by Melissa Donovan
Part 2 of 4
Direct mail embraces the possibilities of digital print. Variable data is cost effective when run on a digital press and today’s direct mail pieces require some form of variability to make recipients stand up and raise their hand. In addition, software products that offer capabilities like personalized URLs (pURLs) and quick response (QR) codes create another layer of differentiation to help customers achieve success.
This four-part series focuses on various print providers offering direct mail capabilities from print to email and beyond.
Responding to Change
Based in Albany, NY, Digital X-Press began as a three-employee mailing facility and today staffs 72 in its 80,000 square foot space. A print and mail service provider, the company offers offset, digital, and large format printing in addition to finishing. Its mailing department is capable of processing up to one million pieces of mail per day, partly because an in-house United States Postal Office verifies and introduces mail into the mail stream on premise.
Its production lineup includes equipment from Heidelberg, Hewlett-Packard, Kirk-Rudy, Mimaki USA, Inc., and Xerox Corporation. In 2007, the company first introduced digital to its production floor. “The printing and mailing industries were changing, and it was necessary to expand into new areas. We added it to be a commodity printer and continue to offer the most current and cost-effective print and mail services to our clients,” explains Jodi Hess, president, Digital X-Press.
The addition of digital enhanced the company’s direct mail capabilities. Instead of offering stale mail pieces with generic messaging, customized and personalized variable mail campaigns are possible. It uses its Nuvera 157 from Xerox for a good portion of its direct mail output, with Hess citing about 65 percent of the pieces printed on this device considered direct mail.
“We had a need for high-speed B&W printing and the Nuvera 157 was ideal. Its speed, size, and print quality have made it an essential part of the production floor,” she continues. Complementing the printer is software from XMPie, which is used to fulfill a variety of client needs such as print on demand, variable data print, and email campaigns with tracking for performance analytics.
The combination of digital technology and enhanced software makes Digital X-Press a value-added partner with its clients. This is exemplified in its cross-media campaign for first-time customer Weaver Fundraising, LLC d/b/a Trail’s End. Trail’s End supplies the Boy Scouts of America with the popcorn products sold during their annual fundraiser.
In talking with Digital X-Press, the company expressed its desire to improve the popcorn fundraiser with a campaign that could increase sales by maintaining constant communication with the Boy Scouts before and during the popcorn fundraiser and then increasing the number of units and families participating in the fundraiser.
To do this, the print and mail provider generated a cross-media campaign using XMPie. It contained a series of six postcards mailed to 65,000 Boy Scouts and their families from August to October and an email campaign that reached about 35,000 Boy Scouts and ran from August to November. The verbiage educated recipients about the fundraiser, provided tips for successful fundraising, and encouraged participation.
Variable data on the postcards, generated by XMPie, included the mailing address, a QR code, and a pURL. The mail piece was printed on the Nuvera 157. “Because each postcard was unique to the specific Boy Scout, the Nuvera was the ideal press for this job, as its quality and speed resulted in efficient production and an attractive end product with the requisite variable data,” explains Hess.
XMPie was also used to create the emails and subsequently track results from the email delivery rates and response rates of both the email and mail campaigns. According to Hess a challenge for this specific job was procuring valid email addresses. Luckily, XMPie verified emails prior to being sent, which reduced the amount of undeliverable emails.
Digital X-Press chose digital as a way to become a value-added partner with its clients. The success of this decision is shown through its work for customers like Trail’s End, where it was able to offer a mixed-marketing campaign that achieved the client’s goals.
This next part in this four-article series explores Drummond Press, located in Jacksonville, FL, and how its implementation of an automated workflow solution affected its direct mail capabilities. dps
Feb2016, DPS Magazine