Guest post by Andrew Gunn, Director of Product Marketing Xerox NAO Operations

In a CMYK world, what stands out? Spot varnish, foil, raised printing, effects like glitter and other enhanced output – these are enhancements that make printed materials get noticed.

Marketers Love Embellishment. Now They’ll Pay for It.

Marketers love the enhanced output of mixed metallic and standalone embellishment, whether it’s gold, silver or clear ink, but they’ve been reluctant to pay for it – until now. Adoption of specialty enhancements is growing, as developments in printing technology make embellishments and enhancements possible for more applications. These looks are now more achievable from a quality standpoint, as well as from a business case perspective.

Increasingly, when marketers decide to print, they want something they can’t get through digital media alone, something special. Direct mail is experiencing a resurgence, as are catalogs, but part of the reason is the ability of digital printing technology to step up with a special look or feel.

First There’s the Wow Factor

Picture special touches like these:

  • An image that shines on an invitation
  • Texture that looks real to touch on a poster
  • Text that “pops” in a promotional sign

Now that’s putting wow in print. Every day we’re closer to stunning output for a wide range of applications:

  • Folding cartons
  • Labels
  • Marketing collateral
  • Business cards
  • Greeting cards
  • Wedding invitations
  • Book covers
  • Magazine covers
  • Gift boxes
  • Direct mail

What Lies Beyond CMYK? Profits!

The timing couldn’t be better for commercial printers. Meeting this demand not only brings more jobs, but also more high-value jobs into your shop. Your continued profitable growth demands something more to rise above the intense competition for standard four-color digital printing. Digital print embellishments that go beyond CMYK – enhancements like metallics and extended gamut inks — differentiate commercial printers in the marketplace.

Commodity products like CMYK digital printing can morph into high-margin products. Think of the models set by premium bottled waters and Starbucks coffee. Why not print enhancement? Digital print embellishments provide unique value, higher profits and increased growth.

The value proposition for commercial and inplant printers is appealing:

  • Extended gamut inks, metallic effects and special embellishments are high-value applications, so charge accordingly.
  • It’s an expanding market segment with significant growth potential.
  • PSPs can lock in business with more “wow” per page with single-pass mixed metallic
  • You can amplify page content with vibrant mixed metallics, while replacing costly, time-intensive processes.

The Embellishment Market Shines

Demand for lucrative embellishment will only grow. Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends1 expects digital print enhancement volume will grow at a 27% CAGR from 2015 to 2020, reaching 25 billion pages by 2020. This growth is more than twice that of CMYK digital printing.

Profit margins on digital print enhancement range from 50% to 400%, and ROI is quick. Print buyers will pay a premium of 24% to 89% over CMYK only for digital print enhancements.

There’s only one downside to this shiny story, and that is what if you’re not ready to be part of it? 54.3% of respondents are already considering purchasing a digital printing device with some sort of enhancement in 2018.1

As a print professional, you may have most of what’s needed in terms of equipment, skills and staffing. Here’s a quick guide to what you’ll need from imaging technology and partners.

The formula for enhancement success:

  • Standardized, simplified digital workflow
  • Efficiency/productivity
  • Specialty colors
  • Color accuracy
  • Automation

Add Print Embellishments and Grow Your Business

Now’s the time to learn and understand the real potential of these applications and how to identify the right ones for your print operation. When you’re ready for enhancement market, you will be able to:

  • Create more “wow” with specialty embellishments
  • Easily add special touches that attract and engage, while capitalizing on digital’s benefits
  • Create more “wow” with stunning four-color quality
  • Take on more short run, short-turn digital jobs without tradeoffs
  • Take on new opportunities with confidence
  • Accept, preflight and submit jobs smoothly
  • Press check to maximize press and operator productivity
  • Produce complex jobs within tight deadlines

This could be your year to go beyond digital and CMYK into the new and profitable territory of embellishments.

1 Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends, “Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing,” 2016