October 29th, 2013
Written by David Bates,
VP of Marketing & eCommerce, NARS
Imagine walking outside your New York City graphic design agency to find a 3D invitation to win a printer. You need it, you want it and it’s there for the taking. Too good to be true? Not with Xerox!
Instead of telling graphic communicators that Xerox has an unbeatable color printer that produces high-quality print jobs fast, we decided to let some notable design and creative agencies in New York City find out for themselves.
During NYCxDESIGN, we created a unique competition to win a Phaser 7800, a device that can help designers bring print campaigns to life. Termed the ‘#PhaserHunt’, agencies were sent on a social media search in hopes of being the first participant to find, and ultimately win, the Phaser 7800. One printer was awarded each day of the event.
Now, more than 5 months after the hunt that took over The Big Apple, we checked in with the three winning agencies to see what they had to say. Here are some of the applications they printed using the device and their opinion of its capabilities.
Above is a print sample from WE CREATE. The agency says, “We love the ability to print duplex so that we can save on paper, as well as the flexibility to print different paper sizes and in different quality color. As a shared workspace, we love the ability to monitor printer usage to create an accurate printing budget.” – Daniel Gutierrez
Design Diseño New York created the high-quality, full color comic book above. In just 90 days, the agency has seen the benefits of having a printer in-house that can produce proofs
Design Diseño New York also used the printer to create promotional cards and programs for a musical event, pictured above. “It saves so much time (and money) we used to spend going to an outside vendor to get larger quantities or sizes made.” – Diane Painter Velletri
The third winner, Bureau Blank, noted that the Phaser 7800 is “super-fast and multiple team members can send information to it without it getting backed up or anyone having to wait for their documents to print.”- Kate Mullan. They also appreciate the device’s ease of use and simple control panel.
Are you a creative agency? What exciting jobs are you producing in-house using digital print technology?
October 16th, 2013
Written By: Nancy Chetron, Worldwide Marketing Manager
Production Customization/Workflow & Solutions, Xerox Corporation
There’s been a lot of buzz lately about color consistency, color management and color maintenance. And rightfully so! Producing the right color is just as important as producing the same color…over many prints and across multiple printers.
Shops who print for the photo marketplace have some unique needs. They recognize the critical nature of color consistency and accuracy, but they also want to achieve the most realistic, representational color. When it comes to photo images, their customers want a pleasing appearance as well as excellent shadow detail, depth, contrast and smooth gradients.
So how can you achieve all this while maintaining consistency?
A simple, fast, color management solution, Xerox MatchAssure, has been introduced worldwide and provides highly accurate ICC compliant Destination Profiles using a single spectrophotometer for all printers and just one scanning of each set of printed targets. MatchAssure also includes additional GUI options, allowing for the look of the output to be adjusted based on the desired preference for skin tones, skies, lightness and contrast.
If you are familiar with the term “Memory colors”, you know the name originates from our desire for elements, such as the sky and skin tones, to look the way we remember them…even if they aren’t a precise match to reality. For many applications, we care more about having an aesthetically pleasing image than having an absolutely precise color match. Now, skin tones and skies can be adjusted with a slider bar without changing the rest of the image. If the skies look too warm for your taste, just shift the sky slider bar toward “more blue” and voilà – perfect skies without negatively affecting the rest of the output!
MatchAssure was designed by Xerox to help customers achieve consistent color across multiple Xerox printers and sites, whether printing RGB or CMYK source files. It works with Xerox as well as selected other print technology and can be used with multiple DFEs such as FreeFlow Print Server, EFI and Creo. MatchAssure delivers outstanding matching against any of the print specifications or industry standards such as GRACoL or Fogra.
For those using a CMYK workflow, a new feature is available to enable customers to inspect their CMYK accuracy against a GRACoL or Fogra press standard.
How could your business be impacted by a color management solution providing fast and simple profile creation to help you achieve and manage greater color consistency across your fleet of digital presses?
MatchAssure is just one of the many Xerox technology tools available as part of the Confident Color portfolio. For more information on MatchAssure, please click here.
October 9th, 2013
Written by Nancy Chetron, Worldwide Marketing Manager
Production Customization/Workflow & Solutions, Xerox Corporation
Ever wish you could have a solution custom-designed to meet your specific requirements? In the Production Customization group here at Xerox, I hear a lot of interesting customer requests. This is especially true any time you’re showcasing a new stock type, stock size or new way of finishing a printed piece. A common joke goes something to the effect of “Looks nice, but can you print that on plywood?”
Well, we can’t quite do the plywood yet, but I’m excited to share that we have greatly expanded our stock capability on the iGen Presses! With the recently announced Thick Stock Capability on the Xerox iGen4 Diamond Edition, you can now print on stocks up to 24 point (610 microns, a maximum of 530gsm) with a maximum sheet size of 14.3” x 24”.
So what’s so great about Thick Stocks? Good question. The main attraction of thicker stocks is their appearance and stiffness, one or both of which may be required for specific applications.
Several industries require thick stocks to meet their application requirements, such as:
- Packaging companies for folding cartons and tags
- Commercial and trade printers for advertising collaterals, brochures, promotional materials, post cards, business cards and presentation folders.
- Converters for retail signage, POP displays, greeting cards, gift cards, etc.
- Specialty printers for unframed stand-up photos or gaming pieces
Stocks used by these industries include high caliper cover (C2S, C1S and uncoated) and paperboard. A little background:
- Stocks for folding cartons are called “paperboard. ” Paperboard (aka “board”) types include blanks (equivalent to C1S Cover), SBS (Solid Bleached Sulfate), CUK (Coated Unbleached Kraft) and recycled paperboard (clay coated or uncoated).
The Thick Stock solution is targeted at cover, blanks and SBS. SBS is best suited for high value or premium goods which could include cosmetics, medical items, confectionery, perfume, luxury packaging, etc. Digital printing makes sense for this type of packaging if you need short run and/or personalized cartons. Short run or versioned pieces could be produced for a specific market, for a promotion or for seasonal items.
Many of the most popular brands in these categories stocks have already been tested by Xerox. Additional xerographically-compatible stocks can be tested based on customer requirements. When configured with the Thick Stock Capability, the iGen4 Press stock range is shifted to heavier weights.
And as for the plywood…we’re not there yet but we’re always working on new solutions based on requests from our customers.
For more information, please visit Thick Stock Capability for the iGen4 Press online.
October 8th, 2013
Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker
Print Industry Analyst
One of the factors that has traditionally scared marketers away from any kind of database marketing, print or otherwise, is the database. How many marketers have great customer databases for use in 1:1 applications? For many, the very thought creates marketing paralysis.
But it doesn’t have to. All the talk about “big data” has created an unnecessary fear factor, especially with print, which involves hard production and mailing costs. But the truth is, even a little bit of data can create a significant lift and great ROI as long as it is used well.
Take the example of Panchero’s, a Mexican restaurant chain. This is one of my favorite case studies because it’s such a smart, effective use of limited data. It’s also one of my favorites because I discovered the personalized mailer taped to the doorway of my parents’ kitchen.
Panchero’s wanted to more aggressively promote the opening of its new stores, but it had nothing more than a rented list. Instead of settling for static mailers and mail merges (or being paralyzed by lack of big data), it used the information it had in a highly relevant way. It identified a target median income and geographic region (a certain radius around each new store) and qualified its list by these variables. Then it used a mapping program to identify each recipient’s exact distance from the new location, which it titled “the best burrito in [recipient’s city].” Recipients were invited to bring in a coupon and travel the 1.8 miles, .3 miles, or however many miles away they lived from the new location for a free sample.
Over the years, the nationwide response rates to the campaign have ranged from 6% to 12%, with larger cities having slightly lower redemption rates than smaller ones. On average, redemption rates hover close to 10%.
A multi-location childcare company in the Netherlands used a similar approach to boost enrollment within a specific radius of its childcare centers. It sent 1:1 direct mail pieces to families encouraging them to visit a personalized microsite via a general URL and passcode or through a personalized QR Code. It used personalized maps to show recipients how close they were to one of its locations. The campaign achieved an ROI of 2,200% based on new enrollments and an average childcare service length of four years.
This approach will not work for every marketer, of course, but for the right applications, mapping programs can turn even the most basic data into a highly effective marketing tool. A similar approach is to calculate driving times or create on-the-fly maps to a store or event.
Looking for an “in” to help your customers get started reaping the benefits of personalization? For the right campaigns, mapping might be just the solution you are looking for.
For more on 1:1 Campaigns, Xerox Premier Partner Global Network members may download a complimentary copy of my primer “QR Codes: What You Need to Know” from the XPPGN portal, at no charge. Another value of your membership! Interested in becoming a Premier Partner? Click here for more information.
September 26th, 2013
Written by Heidi Tolliver-Walker, Print Industry Analyst
For clients, one of the biggest challenges of 1:1 marketing isn’t the concern about whether or not the approach works. It’s databases. Unlike 1:1 online marketing, where the movements and habits of individuals can be tracked fairly easily using cookies, print marketing requires the purposeful, intentional creation of a database of customer and prospect demographics, purchasing patterns, preferences, and the like.
Even if marketers don’t have such a database, this doesn’t remove 1:1 print marketing from the equation. PSPs are becoming increasingly adept at helping customers maximize their existing data, purchase and append mailing lists, and build databases from scratch, even for smaller budgets. Despite all the talk of “big data,” it doesn’t take a 360-degree view of your customer to increase your response rates, per-order values, and bottom line.
Here are some examples of how marketers are getting around the “I don’t have enough data for personalization” problem:
- Mailing lists are increasingly affordable. For $25 or so per thousand, you can add demographic qualifications, such as income level, general interests, and age. This provides a great starting point for any 1:1 print marketing program.
- Even if all you have is an undifferentiated mailing list, you can still use specialized software like genderizing and mapping programs to create relevance. Mapping programs help to create relevant marketing pitches based on the recipient’s geographic location or distance from a location or event.
- Successful 1:1 printing is about creating relevance, including grabbing attention with the unexpected, and that can come even from the most unlikely sources. One PSP created its own algorithm for calculating recipients’ mortgage payments and how much they could save by refinancing, for example, all based on information in public records. Then it did a highly successful mailing for a mortgage broker that reaped millions.
- Customer profiling solutions are being developed even for small and mid-sized marketers. This software can expand even simple databases by creating a customer profile (or a “desired customer” profile) and appending the relevant demographics to that database.
- Customer loyalty programs are a very effective ways of building a database of customer preferences and spending habits, while at the same time allowing you to reward customer behavior. Many boxed solutions are available, simplifying the process.
- You can use personalized URLs to send recipients to their own, personalized micro-sites, where you can survey prospects, qualify them, and gather additional information to be used for future campaigns. This information can be automatically appended back into your database, taking a simple mailing list and turning it into a sophisticated tool for personalized marketing.
Developing a customer database sounds complicated and expensive, but cost-effective techniques with low barriers to entry are being refined all the time. This is by no means an exhaustive list of possibilities.
For more on 1:1 printing and marketing, XPPGN members can access “The State of 1:1 (Personalized) Printing,” an educational report available at no charge, through the XPPGN portal.
September 23rd, 2013
Written by Patrick Henry
Executive Editor for WhatTheyThink.com
Originally published via WhatTheyThink.com
Dipping into Xerox’s #PrintWins Twitter feed, I came across Vladimir Gendelman’s well-reasoned article, “Six Common Printing Myths Debunked.” His Myth 5, “Limited Options,” prompted thoughts about print’s abundant possibilities as a creative medium—an attribute that deserves more attention from creatives than it sometimes gets.
Gendelman reminds us that with print, “you’re not just restricted to a bland, printed rectangle.” His article deals primarily with marketing collateral, but his point about the magic that happens when print is used imaginatively applies to every type of product that the medium comprises.
Publishers in particular have done strikingly inventive things by stretching the definition of what printed books and magazines can be. In the following examples, printed paper remains the core of the product offering. But from there, the end-user experience soars to new aesthetic and technical dimensions:
- Melville House publishes a line of what it calls “hybrid books”: printed texts with digital links to “illuminations” that surround the works with rich contexts of historical and cultural materials.
- Building Stories, a graphic novel by Chris Ware, consists not of ordinary pages between standard covers but of 14 distinct printed objects delivered in a box. These narrative elements are meant to be perused in any order the reader chooses, multiplying the architectures of the tale the author is telling.
- Novum, a German design magazine, gave new meaning to the term “cover fold” with an issue featuring a cover consisting of more than 1,000 triangles die-cut into the surface of the paper. This gave readers tactile gratification by enabling them to fold, bend, and roll the covers into whimsical shapes.
- For the last five years, Esquire has been the premier innovator among magazines with covers enhanced by e-ink and augmented reality features. Most recently, Esquire entered the mobile realm with an issue that could be scanned, saved, shared, and even shopped from with the help of an iPhone app called NetPage.
- Wired and its advertiser Lexus demonstrated their grasp of the potential of near field communications (NFC) technology for publishing by co-producing a print ad containing an embedded NFC tag. By placing their NFC-enabled smartphones over the ads, readers could see not only words but interactive online features detailing what Lexus wanted them to know about the dashboard-mounted “Enform App Suite” in its GS-series cars.
- Speaking of Twitter feeds, Entertainment Weekly found a way to “print” a live stream for the CW Television Network with an advertising insert containing a processor with an LED screen and a 3G mobile connection. This setup continuously presented the network’s six latest Tweets, marking the first appearance of a live Twitter feed in a print ad.
“Bland, printed rectangles” these media-melding experiments clearly are not. It’s equally clear that they’re not typical of the kinds of work being done in most commercial, in-plant, and enterprise printing environments. But, they’re good news for providers in every category because they reaffirm print as a medium that still can do the unexpected, even as our interactions with the digital media start to seem routine.
That’s an inspirational idea, and for proof that it is taking hold among members of the industry’s rising generation, look no further than posts by RIT School of Media Sciences students Ashley Long, Tim Orbanac, and Kelsey Seibt at the Xerox Digital Printing Hot Spotblog.
“Because of the vast uses of print, it will never become obsolete,” writes Seibt. Similarly, Long observes that “print is in the work you do, the food you eat, the games you play.” Orbanac declares, “I still see print as an integral part of today’s media and as a beautiful way to strongly communicate a point.”
To friends of print, it all goes without saying. But from voices as earnest and committed as these, it’s always nice to hear.
September 19th, 2013
Written by Shelley Sweeney
VP/GM Service Bureau/Direct Mail Sectors, Xerox Corporation
With the regular drumbeat of invitations to receive bills and statements electronically, it may seem counter-intuitive that printing these transactional documents is among today’s best digital printing growth opportunities. But indeed, transactional documents that incorporate marketing materials—known as TransPromo documents—are projected for a healthy 30.2 percent compound annual growth rate from 2011 to 2016, according to InfoTrends.
TransPromo, or transactional marketing, is benefiting from three favorable trends:
- Continued consumer demand for print. A 2011 survey of 5,000 U. S. Households by Phoenix Marketing International found that 65 percent prefer to get printed copies of bills and statements.
- The increased affordability of inkjet production printing, which runs at about 2.5 cents per page today, half the cost of other digital color printing technologies and competitive with roll-fed monochrome. Inkjet brings the benefits of digital color printing to a higher volume band than other digital technologies can reach cost effectively.
- A desire on the part of companies and institutions to consolidate their communications—and to get their messages read in a cluttered marketplace. What better way to incorporate marketing content and promotions than in the most highly read communications consumers receive: their bills and statements?
Inkjet’s role in driving this growth can’t be underestimated, and was on full display during last week’s Print 13 tradeshow, the largest printing convention in North America. In the Xerox booth, we dedicated about half of our space to high-speed production inkjet devices, showing a broad portfolio that includes both aqueous (Impika iPrint) and waterless (CiPress) inkjet offerings.
Inkjet quality is already sufficient for most TransPromo applications. The relatively low inkjet printing costs make color affordable, meeting marketing’s requirement for the added interest color brings to transactional marketing content. Inkjet’s fast speeds—as much as 30 times faster than the fastest xerographic color presses—ensure that tight print windows will be met. And the higher monthly volumes with inkjet presses mean that even lengthy customer communications, such as magazine and newsletters, can be accommodated in long runs for large customer bases.
But inkjet isn’t the only option for printing today’s transactional marketing documents. For lower volumes, digital color xerography makes sense, particularly with products like the recently introduced Xerox 8250, which incorporates top-line iGen® technologies into a printer engineered specifically for the cost, quality and reliability needs of transactional marketing.
For all the opportunity TransPromo affords, however, it is not an application to be offered casually. The best providers have multiple levels of safeguards to protect the sensitive data they handle and ensure the recipients’ privacy, while offering both print and electronic delivery options. Mistakes are not tolerated when producing checks and invoices, and delivering sensitive medical and financial data.
But for those with the know-how for handling these sensitive applications, now is the time to step up your game. The technology is here to deliver the Holy Grail of business communications: personalized documents that pull from comprehensive customer databases to deliver educational pieces and offers that are tailored to precisely where customers are in their buying and consumption cycles.
Many members of the Xerox Premier Partners Global Network of top Xerox customers recognize the opportunity. In an August survey of the members, 20 percent cited TransPromo as a significant source of growth, up from 13 percent two years ago.
What do you make of the TransPromo opportunity? Do you think, as I do, that paper will continue to be a preferred delivery method for bills and statements—complemented by electronic communications—for the next two decades or more?
Shelley Sweeney is vice president and general manager of Xerox’s Service Bureau and Direct Mail Sectors.