By Melissa Donovan
Part 1 of 2
Print providers offering direct mail services are constantly looking for the next big thing to improve efficiency levels on the production floor while simultaneously improving their customer’s response rates. One way to achieve both goals is to implement a new digital press.
SG360º delivers direct marketing communications that drive engagement and increase response for its customers. Originally founded in 1956 as The Segerdahl Corporation, the company rebranded in 2012 to SG360º to reinforce its commitment in providing a full suite of direct marketing solutions.
Today it operates six production facilities totaling one million square feet of space in the Chicago, IL area—five of the six locations make up its Wheeling, IL campus. With a central geographic location, the company is positioned to help customers distribute direct mail programs throughout North America and the U.S. territories.
A full-service direct marketing solutions provider, SG360º offers the ability to produce direct mail campaigns from data acquisition and hygiene to design, production, mailing, and tracking. It employs over 800 full-time staff members.
The print production portion of the business includes digital, web, and sheetfed devices, which are complemented with an array of post-press equipment including UV coaters, flat cutters, die-cutting, folders, smart attaching, sealers, and read/write inserters.
SG360º integrated digital print into its portfolio about ten years ago, with the goal of meeting customer demand for more dynamic content incorporated into direct mail pieces.
Historically known as a high-end commercial printer, SG360º initially relied on digital printing to dig deeper into the direct mail space. “When we added digital printing technology to our platform, it provided our customers the ability to dig deeper into their data sets. This technology enables customer data more actionable to improve results, with similar quality one would expect from traditional lithography,” shares Melanie DeCaprio, director of marketing, SG360º.
As the company continues to grow, digital printing is a key part of its strategy. As such, its digital print platform now includes a combination of both toner- and inkjet-based equipment including a Canon imagePRESS C10000, Canon ProStream, Canon ColorStream, HP Inc. 7500, and HP Indigo 1200.
“Our customer base continues to look for ways to make their data more actionable and drive more dynamic content into marketing messages. Their continued quest to improve the relevancy of marketing communications is the major catalyst for our continued expansion of SG360º’s digital print platform,” explains DeCaprio.
Its most recent installation was the continuous feed Canon ProStream color press, which it added to its production facility earlier this year. While the decisions about which digital presses to purchase usually focus on meeting customers’ needs for more actionable data, the Canon ProStream acquisition not only hit on this criterion but a second one—improving speed to market.
According to DeCaprio, “a key ingredient in our most recent purchase of the Canon ProStream was meeting the high quality expectations of our customers at a speed that reduces cycle time as compared to existing digital print equipment.”
The ProStream series prints at 1,200×1,200 dpi running at a speed of 262 feet per minute at a 22.25-inch web width. The ProStream is equipped with a new engine design with the latest generation piezoelectric drop on demand printhead, Canon’s proprietary ColorGrip, and a new polymer pigment ink set. It is built for productivity with a high-capacity duty cycle of up to 35 million letter pages per month.
In addition to driving more dynamic content into direct mail campaigns and increased speed, SG360º also hoped to address customers’ concerns involving the transition from analog to digital print. It needed a printer that could deliver on the improved economics customers look for to justify the purchase of a digitally printed piece.
One way the Canon ProStream is able to do this is by providing substrate flexibility. It prints fully variable content on a range of uncoated, treated, matte, silk, or gloss coated papers. “It’s ability to work with substrates that we typically run on other analog equipment without the need for pretreatment was very attractive to us and one of the key decisions in our selection,” adds DeCaprio.
80 percent of the work SG360º completes on its digital printers is considered direct mail. In 2019, the company executed more than 2.6 billion pieces delivered through the United States Postal Service.
A core focus and a strong majority of its revenue base, direct mail customers are found in a number of vertical industries including automotive, consumer packaged goods, financial services, healthcare, insurance, retail, telecommunications, and travel/hospitality. While each have similar needs, digital print is primarily used to drive individualized messaging and optimize efficiency on heavily versioned projects.
“The type of customers we serve through our digital platform tends to be those who want to make their point of sale and demographic data more actionable with highly customized content while simultaneously achieving speed to market,” notes DeCaprio.
Improvements Lead to Commitment
The constant evolution of digital printing technology, specifically speed and resolution, allows a larger percent of SG360º’s customer base to consider digital over analog for its direct mail projects. “Improved speed to market has provided us with the ability to help marketers execute fully dynamic trigger and retargeting programs that develop into important growth areas for the marketer, and by extension SG360º,” continues DeCaprio.
With this type of success, SG360º is fully committed to digital print in its facilities and sees it as a growth area in the coming months and years.
The next article in this two-part series profiles another direct mail-focused print provider benefiting from digital technology.
Read part two of this series, Hitting on Quality and Speed
Jul2020, DPS Magazine