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Managing print in a digital age

November 1, 2018  By Bob Kalenka and Gary Abitz

According to a 2018 Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends survey, 70 percent of consumers choose to receive their most essential communications, such as statements and bills, in print. Contrary to popular belief, in today’s hyper-digital age, the printing industry is still active.

That said, it’s not just a case of print versus digital — continuously changing consumer preferences and regulations make it difficult to enhance the customer experience and maintain satisfaction while determining the optimal communications strategy.

Across all industries, companies are facing increased pressure to lower print and mailing costs while addressing declining volumes, outdated equipment and upcoming lease renewals. As a result, many organizations are naturally turning to the digital platform as one way to offset these costs, but creating value – and revenue – by leveraging print communications could be a smarter, longer-term strategy.


It is important for companies to keep up with changing trends and stay ahead of business needs. Here are some ways organizations can succeed as they manage their print strategies and get the most out of essential communications as they “go digital.”

Data-driven targets
With enterprise-wide data initiatives, companies are opting to move away from mass mailings and their associated expense. With propensity modeling and analytics tools, companies can identify their most profitable, qualified prospects and target those mailings. We anticipate this trend will continue, as data-driven efficiencies are creating measurable ROI.

A personal presentation
Personalization plays an important role in purchasing decisions, as noted by 86 percent of survey respondents. With this in mind, many companies are adding personalized marketing offers on every component of the print package, from documents to envelopes.

As colour becomes more cost-effective and continuously important to the overall presentation, companies are also leveraging its power. An article by Colorcom notes that colour can improve readership by 40 percent, learning by 55 to 78 percent, and comprehension by as much as 73 percent.

Cutting costs through packaged deals
To cut through the clutter, a creative way to capture attention is to combine sealed envelopes in one larger mailing package going to the same address. This provides companies with a way to optimize mailings and reduce costs while offering customers one convenient delivery.

Creative packaging has also been added to the mix. For example, a new approach for proxy communications is to send investors a clear polywrap of their annual report to showcase the mailing contents and entice investors to vote their proxy.

Sticky messages will naturally stick
It is easy for repetitive messages to become noise to clients. Take “go digital” for example – this is on many envelopes and inserts we mail on behalf of our clients, but customers eventually tend to overlook it.

Regularly updating the message – in copy and design – helps keep the message fresh. One unique print technique that has proven to grow digital adoption is embedding a sticky note within the wall of an envelope via a die-cut section that remains smooth and secure, but can be easily removed and used as a sticky note. By doing so, one company saw its digital adoption rate more than double within the first two months of making this change.

Improved onboarding; improved outsourcing
Historically, the conversion effort created the biggest barrier for in-house print operations to outsource jobs. Now, with the introduction of advanced technologies that support faster onboarding, the heavy lifting is removed from the company’s IT resources. Onboarding time was reduced by 40 percent for one of our clients, making outsourcing increasingly attractive.

Even in today’s hyper-digital world, print remains an active and, for many industries, a vital customer touchpoint. As companies work to effectively manage print, it is increasingly important to understand the true costs and quality of communications, as well as the value they are creating for customers. In order to prepare for tomorrow’s next channel and new challenges, businesses need to stay ahead with innovative technologies that will help them prepare and capitalize on what’s ahead.  

Bob Kalenka is Chief Operations Officer at Broadridge Customer Communications, and Gary Abitz is Senior Vice President of Operations at Broadridge Customer Communications.

This column was originally published in the October 2018 issue of PrintAction, now available online.

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