Midrand based direct mail printer Color in Mail is experiencing a second generation of success with Xerox solutions.
Color in Mail was founded by Warren Stanton in 2003 with the aim of bringing colour variable data printing to the direct mail market focusing on meeting customers’ wants and needs. Although true production-level variable colour printing was in its infancy at the time, Stanton knew that there would be a market and demand for solutions based on this capability.
The most important element in this market is the capabilities of the equipment, whether it can handle production volumes, colour print quality and, volumes of variable data. This relies on a combination of printing hardware, for print quality and data handling software to achieve the correct merging of data elements. For Stanton, the choice of supplier was made relatively easily, based on the many years of experience which his father, Gavin, had with Xerox solutions in his own company dating back as far as 35 years ago to the time of laser xerographic printers.
Xerox Business Partner XBC-IT, with the support of Bytes Document Solutions (BDS), has assisted and guided Color in Mail through the learning curves and growth that the company has experienced.
Direct mail printing makes an impact through personalisation and customisation. What this means is that, over and above the use of recipient’s name and address, the images and other data printed are also specific to the recipient. This can be as simple as dedicated text – right through to images specific to the recipient. One of the regular production jobs handled by Color in Mail is a sheet of casino vouchers for members which sees each recipient receiving a set of vouchers created individually for that specific member.
Stanton commented, ‘If you look at the length of that particular run it is more than 58,000 sheets, however, there are no less than 14,000 completely unique combinations of images. Add to this the various values of the offers and the client’s details and every single sheet is unique. This is not something that can be done conventionally, it requires the power of digital printing combined with database management.’
Over the years, Color in Mail has had a number of different Xerox printers. Stanton added, ‘There is one other aspect which is very important: service. While the equipment has to be reliable and robust, it is understandable that there will be times when service, repairs or other forms of maintenance are required. What sets XBC-IT and Bytes apart is the level of service. They guarantee a four-hour turnaround but it is usually a lot less than that.’
With success and growth has come the need for more print capacity, specifically in the colour arena. This resulted in Color in Mail installing the Xerox X1000i press. While the production speed of 100 pages per minute in full-colour and the duty cycle of up to 400,000 sheets per month were both impressive, it was the capability of the press to print metallic silver or gold and the clear varnish printing which were of particular relevance to Stanton.
He commented, ‘The Xerox 1000i appeared more robust than the other devices I looked at, with the ability to handle quality-enhancing prints using metallic and clear varnish giving it a distinct edge. Metallics, especially Gold have always been difficult to achieve. Gold is almost impossible to accurately emulate using the four process colours. The fifth print station means that we can create true gold. All these enhancements give us something different to offer to our customers, something which they appreciate as it elevates their campaigns.’
The Xerox 1000i joins the J75 and the Versant 2100 colour production presses giving Color in Mail a full complement of new Xerox presses to handle a wide range of work. While the majority of its efforts are aimed at providing full multi-channel marketing services, Color in Mail is able to produce a wide range of printed materials ranging from business cards through to customised and personalised prints on a range of paper-based substrates up to 350gsm.
Stanton spends a lot of time educating customers in the corporate sector on the benefits of personalised and customised printing, as well as on the advantages to be gained from a full, multi-channel marketing campaign. As the message gains traction, more corporates are starting to experiment with the capabilities that are available.