Charl Vogel, National sales manager of Xerox production systems group direct, Bytes Document Solutions, discussed why printing is more than just about the product.
According to Vogel, in the evolving world of print, an impressive new digital press is just one part of the equation. That’s the ‘what’. Equally important today is the ‘how’: how are printers putting digital presses to work to meet the market’s requirements and ensure their own profitability and sustainability.
Firstly, let’s consider how the market is changing. Print jobs are fewer and far between. Instead of ‘standard’ runs, like leaflets, brochures, magazines and catalogues, the jobs which are available typically require a high level of customisation. That means shorter runs and specialised finishing, such as spot UV, scratch silver, die-cutting or foil stamping. It also means output customised to individual customers, featuring their names and addresses and other variable data.
Despite fancy finishing and customisation, features which drive up job turnaround times, there is a paradoxical reduction in lead times. Clients want custom jobs and they want them fast. What these developments mean for printers seeking to take advantage of the new print paradigm is a necessity for the right tools for the job. A digital press is one of those tools; sitting at the sharp end, digital presses today incorporate many of the finishing options in a single device. That eliminates the requirement to send large, heavy jobs from the print factory to a specialised print finisher. But there are other tools which sit behind the press. And yes, they are ‘computer’-based tools; software, to be more precise.
While, on the face of it, this may be a little intimidating, there is good news. The hallmark of good technology today isn’t its complexity, but rather its user-friendliness. Consequently, tools like those provided by Xerox company XMpie (pronounced ‘ex em pie’) stand behind the digital press, delivering flexible options to deliver awesome output to impress clients.
XMpie technology is based on ADOR, or Automatic Dynamic Object Replacement. It integrates with other software familiar to most printers already, Adobe’s Creative Suite, and it enables the delivery of Variable Data print jobs, with each item rolling off the digital press customised for a specific recipient.
More than that (which is already impressive), this technology also equips marketers to integrate printed material with digital communications. That means a campaign which, for example, includes email, mobile and printed components can be executed as an integrated project in a coordinated fashion from a single location.
Xerox research shows that there are over 3000 messages a day targeting each person. Fifty get noticed. Just four are remembered. Marketers understand the ‘noise’ through which they must cut, which is why they are demanding more innovative, more personalised materials which deliver the ‘wow’ factor and puts their campaign into that group of four remembered communications. Smart printers know what the marketers are after and are responding by using digital presses linked to clever tools that produce memorable output.