited the showroom, expressed an interest in a particular make and model, marketing then send you a highly interactive personalised piece of direct mail allowing you to scan and view the content.

Imagine how engaging that is for the recipient if combined with a limited discount offer or free servicing.

A badly designed print item will deliver a poor result much the same with interactive print, simply adding interactive content to a poorly designed print item won’t yield good results.

But create a great bit of print and then add an engaging interactive video or content that will deliver great results.

print and digital

The challenge for the print and marketing industry is not solely the creation of content to drive revenue but encouraging the adoption of interactive content as another touch point for the audience.

Educating marketers to use interactive print and digital that will link all their marketing channels and engage with an otherwise fragmented audience is the challenge to making print interactive and engaging in the long term.

process automation

How to make multichannel work and add value to your business?

Giving your employees and your customers the choice to access documents online or view them in a physical format ensures they have a preference to choose what is best for their needs. Multichannel How it works

When organisations deliver multichannel communications they are moving into a complex world of communication delivery. The customer is the primary target.

How do organisations decide what to send by email, print and mail?

How do you understand what your customer’s preferences are?

And, how do you integrate paper and digital so they work effectively?

How do you make sure that the document flow is secure and document storage available so the employee and the customer has a record of the document in both the paper and a digital format?

Business documents need to be accurate, timely and easy to digest, get it wrong and the invoice isn’t paid or worse still the document is misplaced.

Get this wrong and you have an unhappy customer and a miserable workforce.

Communications is about making the working environment a positive one for its employees; this is reflected onto the customer.

Customers and employees want to be able to engage on the media channels they like whether it’s an SMS, mobile/smartphone, call centre, post, email and web portal.

Ensuring your audience is updated and informed regularly takes time and a dedicated HR and marketing department.

Regional and remote work locations communicating with employees is a real business challenge.

Removing paper communications with access online is a surefire way of alienating your workforce and your customers.

Many employees and consumers feel more comfortable on mobile devices but it is important to be able to deliver both a paper and digital version of the same document.

65% of customers who prefer paper bills and statements would consider defecting to a competitor or would leave straightaway if a company removes that choice. 29% of customers who prefer to receive information electronically would consider moving if the option to receive paper statements was removed.

If data can be supplied for printing, that very same data can be used to generate the digital version of the same document.

MultiChannel

How does multichannel add value to your business?

New technology allows companies to deliver transactional documents both on and offline to meet different customer preferences from one data file.

  • Greater flexibility in page formats accommodates the needs of the audience – quick and easy to read or detailed and long depending on whether it is a financial portfolio or a statement
  • High-quality colour printing means shorter runs can be personalised, targeted and relevant for the audience in combination with online communications makes it cost-effective and easy to manage
  • Transpromo messages can be embedded into online and offline communications promoting offers, discounts, services and reminders for customers

In our digital world, employees and customers want to access information, marketing messages, promotions, employee communications anytime, anywhere and on multiple devices.

MultiChannel delivers choice for your employees and customers allowing them to choose whether they want to be communicated to via paper or online making it critical to online business success

See how it works in the video below.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRX2_CBPsgI

The transformation of print in a multi-channel world

That was the theme of a conference I attended in London last week.

Is print finished? The transformation of print in a multi channel world

It is transforming and is a crucial element of the digital media world we live in.

Print is the first touchpoint for the recipient to touch, feel, read and even smell before they enter the digital world.

Surprisingly of the eleven speakers, not one tried to bury print.

I was expecting at least one speaker to talk about the demise of print but whilst everyone in the audience and speakers agreed that print has declined in the newspaper sector, the opposite is happening in magazines, direct mail and general print.

In 2015 £13.9 billion was spent on print, in 2010 it was 14 billion so print is holding its own during one of the most turbulent economic climates we’ve experienced in the last thirty years.

the transformation of print in a multi channel worldPrint is adapting and so are the manufacturers of print who recognise the need to provide a digital and physical version for people to consume content.

Content producers are all too aware that it is the content that matters and not the medium.

Producing content means we really need to think about the audience. Are they mobile users and internet-based or do they prefer the written word?

Measuring consumer engagement for example how long they spend reading content is far more relevant than where they actually consume it, in print, in digital format on the web or via mobile device.

Print is not necessarily better than digital it is simply another way of consuming information and is demographic dependent.

Deloitte discovered that while we may The transformation of print in a multi channel worldperceive that books are on the decline the reverse is true. 8% were in favour of physical books rather than e-books.

A tablet offers an immediate immersive reader experience, print is a slow burner.

One of the main characteristics that were highlighted at the conference were the statistics demonstrating people’s desire to slow down and enjoy content rather than feeling compelled to consume it instantly.

Reading content on a phone or tablet is quick and responsive it also comes with a heap of distractions leaving you anxious and stressed.

Reading physical print you ‘make time’, tablets and smartphones it is about ‘fill time’.

Advertising messages tend to be forgotten because the mobile experience is faster but is stressful as we are under fire from popups and ads.

Whether content is read on a tablet or in print the emotional reactions to the content tend to be similar but it is the actual content that determines how and where we consume it.

The transformation of print in a multi channel worldPlatform VS content drives how it is read.

Make content snackable or bite-sized in a digital format is easier to digest.  Physical print is easier to read for longer periods and there are no distractions.

Digital technologies allow a brand to use more personal touchpoints to engage with the audience and in a self-centred world, it is about building relationships through personalisation.

Take Coke’s branded bottle campaign of 2014. What a great example of the benefits of personalisation.

Personalising individual bottles with Christian names led to a 7% increase in consumption, a 2.1% increase in sales and 18.3 million impressions.

Coke’s marketing goal was to engage with a younger audience and they achieved this by making it personal and individual.

The physical printing of names on the bottle created greater engagement, interaction and differentiation.

Digital brands notably Google, Net-A-Porter, Apple, Facebook, Linkedin and Airbnb are some of the large brands combining print with their digital marketing.

The tech companies insist that the best way for brands to reach consumers is via digital communications, they too have seen the benefits of print advertising to connect with audiences.

Google, in 2013 spent £5m on outdoor advertising and £3.5m on press ads, likewise LinkedIn created a direct mail pack in 2014 to announce it had reached 15 million UK subscribers and to promote the launch of its student hub after it emerged that students were one of its fastest-growing cohorts.The transformation of print in a digital world

Print is meaningful, emotional and enhances the reading experience.

In 2014, we spent £1.3 bn on magazine media with 73% of the adult population subscribe to a monthly magazine, in either digital or paper format.

Leading magazine brands are writing their exclusives in print and delivering snippets of information via social media. Vogue magazine has an estimated viewing time online of 9.02 minutes with an average of fifty minutes per issue readership.

Microsoft concluded from research that the changing nature of attention has now decreased from 10 to 8 seconds on a mobile device. This means if the advert is irrelevant or doesn’t hit the spot then the reader leaves.

The argument should not be focused solely on if digital or paper is better. It should be how to effectively monopolise both formats used together coupled with the right platform to deliver the marketing message.

Who IS your target audience?

 Do you know who your target audience is?

Is it the same audience five years ago?

Do you know who your target audience is?I have a frustrating relationship with social media.

Managing personal and business profiles, what to post and when?

How to keep the snippets of information useful and informative is time-consuming, coming up with new ideas harder.

The majority of our target audience is on a plethora of social media platforms. The challenge is finding them, especially on Facebook as this doesn’t have a tag for their employment position.

Digital Print Management’s target audience is HR, Payroll, Credit/Collection Managers, Linkedin is the right choice to find this professional tribe.

Many of them are also likely to be on Facebook keeping a personal page and updating it with status updates, but this doesn’t show their job status or title and where they work.

The key to generating leads is knowing and understanding where your audience is and that’s why I thought I’d share with you how Digital Print Management is re-thinking its market and making sure we go back to basics.

Sound easy?

Definitely not. Delivering your services to a big audience without knowing who they are and what they look like is like finding a needle in a haystack.

  • Who is our audience?
  • Where do we find them so our message gets heard?
  • Why would they consider using our services?
  • How will they benefit from our services?
  • And what can we do to make it easy to find us?

Do you know who your target audience is?How do our customers benefit from our services and what problems do we solve for them?

Thinking about the range of services we deliver to our customers from Digital Print Management’s point of view I looked at our largest and smallest customers and came up with the following:-

  • What have they bought from us?
  • Why did they choose to work with us in the first place?
  • Why do they continue to work with us?
  • What problems did we solve for them which means they sleep easier at night?

This helped us then drill down and understand the type of customer that is looking for our services.

When that is done, where then, do we find prospective customers and how do we get the message out?

How did the customers that we currently serve, find us or hear about us?

This gave me the opportunity to sketch out an outline of a typical prospective customer that ‘feels the same pain’ our current customers experience prior to outsourcing their ‘problem’.

Which then led me to the type of customer that will gain from the value in our service offerings.

Do you know who your target auidence is?What problems are these Payroll/HR and Credit Managers having to deal with?

Do they perceive them as troublesome? Are they even aware they have problems?

What would the reputational damage be if the cost of not sorting out the problem is greater than the cost of leaving it?

Being niche means we provide a project management service in the payroll and accounts sector making it easier to identify our audience.

A big fish in a small pond means we can be heard and found above the rest of the internet noise and stand out from the crowd.

Our expert knowledge coupled with the knowledge from project managing many printing implementations helps us understand what the prospective customer wants and needs.Do you know who your target audience is?

Understanding the sectors we have been successful in and why helps to maximise this opportunity further to create success in the future.

Digital Print Management is uniquely placed to solve the customer’s problems, and that helps us stand out from the crowd.

How have you found your audience?

How do you get your message heard?

How successful has it been?

What to look out for when you outsource your data?

Whether it is data security, management of information or how to outsource outsource a business function, one of the main questions or challenges I have to overcome is the secure management of customer data files in the form of payslips, cheques, statements and invoices.

When organisations consider outsourcing one of their business processes data security is the first area of concern that needs to be addressed and quickly.

Data,  information security and privacy is an extensive topic in its own right too long to cover in one blog post but let’s start with a definition which I think wikipedia sums up very well:

Information privacy, or data privacy (or data protection), is the relationship between collection and dissemination of data, technology, the public expectation of privacy, and the legal and political  issues surrounding them.

Privacy concerns exist wherever personally identifiable information or other sensitive information is collected and stored – in digital form or otherwise. Improper or non-existent disclosure control can be the root cause for privacy issues.

The issue with data privacy is to share data while protecting personally identifiable information.

There has been a seismic shift in how information is used, everyday we find ourselves either completing online forms, signing in and entering passwords or subscribing to newsletters and updates.

And whilst we were initially cautious about  how and what our personal information is being used for we are, as consumers more comfortable with understanding how our data is being used.

But when it comes to a company outsourcing a process that involves handing over data files that contain sensitive information like an employee’s payslip this is a very different ball game because the company is responsible for how they manage their employees or customers information.

In 2014 there were over 1,800 incidents of mismanagement of information that was reported to the Information Commissioner’s Office leading to fines in excess of £5 million.

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) conducted a study to understand how we, the customer view data privacy and what we think about it.

The infographic below summarises the findings:

Data privacy the customers view

Millions of data files are transmitted daily to third party providers from payroll, billing and cheque data.

From an organisation’s perspective looking to outsource that kind of information to third party for printing and mailing payslips through to electronic distribution of secure transactional documents there are some key points to consider.

Does the supplier hold the most up to date ISO 27001 Information Security standard – the latest version is 2013. This is the main standard for information security ensuring confidentiality and integrity of your data.

The service provider should be able to demonstrate compliance and guarantees in respect of the handling of your data files.

Are they on the Data Protection register?

This ensures personal data is processed in accordance with the rights of data subjects under the act and protects how your personal information is used.

What security infrastructure for receiving and sending data files is in place?

Do they have SFTP (secure file transfer protocol) which is more secure than FTP and allows for automated transmission of regular data files reducing the potential for 

What audit procedures do they have to ensure the receipt and transfer of your data?

Do they have a comprehensive disaster recovery system that enables you to continue to forward your files?

And finally, how do they manage and store your data once the file has been processed, printed and despatched or electronically distributed?

For more information about data security and outsourcing feel free to ask a question here.

 

 

process automation

What is process automation?

In this post I wanted to get to the heart of document management. Process automation

I talk about the benefits of paper, print and digital and, how it impacts our lives.

We continue to generate so much information daily and organisations are  deluged with information from invoices, letters, reminders and so forth with all this information how does a company manage to stay above the paper flow?

That is where process automation comes in.

What is process automation?

It is the digitising of any manual process that collects and centralises information within an organisation.

For example an electronic filing system that reduces or replaces administrative tasks to a solution that can streamline whole departments.

Managing the lifecycle of documents and data within a business is the cornerstone to better control, greater visibility, security and efficiency.

process automationProcess automation can be broken down into four key areas each of which can be managed and improved independently of each other or improved as a whole.

Data capture – capturing important data is key to any business process. Manual capture or data entry can be time consuming and inaccurate. Automating the capturing of data is quick, efficient and error free. It involves taking the information and scanning documents, collecting key bits of information and then digitising the information.

Document management – this is the heart of process automation.  Information and documents are stored in an electronic filing cabinet whereby it can be controlled in a secure and central location.

It is useful for freeing up physical space by storing electronic copies of historical documents and archiving for documents that have completed their life cycle.

Document management enables instant retrieval with indexed rich process automationsearch ability, administrator based access for added document security, traceability for audit control, records management for lifecycle control and integration into other business systems as a central source of data.

Workflow – allowing key bits of information and documents to be routed around an organisation giving people accessibility to the documents and the information they need when they need it.

Workflows ensure that the users are updated with any up and coming tasks that need completing this may mean authorisation, payment due, documents missing, invoicing errors.

A simple workflow might be internal documents that are required to be printed routing around an office to a specific printer or copier thus reducing printing and copying costs.

A complex workflow might be creating a document electronically from the point of capture and fully automating it, removing the need for paper and resource required to manage it

process automationReporting – the final part of the process which creates and distributes information that give a visual representation of ‘live data’ giving a snapshot in time of that current process.

Collating accurate data in real time can be impossible when trying to gather information manually.

Reports take time to produce and once published they are quickly out of date.

Electronic reporting allows data to be collected from any source at any stage within a process.

This means with up to the minute accurate reports informed decisions can be made which could be critical for the day to day running of the business.

How can process automation benefit your business?

  • Understanding what information is being held and what documents are in the workflow ensures better control and visibility allowing the right people to access the information they need at anytime
  • Business functions can be simplified making it easier and more streamlined
  • Automation = being proactive = efficiency
  • Less reliance on paper and people
  • Data can be shared with anyone in your business
  • Compliance targets and government legislation are met
  • Disaster proof your business processes

That’s it in a nutshell. Process automation involves you taking a hard look at your key business processes, being critical and then looking at areas that can be improved by removing the manual effort and using automation.