- The market has expanded beyond low-resolution monochrome inkjet imprinting heads for addressing and personalization to include high-speed, full-page, color inkjet printing systems.
- High-speed inkjet equipment enables the efficient production of full-color direct mail, and research has consistently shown that the presence of color can increase response rates and deliver a better overall customer experience.
- The use of personalization continues to pick up pace as marketers seek better ways to capture attention, build brand awareness, and drive sales revenues.
By Eve Padula
The fast pace of today’s digital world might lead some to believe that printed direct mail is falling to the wayside, but high-speed inkjet technology is actually creating new opportunities for print. Many consumers—even digital natives—are experiencing “digital fatigue” because they are inundated with emails, texts, and other digital messages. These trends have only accelerated as COVID-19 has forced us even more into the digital realm.
Concerns about data security have escalated in the COVID era, making some people wary of digital engagements. As a result, traditional print-based communications remain effective and can sometimes enable businesses to stand apart from their competitors. This article explores how print service providers (PSPs) can leverage the evolution of high-speed inkjet equipment as they strive to differentiate themselves and improve customer engagement.
The Benefits of Inkjet
Over the past decade, inkjet has become an increasingly important component of printing and mailing solutions. The market has expanded beyond low-resolution monochrome inkjet imprinting heads for addressing and personalization to include high-speed, full-page, color inkjet printing systems. This evolution can largely be attributed to the combination of several factors:
- Higher resolution printhead technology
- Advanced ink formulations
- An expanding range of inkjet-suitable papers
- Improved drying technologies that combine to foster the development of cost-effective, high-speed digital printing systems that are ideal for direct mail and other promotional applications
Today’s faster inkjet systems enhance operations capacity, while the higher resolutions make inkjet devices appropriate for an ever-wider range of applications.
Production inkjet equipment can often enable improved productivity and reduced operating costs, enabling PSPs to better serve their clients. Even more importantly, each new generation of technological investments has brought a wealth of new capabilities that can help create market differentiation. There are many motivations for investing in new technologies, faster turnaround times, increased personalization, and lower costs. High-speed inkjet technology can accommodate all these motivations, while also enabling PSPs to bring more of their work in-house.
High-speed inkjet equipment enables the efficient production of full-color direct mail, and research has consistently shown that the presence of color can increase response rates and deliver a better overall customer experience. According to Keypoint Intelligence’s most recent marketing communications survey, the use of full color was the single most important technique that prompted consumers to engage with a printed direct mail piece.
Figure 1. Full Color Improves Engagement
N = 1,550 Consumers in the US and Canada
Source: Annual State of Marketing Communications Consumer Survey, Keypoint Intelligence 2020
Like full color, personalization is another benefit that can be enabled by high-speed inkjet equipment. Keypoint Intelligence’s research confirms that personalized content can make a difference. In fact, over 52% of consumer respondents agreed that they spent much more time reviewing printed direct mail that was personalized and relevant for them. In addition, when consumers were asked about the factors that prompted them to read/review printed pieces, personalized and relevant content was the most popular response.
The use of personalization continues to pick up pace as marketers seek better ways to capture attention, build brand awareness, and drive sales revenues. Delivering the right content to the right audience, in the preferred channel, at the right time, in the right context can promote desired consumer actions (e.g., making a purchase, donating, or signing up).
High-speed inkjet systems bring a unique value to direct mail because they enable the production of affordable high-value personalization, short runs, and versioning. Inkjet technology can affordably deliver the customized direct mail communications that will engage an audience.
The Bottom Line
Even in today’s digital age, high-speed inkjet printing systems are taking printed direct mail to a new level. Printed communications remain an important component of the media channel mix, and high-speed inkjet technology makes it easier than ever to create relevant and engaging pieces that will increase response rates and improve business results. Today’s consumers have come to expect relevant communications that are consistent with their needs, and inkjet technology makes it possible to accommodate their ever-changing preferences.
Eve Padula is Senior Consulting Editor for Keypoint Intelligence’s Production Services with a focus on Business Development Strategies, Customer Communications, and Wide Format. She is responsible for creating many types of content, including forecasts, industry analyses, and research/multi-client studies. She also manages the writing, editing, and distribution cycles for many types of deliverables.