How Digital Production Is Changing Marketing

How Digital Printing has impacted marketingI am in the process of finishing up an update on my report “State of Digital Print Marketing: 2014,” which is available at no charge to XPPGN members through my area of the XPPGN portal.
In the process of preparing the update, I asked myself, “If I were to summarize how digital printing has impacted digital print marketing over the past several years (not just in terms of cost-efficiencies and workflow, but marketing strategy), what would it be?”
Here is a list I compiled as part of the introduction.

  • High-volume, undifferentiated mailings are no longer the default. Even if marketers are not personalizing, they are increasingly breaking longer runs into highly targeted segments.
  • A/B testing has become cost-effective down to the micro-level, allowing marketers to refine their understanding of customer behavior and response to individual variables to level unprecedented in print.
  • Full-color database-driven personalization has become commonplace. Print marketing is being done with tens (even hundreds) of variables and countless permutations.
  • Via high-speed inkjet, database personalization on the fly is gradually phasing out much of the black-and-white overprinting of preprinted four-color offset rolls.
  • The ability to print marketing tools such as personalized URLs and personalized QR Codes is creating a tighter marriage between print and digital media.
  • Formerly offset and gravure domains like security printing, metallics, and extremely high-end advertising are giving way to digital processes.
  • Even dimensional mailings are being produced digitally now. Mailing boxes, pop-up cubes, telescoping mailers, and other specialty formats are being produced in very short runs on digital presses.

These are significant — even radical — changes in applications and marketing strategies resulting from this shift in technology.
So what do you think of this list? Would you add anything? If so, what would you add? Please share your perspective.
Perhaps even more importantly, have you communicated all of these changes to your customers? In your experience, are there any of these that you find your customers are most surprised by? If so, which ones?

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  1. Russ Stewart June 3, 2014 -

    We have been following two recent trends. One involves interactive print technology which is the ability to merge personalized digital content with print to educate, inform and enhance the client communication channels. This is similar to PURLs and QR barcodes but it uses the targeted color ads available on the documents.

    The second involves using printed security technology to add layers of overt anti-counterfeit measures to critical documents. This virtually eliminates the need for special pre-printed stock.

  2. Austin June 4, 2014 -

    With our digital mega-wide format now available we are targeting a completely new demographic than with our traditional offset only printing. Our marketing must educate our customers about what is possible with this new equipment and the range of materials available. Our customers are thinking up some really cool stuff. Recently, we printed an image in reverse on the back of a 1/4″ plexi material—and on the front we printed their logo in white. The final piece had a feeling of depth to it.

  3. Heidi Tolliver-Walker June 5, 2014 -

    Russ, that sounds very interesting about what you are doing with interactive print. Can you elaborate a little bit on how that works? Is it something like DigiMarc?

    • Russ Stewart June 5, 2014 -


      Yes, interactive print uses similar technology as DigiMarc. Seems like more and more vendors are providing some type of mobile image recognition technology to interact with print, all enabling service providers to add immersive digital content to their printed communications.

      Feel free to contact me via email to discuss further.

      Thanks and have a great day,

  4. Brand Sentrik August 2, 2018 -

    Very interesting blog.. Thanks for the information.

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