Tag Archives: print management

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?

Print or digital? Do we really need to make a choice?

Whilst holidaying in Spain I couldn’t help but notice what seemed to Print or digital? Do we really need to choose? be a resurgence in books and newspapers.

There were tablets and kindles in use but inwardly I thought umm not all bad news for print.

The world today is defined by how we receive and digest information from news, opinions, interviews, advertising in print or digital format.

multichannelPrint media, television, online mobile and social media are all part of our everyday lives that help us gain access to the information we need or want.

Digital Print Management has also seen a resurgence in print specifically hybrid mail or our branded Print-2-Mail.

The recession forced many companies to re-think how and what they printed and how to save money doing it.

The cost of printing and mailing inhouse is an obvious area to outsource step in Print-2-Mail a mailing desktop solution that delivers the same service but 60% less than the cost of doing it in house.

Much of the information we now receive is sent through email or made available online and consumers are demanding how they want to receive their information.

Multichannel servicesAutomating the process of print and mailing documents and providing an online version for those customers that only wish to receive it in an electronic format is all made possible through multichannel distribution of documents.

Customers are wanting to access personal and confidential information on different devices as well as having the choice of receiving a paper version as well.

multichannelFrom a single data file sent by the customer, documents can be printed and mailed to those recipients that want a paper document and made available online to those who only want to view it online;  if they want both they can have both.

Print works best when used with other media from magazines, direct mail, social media, television, newspapers and print can also bridge the gap between paper and digital using QR codes, Augmented Reality and NFC (Near Field Communication)

Print and digital innovations only increase the effectiveness of print media as well as improving the customer experience so next time you are thinking print or digital ditch the idea and make sure you use both.

The integration of print and digital is a marriage made in media heaven.

Why you need a print management strategy

Having recently attended a great seminar on the future of print print word in letterpress typemanagement and mobile printing I wanted to share some of the insights I learn’t.

Many strive toward the paperless office, and for some it is a utopian ideal.

But documents still drive many of our document processes.

According to the Garner Group office printing represents 1-3% of a company’s annual revenue, which means that a $10 million company will spend between $100,000 to $300,000 on document printing.

If you don’t know:-

What is print costing you?

Who are the biggest users of print?

Then you need to have a print management strategy.

Although figures suggest that office printing volumes are declining it doesn’t take into account the increasing trend in BYOD.

cloud printingWith increasing demands for mobile print solutions and employees working where they want, why should that not include printing what they want?

Office culture is one of the primary reasons companies don’t change their print and paper practices.

The exponential growth in mobile devices and their prevalence in multichannel servicesmeetings could make you believe that the use of paper is almost archaic and yet office practices result in many of us printing off that report or information for a meeting ‘just in case’ technology or the lack of internet connection fails us.

paper stackNot surprisingly many companies don’t know what they spend on print, hardware/software and support. Given that documents drive paper processes it makes sense to know what your annual print spend is.

Not knowing how many printers are in use across the office building, how they are being used and their associated running costs makes understanding the print spend almost impossible but it also means that the organisation may not be delivering what departments really need in the way of document output.

Organisations, Universities, Councils all like print solutions because it enables them to show how much they have saved on print and paper usage.

What is produced is done so wisely and not at the expense of the taxpayer.

Outsourcing print to cut costs whether in the form of print management or managed print services ensures transparency of print costs, an increase in management control over printing, a complete audit review of what is being printed when and on what device.

A managed print strategy means:-

1. You don’t need to buy new equipment

2. You need to understand what you have and how it is used – what volumes are printed and by whom?

3. Only then consider outsourcing the management of your devices using a print management or MPS (managed print service)

4. With your office devices being managed by a print management provider quarterly reviews of print volumes will ensure that recommendations will be put in place to optimise your printing.

Your company has a business plan right?

It also has a marketing plan that determines when and what you are going to ‘sell’ to your target audience?

You probably have an HR strategy if you are more than 5 people so why would you not have a print management strategy?

Even if it forms part of the marketing budget, you need to understand the cost of print and what that means to your bottom line.

If you don’t know what you are spending on print then how can you manage what and where you print effectively?



print management

5 benefits of print management companies

Continuing my theme on outsourcing I thought I’d delve into why organisations can really come out on top when they choose to work with a print management company. print management

What is print management?

And, what can a print management company do for you?

In essence they manage the purchasing of any print, mail and marketing item you generate.

Print management companies can help you save time and money on all print related activities.

Outsourcing your print and mailing such as invoicing, statements, cheques or corporate stationery items will ensure continuity of brand management, cost reduction and give you unlimited access to expertise.

What are the 5 benefits of working with a print management company?

It’s not expensive

Print management does cost money because there will be set up costs at the outset of the contract or project but what you need to remember is that a print management company will be managing many procurement activities for different organisations and companies this gives them leverage because they are purchasing on volume which in turn is passed down to you the customer in cost savings.

These savings would not be be achieved if the buying is done by many different departments and is managed locally rather than centrally.

Outsourcing will increase efficiencies and eliminate random iStock_000013524456Smallpurchasing.

Guaranteed cost savings

Organisations with in-house sourcing will never achieve the level of savings a print manager can offer, the function is not core to their business and there is likely to be a lack of print knowledge making sourcing the right product at the best price difficult.

Investment in print management software

Print management companies take advantage of the latest print management software solutions.

Print procurement technology enhances the business process by streamlining quoting, improving the print job process and using digital asset management as a central repository for marketing assets and documents.

Organisations do not have the budget nor the infrastructure to implement a print management procurement program but print management companies specifically aim to improve and invest in the technology to ensure customers can place orders online and all print jobs are managed accurately and delivered on time.


Outsourcing to a print manager ensures that they are accountable print managementby being able to show cost savings through metrics and reports that include KPI’s and SLA’s  to demonstrate effectiveness.


All organisations want to make sure that their printed communications and marketing collateral is at the forefront of their competition. print management

Print management companies provide innovation and creativity because of their expertise in design and print and because of their knowledge of the market place.

They keep up to date with advancements in the print industry and pass these developments on to you the customer.

Above all else, a print management company is impartial they are not tied to anyone manufacturer or supplier.

They will have cultivated an extensive network of supplier relationships developed over many years, based on trust, excellence and expertise, which cannot be achieved in-house.

The next time you are reviewing your print strategy and want to know how your company can make savings think print management! 

What is print management NOW

The inspiration for this post came largely from a prospective  When?customer who wanted to understand how Digital Print Management deliver the services they offer and what is print management all about.

Ha, that’s a blog post just waiting to be written I thought.

Print management has evolved over the years from print farmers, print brokers to print consultants and latterly multi-channel service providers of which Digital Print Management is one.

Although the final output is paper – printed payslip, invoice, cheque, remittance, statement.

Mobile devicesThere is also the requirement for the multi-channel distribution of documents this includes a print version and an electronic version of the same document.

Whilst the print management umbrella incorporates a little of what we do it doesn’t tell the whole story.

Print is part of the whole, but, the key element is how your documents are then distributed.

A traditional print management company provides total management of a company’s print inventory – from business print, marketing print, direct mail, financial print, to promotional gifts and clothing.

If it needs printing, more often than not it needs to be managed properly.

Stacked MailHistorically this is where print management companies come into their own by being able to provide expert advice and consultancy on a whole genre of print projects.

Good print management companies will provide clients with the expertise to take a print project from an idea and make it reality.

With access to an array of suppliers, customers can be sure they are getting the best products at the best price.

But we manage this in house – I hear you say

All companies at sometime or other will spend money on ‘print’. I use the term loosely to cover all aspects of ‘print’.

Maybe this is consigned to one person but with increasingly limited resources and budget cuts print buying is commonly split between a number of departments, with more than one person or department buying their print.

Print management companies have skilled and highly trained people who were born into the world of print.

They’ve learn’t their craft through being able to sell a variety of different products and services either as a manufacturer or as a print broker.

Print management companies aren’t tied to one specific supplier or manufacture which is great news for the customer, because you are partnering with a print company that is impartial and unbiased.

Print management companies deliver as part of their service offering print consultancy – understanding how, what and why you print in-house, production and project management so your project is delivered on time.

iStock_000018976177XSmallThe overriding factor for partnering with a print management company is their access to a supplier network that they’ve developed and nurtured determined by:-

  • what the customer wants
  • what market forces are driving in the way of new products and services. This then determines the suppliers print management companies elect to work with and effectively up sell their unique products/services.

Great importance is placed on nurturing and developing long term supplier relationships, the print management company ultimately providing the sales element of the partnership acting as the reseller, and the supplier delivering/manufacturing the product/service.

Their sole aim is to ensure customer satisfaction which in turn means a returning customer.

The most experienced print management companies come from print backgrounds either having worked for a manufacturer or gained experience as a print broker.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success aMarket forces coupled with knowledgable and innovative suppliers, have enabled print management companies to diversify and specialise in specific areas of business print and fulfilment like payroll and multi-channel services.

Being able to carve out a niche often sets them above the parapet.

Not every organisation has the desire to source a company to print/distribute their annual P60s or weekly/monthly payslips.

And that is where we come in.

Print management companies care about print and work closely with their suppliers to achieve a common goal – customer satisfaction and the assurances that the organisation is being looked after by the print management company.

As well as identifying savings in print and distribution costs, the end user is gaining expert advice and knowledge from a trusted print management company.

And that is where print management really is NOW.

In my next blog: Multi-channel services. What is it and how can it add value to my business?





How does print management fit into our digital world?

I’m a big advocate of print as part of your marketing strategy, I CMYK printing conceptbelieve it’s a great way to engage with your customers in the first instance and a great place to start their buying journey.

When it comes to marketing material, print arouses the senses notably sight and touch unlike its digital counterpart, print gives customers something physical to hold, to browse through and is easier to refer back to when needed.

The print industry embraced the digital world back in the early 90’s.

Think digital printing – short run in any number of variations and types, highly personalised and customised.

print word in letterpress typePrint was the leader in optimising personalisation and customisation in the online world.

Where do you think the big brands got their ideas to drive customer engagement with personalized messages and customised landing pages?

Print of course!

Does print management still fit into our social media and digital world?

I believe it does.

In the past, companies had no idea what their print spend was, senior executives had no idea about the number of print devices in use, the cost of paper and supplies, let alone the cost of the overall print bill, excluding corporate stationery and items.

Times have changed and although social media marketing has in some respects taken the lead, print is now one very important part of the content marketing process.

Print marketing has benefited from changes in our industry making it more cost effective for organisations to send out highly personalised marketing information and then following this up with social media campaigns so the customer can follow the brand, company or purchase.

Some may think that print management is finished and that print based marketing is no longer needed in an ever changing social and digital world.

But they are wrong. Think business cards, leaflets, brochures, packaging, posters and invitations.

With the rise of cross media marketing which includes but is not limited to variable data print, personalised URLs (PURL), podcasts/webinars, email and social media, physical print marketing plays an active role.

For example variable data print which includes direct mail, posters, brochures and giveaways – anything that can be printed with the customer’s name, company or a content specific message.

In my last post I talked about how to add value to your print through the use of AR and QR codes.

Similarly adding a PURL enables you to capture a prospect at the point of interest.

When?Optimising a personalised web address means that you now have a way of measuring their interest and the technology to evaluate where they are in the buying journey using analytics which can report the landing pages they have arrived at.

Cross media communications are designed to move the prospect across the different media using “calls to action” with each touch point teasing the buyer to take further action and move onto the next platform.

Where does print management fit in?

Simple. Print management companies are experts in the total management of a company’s print marketing requirements – marketing print, financial print and more.

Print management means accessibility to the latest innovations not just in print but in design, new technologies like AR that can all add value to your marketing initiatives.

Being able to work with an outsourcing partner that can manage and integrate the various channels of communication makes it a very effective way of maximising business efficiencies and savings.

Empty asphalt road towards cloud and signs symbolizing success aThe marketing officer gains expertise, consultation, access to a variety of multi-channel distribution networks, brand consistency and major cost benefits




Print management. How do you save money on your print

At least once a month I’m asked the same perennial question: Caroline, how can we save money on print? How can print management help me with reducing our print budget? What print management solutions are there available for my budget? print mail services

My response includes the following:-

  • What aspects of print are you looking to cut back on?
  • How many printers do you have in the building?
  • What documents does the business generate?
  • How often do your order ‘print’?

Now you start to get the picture. It’s not that easy to simplify the answer as there are many variables.

The printing of transactional business documents is a fundamental business process for many organisations and in spite of the drive toward paperless offices, companies in every industry generate reams of paper on a daily basis for record keeping, customer facing letters, direct mail and internal correspondence.

Unsurprisingly most companies I talk to are unaware of their printing costs. They have no idea what they are spending on print because it is unknown and not a monitored business expense.

When I ask them what their annual costs are I’m usually met with a blank stare.

A business cannot implement a print cost cutting strategy if the costs are unknown.

One of the main reasons, is that it is perceived as a necessary business process and therefore an ongoing cost to the business which doesn’t require to have a budget attributed to it.


How do I reduce my print costs – keeping it simple?

1/ Digital emails are uniformly used for communicating but do they really need to be printed and filed? By categorising (outlook) or labelling (Gmail) is a great way of indexing those all important emails for reference at a later date.

2/ Review before printing – Really do you need to print that document. It’s something I’ve had to work hard at myself as I hover over the ‘print’ button. Why am I printing this, what am I going to do with it and does anyone else need to read it? Therefore ask yourself do I really need to print it? Use the ‘preview’ before printing especially when it comes to spreadsheets they never fit onto an A4 unless you specify fit to one page or you make sure the orientation is correct. Otherwise ten pages of unwanted and unuseable print streams out and then gets binned.

print management services

3/ Recycle – that discarded bit of paper that you printed off one side only can be used for scrap notes and for doodling yes I know it sounds boring but how many times when printing something out do we notice a glaringly obvious mistake and then print the whole document again? When we only need to print the relevant page. I use these bits of paper like a montage and then sketch or doodle over the top of the print using a bright colour pen.

4/ Do you really need to print that document in colour? If it’s a draft document then print it out mono, check it and then print in colour.

5/ Switch off –  rather than letting devices go into standby mode switch off before leaving the office. It’s all part of keeping costs down.

How do I reduce my print costs using print management software solutions?

1/ How many personal printers do you have spread across your organisation? Whilst the cost of personal printers has reduced considerably the cost of toner cartridges remains pricey. Opting for a MFPD (multi-functional print devices) using a managed print services option is a sure fire way of saving time and money.

2/ Optimise biometrics for printing using fingerprint or key card technology.  If a document is sent to a local printer by mistake or staff print the wrong document or change their mind and want to cancel the print job this is easily done using secure print tracking software.

3/ Cut back on waste using print management solutions this allows staff to print only what they need on the right printer suitable for the document. Print software routes the document to a mono printer if it is black and white, colour to a colour printer.


4/ Manage your paperflow by having an effective document management system . This is an important step in ensuring a workflow pattern in the company. Document scanning software captures, indexes, archives and retrieves all your documents by creating a secure digital file cabinet.

5/ Track print costs by using print management software that enforces internal rules for staff reducing print volume and redirecting print jobs to the most cost effective device. Print tracking software shows where costs are being incurred and what is being printed and by whom. Costs are tracked across an entire company calculating the cost on the volume of print per person and by department.

There you have ten ways to reduce your print costs. There are others of course but as each organisation is unique I’ve covered the ones that I think are of the most use.



Print marketing. 10 ways to get your marketing messages read.

White space, blank, unused and discarded space. Businesswoman using digital tablet with copyspace

White space is one of the things I see most in the various customer applications Digital Print Management process, print and electronically send out from payslips, invoices through to marketing and direct mail.

You name it there is often a great big white space on the document which isn’t being used either for company messages, promotions, new products or services.

Why spend time designing and investing time in a marketing campaign if you don’t capitalise on the space you have available which is where print marketing comes in.

I’m not suggesting you fill your page with information that bears no resemblance to the product or service you are selling but used wisely that white space can be a great print marketing opportunity to say something.

Every transactional document including bills, statements and customer communications are central to the customer experience and every document represents an opportunity to communicate to your customer.

Marketers are missing a great opportunity by not maximising the space they have available through print marketing.

print management and cross media marketing

Why limit it to ‘marketing’ only? Any customer communication requires the same carefully thought out message.

Targeting of the message can be achieved in the same print run and the use of multi-channel print, mobile and online content can all be linked to provide a unique customer experience.

print word in letterpress typeHere are 10 ways to make print more effective.

  1. Make sure your printed message endures – if your marketing looks cheap then the chances are it will be discarded. Cheaply produced items are more likely to be viewed as ‘throwaway’ and have little value.
  2. For your printed message to get maximum exposure choose quality material and if the the marketing message is well designed it’s likely that the item will be kept as reference at a later date.
  3. Designing an overtly funky or trendy marketing item will get plenty of attention on initial opening but unless it has something positive to say or serves a specific purpose is unlikely to serve any practical use.
  4. In a multi-channel market place print still retains a highly respected and effective way of promoting your brand and getting your message out there to your audience so make sure what you have to say is relevant and timely.
  5. The digital overload that at times threatens to lose your audience’s attention and the ROI guaranteed from a direct mail marketing campaign makes print an ideal alternative.content marketing and big data
  6. Print helps you stay on top of a person’s mind and a well written print piece can reach people who have specific interests or needs especially if it is a well placed advertisement in a magazine next to a business article or print ads, brochures, postcards and printed promotional products that ensure your business is kept visible.
  7. Print is a great way to build your brand using business cards, envelopes, direct mail, presentation kits promotional items like pens and mugs. These items are useful, serve a practical purpose and last a long time.
  8. Post cards are a great way of saying thank you to your customers for the recent new business they placed with you or for a marketing message designed to encourage your customers to take up a promotion you might be running.
  9. Print supports a multi-channel strategy and customers are more likely to be responsive if they are reached both offline and online.
  10. Envelopes – use them don’t leave white space, fill it with colour, brand and personalise them with your company details and logos and don’t forget a QR code to drive traffic to your website. It costs next to nothing to have envelopes with colour printed on them. There are some limitations laid down by the royal mail but as long as your mailing house conforms with the requirements there is a lot of white space you can use to promote your message. Envelopes are always the last thing you think about but the first thing you open to see what’s inside. If an envelope goes out without any branding it is a misused white space opportunity.

Optimising white space can turn even the mundane of documents into a more powerful and effective means of communicating with the customer.





How do you choose the right print management services company for your cross media marketing?

print management services

In my last blog I talked about how print is changing in the face of digital competition and how working with a print management partner will become an important part of the multi-media process rather than a supplier of all things print.

The role of print management services is evolving to provide consultative expertise on how to optimise your print and marketing content, which channels are best used to distribute your communications, how to reduce postal costs and optimise print related communications to drive faster customer response times.

Print management providers have access to pre-qualified and certified supplier network for printing, fulfilment, marketing, database and design services.

iStock_000019746282SmallOrganisations are realising that having a broader overview of their business processes helps them focus on making improvements from content and document creation to how the message is delivered to its audience.

All of which create benefits that extend well beyond mere cost savings.

How to choose the right print management services partner?

Any organisation that outsources its print will benefit from reassessing what it’s marketing objectives are and what their ROI should be.

Effective customer communication management is integral to ensure that communications with the customer are highly relevant, personal and targeted and above all work across all the various channels.

Communicating with customers is an evolving process there are more channels than there were five years go and organisations have to be flexible in managing customer preferences across the channels.

Social media has become an important channel for brands to communicate messages, real time marketing via mobile are becoming increasingly vital to the cross media channel mix and knowledge of ‘print’ is no longer essential in the communications process.

Companies will make gains by partnering with a print management company that understands business process optimisation provides expert advice, knowledge and document management solutions.

8 points to consider when selecting a print management service partner

1. For the partnership to work it is vital that the print management company works closely with your ‘buyers’. I use that word loosely as most departments these tend to have some involvement with the marketing efforts of the company and not solely the marketing department.

It should be a mix of collaboration and consultation determined by the needs of the company’s marketing objectives.

2. The level of personalisation and transpromo messages coupled with customer demands for relevancy, accuracy and security of their personal information means that every part of the digital and mail piece has to be properly co-ordinated. Look for expertise in datafile management, multi-channel communications, document integrity, security and compliance.

print and fulfilment services

3. Working with a print management company that is ‘neutral’ means that they will be able to choose the right service or solution that benefits the customer. With multi-channel communications evolving so fast the need for speed and flexibility are key. The print management company will be up to date with new techniques and the latest trends.

4. Working with an end-to-end supplier who adopts a consultative approach by working with you rather than for you will ensure your needs are met.

5. Can they demonstrate expertise using case studies or testimonials?

6. Are they able to provide support across all social and digital media channels throughout each stage of the communications process?

cross media and print management

7. How easily can they adapt to change to assist you with your marketing communication efforts?

8. How robust is their print supplier network and what solutions can they offer short-term and long term?

The only thing that needs to change is the name ‘print management’. Print is no longer the whole picture rather, part of an evolving multi-channel, multi-faceted customer marketing communications mix.





Leveraging the power of print outsourcing.

CMYK printing concept

In my last blog I discussed how print fits in to a cross media marketing campaign and how the effective use of a print management partner can really enhance the power of your cross media marketing.

Print is still a critical component of the marketing media mix because consumers demand choice. They dictate how they receive their marketing content from sales and marketing messages or specific information. content marketing and big data

This has resulted in the rise of cross media marketing and the multi-channel distribution of communications in both digital and print format.

But how do companies manage the process of ensuring their brand and messages are constantly heard when most marketing budgets have limited resources and less money to spend?

Print and digital outsourcing is becoming a viable and cost efficient alternative. Companies are seeking ways not to only manage their printed content but insisting on it being integrated into their social media marketing efforts and email marketing.

This has created a new type of print management company – one that can provide support and consultation across print and the various multi-media channels.

iStock_000034584126SmallPrint outsourcing can play an important role in improving customer communications driving costs down and improving business efficiency.

What has changed is the content and how print is used in the marketing mix.

Print is not always the final end product delivered to the customer.

It is now a mix of electronic and paper based communications which has evolved out of companies using digital and social platforms along with paper to deliver their message in the form of a payslip, invoice or direct mail piece.

Therefore print outsourcing is more than just simply removing business stationery to a printer down the road, it is the integration of a variety of disciplines such as consulting services for a marketing campaign, co-ordinating print and communications with social media channels and providing unique and customised solutions.

Hand holding a Solutions 3D Sphere

Print outsourcing encompasses all of the above and more and businesses are recognising the value of outsourcing and working with a print management partner who can offer more than just cheap printed business stationery but business efficiencies in the form of outsourcing, advanced print capabilities and print management expertise.

Why co-ordinate your print and marketing campaigns in-house when you can work with a print management partner that can manage the process. You know the benefits of outsourcing and its not the usual cliches – ‘its not a core business function’ it should be more about what you get out of the relationship.

Working in partnership with a print management company affords you the security of working with people who have expertise and can provide print and cross media solutions because they have access to an extensive network of pre-vetted and pre-qualified local printers and solution specialists with different capabilities.

This means not carrying the risk of managing equipment in-house along with the necessary staff, if one vendor should become less competitive, another vendor will take its place such is the network of a print management partner who can provide diversity through their supplier base.

Outsourcing print is not just about removing print from your bottom line it’s more than that, it is access to a wider network of print providers because print management companies take the time to build and nurture relationships with their network ensuring that they can deliver the right solutions that customers want.

Centralising your marketing and print campaign efforts reduce costs because you aren’t having to co-ordinate your time, resources and money spread over a number of different suppliers.

The main objection to a company outsourcing their print use to be there is little to gain by doing so. But as the digital landscape has changed businesses are realising they need to exploit the expertise, knowledge, solutions and services which print management partners can provide.

Consumers demand personalisation and print is one of the media channels through which organisations target their message. Print has to be integrated into the mix and this means that customer databases must be updated and relevant to ensure that communications are co-ordinated across all the channels.

Knowledge of print-flows and data files is essential to ensure that all the components of a marketing campaign are personalised and targeted to the right audience.

Customer satisfaction, loyalty, compliance and privacy means that customers receive only the messages that are relevant and useful to them and that their personal information is kept secure.

Working with a print management partner who has knowledge of data, postal automation, sortation, print, production, content and can co-ordinate print and mail with social media offers increased benefits to a business, not just through print.

In part 2 Choosing a print management services company? How do I find the right supplier to help me co-ordinate my cross media marketing and print campaigns?