April 8th, 2013
Written by Shelley Sweeney
VP/GM Service Bureau/Direct Mail Sectors, Xerox Corporation
My son’s recent campaign for class vice president reminded me that the checklist of items to review and proofread expands exponentially when personalization is involved. In an odd twist, however, an inadvertent oversight by his campaign led Thomas to find two applications for personalized gum in his run for office.
Like any good candidate, Thomas wanted to push the envelope in campaign innovation. I was only too happy to help him brainstorm creative approaches, and I suggested using gum with personalized packaging. He liked the idea, envisioning his photo and campaign slogan on the wrapper: “It’s a promise…vote for Thomas.”
All went well. The site was easy to use. The slogan fit neatly on the wrapper. Thomas made the order far enough in advance for the gum to arrive as the campaign was getting underway.
Unfortunately, we overlooked a key detail: Thomas’s high school doesn’t permit food to be used in campaigns for class office. That created a new problem: what do you do with 300 packages of sugar-free chewing gum?
We found an answer soon after the election results came in. Thomas won, and it turns out that personalized chewing gum can also be a memorable ‘thank you’ favor at victory celebrations.
What types of applications have you found for personalized food packaging? What uses can you imagine for personalized packaging?
Interested in learning more about the opportunities surrounding digitally printed packaging? You may want to check out:
- From Fodder for the Recycling Bin to Keepsake: A Package I Care About
- Personalized Chocolate Boxes Net $100,000 in a Single Holiday Season
- The 5 Senses at drupa 2012: Best of the Best Winners
- It’s Time to Focus on Digital Packaging Opportunities
Shelley Sweeney, vice president and general manager of Xerox’s Service Bureau and Direct Mail Sectors, will speak on “Relevancy Delivers in Multi-Channel Marketing” April 16 at the Xplor Users Conference, Tampa Bay, Fla. See how you can attend the session or how to attend the 2013 Xplor User Conference.
Looking to boost awareness of your company’s capabilities and attract new customers? The Xerox Best-of-the-Best Program can help!Submitted by Bill Michael
December 17th, 2012
Written by Mary Roddy
Marketing Manager, Premier Partners Global Network
Innovative personalized chocolate packaging that produces $100,000 in profit through a single holiday season, a direct marketing campaign that helps Mercedes-Benz UK achieve a 53:1 ROI, a wedding invitation book that helps drive over $2.5 million in revenue….what do all of these have in common? They are all previous winners of the Xerox Best-of-the-Best Program, a worldwide award contest, open exclusively to members of the Xerox Premier Partners Network.
This program draws participation from the most successful and innovative print shops across the globe, showcasing creativity and business impact using Xerox digital technology. In addition to recognition of great digital work by the graphic communications community, winners receive outstanding marketing and promotional opportunities. Each winning entrant is featured in a case study which can be used with customers and prospects, posted on the web, discussed in presentations, and as a proof point in email and direct marketing campaigns. Winners are showcased at regional, national, and international industry tradeshows/events and also in international press releases.
Today we’re announcing the 2013 Xerox Best-of-the-Best Program will open for entries on January 8, 2013. Members of the Premier Partners Network can submit their work in any of the following categories:
-Digital and Offset
If you are a member of the Premier Partners Network –be sure to take advantage of this tremendous opportunity! On January 8th, visit the Best-of-the-Best website at www.xerox.com/bestofthebest to get started.
If you are not a member of the Xerox Premier Partners Network, visit the Premier Partners Portal today at www.xeroxpremierpartners.com to learn about the program and benefits members receive, and become a member!
You’ll want to hurry – this year’s Best-of-the-Best Contest closes April 3, 2013!
October 9th, 2012
In a recent survey of 485 members of Xerox’s Premier Partners Global Network, conducted with GMC Analytics, more than 70 percent of printers said they are optimistic about the future, believing that print will always be part of the communications mix, but do agree volumes will still decline. The printers also feel that the recession continues to be less of a negative factor than in previous years – 65 percent of respondents agree that the impact of the recession is making investment difficult, notably down from a high of 73 percent in 2010.
Among the opportunities for new or increased revenue, more than one-third (38 percent) of the printers still expect a significant increase in revenue through direct marketing, pointing to a continued need for a balanced marketing mix that includes direct mail. Other opportunities ranked as follows:
- Packaging and Photo specialty products – 18 percent each
- TransPromo – 16 percent
- Book publishing – 12 percent
So what should printers do? The fear of going out of business with traditional services (77 percent) continues to have a strong impact and many are looking for new value-added services to differentiate their portfolio through offerings such as web-to-print services (74 percent). Another priority area for printers differentiating their business is to continue transforming into an overall marketing service provider (50 percent) which jumped from a low of 36 percent in 2011.
Listening to customers is also extremely important in figuring out which direction to go, and the majority of partners reported increased demand in certain areas – those being full-color variable data printing (76 percent), online ordering/web-to-print services (64 percent) and wide-format printing (48 percent) during the past year.
Check out the accompanying infographic we created highlighting the key stats mentioned above and more.
What is your response to these survey results? What is your experience? Are you optimistic about the future of print? Where do you see the greatest potential moving forward?
June 26th, 2012
Remember when you were growing up and your parents would tell you that you were special? Whether you were struggling to make new friends or upset about a bad haircut, hearing that simple phrase could bring a smile to your face – even if it seemed like the world was ending (oh, dramatic youth). Printers today are striving to be special. They want to be more to their customers. To bring smiles to their customers’ faces, while still running an efficient and profitable operation. Many in the industry are turning to specialty digital substrates to achieve this goal.
Mohawk’s Specialty Digital portfolio includes synthetic, pressure sensitive (labels, clings), magnet, embedded, and photo substrates designed for digital presses. Whether it’s on your Xerox Color 560 or your Xerox iGen 150, these unique materials help make you special while increasing your bottom line. If you’re hesitant to go beyond paper, keep reading as I debunk some common myths.
Myth #1: They’re expensive.
Any higher initial cost is easily offset by the printer’s ability to set a higher selling price and achieve a higher margin than traditional paper jobs. They’re also packaged in smaller quantities so you can buy only what you need.
Myth #2: They aren’t compatible with my digital press.
Mohawk has a reputation for quality and works with leading manufacturers to test compatibility of our digital products. Many specialty products perform well in a range of digital equipment, but you can check your specific compatibility in our matrix provided thru Mohawk MakeReady. Samples to test are readily available thru your paper merchant or online at MohawkConnects.com.
Don’t make it harder than it needs to be. Use specialty substrates in your own self promo. Show customers examples and throw a few samples into existing jobs. Explain how these materials can make their marketing campaigns more unique, effective, and impactful. Digital is great for these short, demo runs to spur interest.
Myth #4: My customers don’t have an application for them.
Show them what they can do and I bet you’ll be surprised. Synthetics are great for waterproof books or ID cards. Pressure sensitive stocks shine as bottle labels, window clings, and decorative seals. Magnets are attractive for calendars and signage while embedded magnets and synthetic cards make durable loyalty cards and save-the-dates. Finally, panoramic photo paper enables layflat photo books and collateral where images and graphics sprawl freely without being lost in the gutter of a traditional bind.
The applications are really endless with these types of materials, especially when paired with digital print and VDP. Don’t limit yourself. Give yourself a shot to be special today!
BONUS: I’m happy to have an exclusive giveaway for the Xerox readers today! Shoot me an email with your shipping info and I’ll send you a free copy of Mohawk’s Specialty Digital Swatchbook so you can begin exploring these high-value materials.
May 2nd, 2012
Written By Bill Michael
You know them: hearing, sight, touch, smell, taste. At drupa, each of your senses will be put to great use, as you will:
- Hear: The excitement of the 1000s of attendees in the print industry having conversations on a variety of topics.
- See: Technology and software that represents the future of our industry
- Touch: Printed samples with specialty media, innovative finishing, and special toner
- Smell: toner, ink and paper in the air as you walk by every vendors stand.
- Taste: German cuisine (maybe for the first time) and perhaps a few brands of German beer with some friends and colleagues.
At the Xerox stand (Hall 8b), your senses can best be used by seeing and touching the applications that we’ll be showcasing live in our stand, including many Best-of-the-Best winners. These winners include: IOS (Digital and Offset), Mediaware (Digital Packaging), MBA Group Limited (TransPromo), Telemail, S.L. (TransPromo), Easy Print (Photo Publishing), Printshop (Photo Publishing). Three additional winners include:
|DG3 Europe Limited
(Best Overall Solution, case study)
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the largest youth charity in the UK, wanted to enable their award winners to create and order personalized Achievement Packs online. They approached DG3 Europe Limited, who mapped out an end-to-end solution using FreeFlow Process Manager™ and the iGen4 with a Xerox FreeFlow™ Print Server – resulting in a 637% increase in usage of the achievement pack.
(Digital Packaging, case study)
Recognizing the growing area of digital packaging, De Budelse built FotoChoco.nl to enable orders of personalized boxes of chocolate. Using the iGen4 and FreeFlow Print Server, they were able to sell over 11,000 boxes of chocolate. (your sense of taste!)
(Direct Marketing, case study)
Using the Xerox Color 1000 Press, CopyCat used clear dry ink and personalized cross media to drive new business. The campaign generated a 10% response rate and helped bring in 20 new orders from new customers.
Please stop by Xerox Stand in Hall 8B to see and touch these great applications. We’ll find other ways to exercise your other senses!
April 26th, 2012
Written by George Gibson
Manager, Next PIJ Platforms
Five minutes ago I stood over a wastebasket, scissors in hand opening one of my least favorite sorts of containers – a plastic clamshell. I know why manufacturers and retailers are drawn to them, but their use as a package is just a way station on these materials’ route from the ground (as oil) to (in overwhelming fraction) the landfill. Just what we all need – another way to create garbage (I apologize to all those folks who have a vested interest in these packages, I’m just relating my personal taste here).
This experience was a whole planet away from the experience I had opening my iPhone. The packaging was beautiful. Opening it felt like a ceremony and, for no good reason in particular, I still have that packaging. This all makes me muse on why some packages are deigned from the start to be temporary (which can be a good thing if, for instance, we’re talking about packages designed to be as carbon neutral as possible).
The other day someone I love sent me some chocolate with my picture printed and some of my favorite aphorisms actually printed on them. It was so cute I NEARLY didn’t eat it. The problem was that once it was gone it was gone. I think I’ll use the package it came in do store screws in the basement workshop. The secondary packaging I just threw out. Here’s a seriously missed opportunity. With the all the information that chocolatier had about me the package could have become part of the gift – think a package that used the same information they already had about me, my picture, some “clever” things I like to say, and my birth date; and created a package that outlasted the candy. Something I would have treasured that would remind me of the sweet sentiment of the giver and their brand.
I hope you’re seeing the thread here. On the one hand we have packaging that makes me angrier and angrier the longer I struggle with it and on the other we have the potential for the package as a keepsake. Digital printing for packaging offers us the opportunity to transform the very role of the package. Please come and join us at the Xerox booth at drupa and let’s talk about how Xerox’s package printing and workflow solutions, including the exceptional personalization capability of XMPie can give your customers the power to make the leap.
April 19th, 2012
Written by George Gibson
Manager, Next PIJ Platforms
I had the good luck to be able to attend PackExpo last fall in Las Vegas. There, weary and searching for a place to rest, a colleague and I sat down on some furniture made of corrugated board. We were, it turned out, in Clemson University’s fascinating booth where faculty and eager students really wanted to talk about the leading edge of package design. They even had a live demonstration of the use of eye-tracking techniques to measure the effects of package design. Ever since that I’ve been paying attention to what is it that draws my eye to a package, especially to one particular package in a sea of similar packages (presumable containing similar goods).
I’ve heard it said that in the sort of supermarket environment, presented with an array of similar products, consumers take 0.7 seconds to make their purchase decision. If they weren’t hard-wired to pick your brand you’ve got literally the blink of an eye to effect their purchase decision. No pressure but just how are you going to do that?!
One of the most effective methods is making the package personally relevant to the consumer. You probably can’t have their picture on every package they look at but you can do an increasing amount of regionalization, seasonal, event or affinity customization. In Rochester, the Lilac Festival and the Xerox Jazz Festival are big deals, why not create a link from your brand to those events. There are literally millions of such opportunities but most brand owners let them go unexploited. Why you ask? Because until know the economics of packaging has been the economics of mass production not the economics of mass customization.
Digital printing is on the very verge of transforming brand owners’ ability to use their packaging to connect with their customers and prospects at an entirely new level. Join me at the Xerox booth and let’s talk about how Xerox’s printing and workflow solutions can help you transform ordinary boxes into attention grabbers. Let’s share our thoughts about this most exciting time in the digital packaging revolution.