Author Archives: Guest Contributor

Océ Press Go! Webinars… Are They Worth It?


If you’ve visited this blog before, you’ve likely noticed the advertisement on the top right inviting you to “Watch an Océ Press Go! Webinar”… at least the marketing department at Océ is hoping you’ve noticed it. But what exactly are these webinars and are they worth your time? I asked myself that very question and this is what I concluded…

Let’s examine the facts.

According to, the Océ Press Go! Business Development Program is not only created specifically for printers, but it was also created by printers. Upon doing more research, I learned that Press Go! originated from intense focus groups comprised of various print-shop owners. One point for Press Go!

I started to poke around the site to see what it had to offer. To my delight, the site was easy to navigate and I found the schedule for upcoming webinars and links to past webinars in about eight seconds. I’m not the most patient of peoples, so being able to find these items quickly and easily is a huge plus for me. Two points for Press Go!

Finally, I watched a webinar. I watched “The Social Scene for Digital Printers,” as social media is a topic very near and dear to my heart. Paul England, a member of the Océ business development team, and Bob Boucher, of Cole Creative, a marketing a creative services agency led the webinar. It began with a brief introduction to what social media is, including an interesting myth vs. fact discussion. Bob then highlighted how other well-know digital print providers have integrated social media into their marketing plans. Thirty-eight minutes later, I concluded the webinar with some info I already knew, but even more tips and ideas that I am eager to integrate into my own social media initiatives.

Three things I liked most about these webinars are that (1) they are led by an industry expert outside of Océ – this adds a level of credibility as each consecutive webinar is hosted by a different expert. (2) Paul ends each webinar with a Q&A session, so if you get to the end and have a question, you can ask it! And finally, (3) each webinar is archived, so if you miss one, you can always catch up. I’m adding another 3 points to my tally.

At the end of my investigation into the Press Go! Webinars, I’ve concluded that with a whopping 5 points (on my arbitrary scale!) the webinars are a worthwhile source of information. So take advantage of these webinars airing on the first Tuesday of every month.

Wide Format Means Big Opportunity…Selling it Right


The wide format printing business is unquestionably a great business opportunity for commercial printers, quick printers, and graphic arts firms. You can still get an excellent profit margin if you produce good work, develop your customer account base, and deliver the goods reliably. Because the wide format digital printing market is also highly fragmented, there is no “one way” to sell wide format print that suits all types of wide format printing organizations.

 Strategies for Success

InfoTrends recently interviewed a geographically dispersed group of wide format printing organizations to find out what methods have been the most successful for them. Here are some important elements to keep in mind when developing strategies to sell your wide format services:

Know your product: Obtain as much written information as you possibly can on your printers, ink, and media; make sure your sales and marketing materials detail the features and benefits of the systems and supplies you use. Try to show prospects data that helps them recognize the benefits they will achieve as a result of implementing more visual advertising to drive additional demand.

Know your market: Targeting a particular segment of the industry is a good idea because it makes it easier to address a particular set of customers with solutions that fit their business. It is also important to understand the directions within these key customer segments.

Know your customers: InfoTrends’ research with print service providers indicated that 49% of customers were primarily interested in outstanding quality, 24% were primarily price-driven, and another 12% were most interested in fast service. Customers often do not have the time to develop new ideas for themselves or to manage advertising related projects; this presents an opportunity for printers to extend their design and creative services and take on a greater role in the management of advertising projects.

Know your competition: Knowledge of the local competitive market can help you figure out where there are gaps in capabilities and determine opportunities for differentiation. Understanding the local market can also aid print service providers in developing pricing strategies and outsourcing relationships. InfoTrends’ recommendation to major national print service provider organizations such as the office superstores or printing networks would be to hire sales people from the ranks of the wide format print service providers to drive this more profitable line of business.

 Sometimes the best way to build your reputation is good public relations. A number of service providers are finding that an effective way to market wide format printing services is to donate some wide format print services to non-profit or community organizations. Many of the people that work for these organizations own or operate local businesses that could become clients.

A good pricing strategy is critical. It is very important for wide format print service providers to price their services effectively. By knowing your market, customers, and competitors, you should have a good idea of where your pricing should fall. Companies in the wide format printing business typically price jobs on a cost per square foot or cost per piece basis. In many cases, print buyers may require this approach to pricing because it allows them to try to compare competitive print bids on an even basis. Nevertheless, as often as possible, InfoTrends recommends that print service providers develop more of a cost-per-piece approach that factors in some of the additional services like finishing or grommeting, which are add-on costs that frustrate print buyers by driving up project costs. In addition, we are seeing signage become part of interactive marketing campaigns. QR codes and variable data are part of the wide format product mix today. It opens tremendous value add opportunity for the signage provider.

 The Bottom Line

Wide format digital printing will provide new revenue streams for those who adopt this technology. While there will be challenges along the way, wide format digital is a large and profitable market. Those that partner effectively build the right marketing and sales plans and apply their creativity and expertise will reap the rewards.

A Direct Marketing Lesson from Dwight K. Schrute


By Liz Swanson

If forced to watch only one show for the rest of my life, without a doubt, I would choose “The Office.” I love Michael’s eternal quest for love; I love Angela’s obsession with her cats; I love Creed’s sketchiness. I wish I was a Pam, but alas am probably closer to a more intelligent version of a Kelly Kapoor. 

And then there’s Mr. Dwight Schrute. Paper sales maven. Beet farmer. Former Lackawanna County volunteer sheriff’s deputy. A jack-of-all-trades, if you will. Although it’s difficult to choose just one favorite Dwight moment, for the purposes of this direct marketing blog, I turn to Episode 109, “Double Date.” In this episode, Dwight brings in bagels for his coworkers so that they owe Dwight a favor in return. His plan is to cash in those debts by demanding that they help him get Jim fired. Dwight quickly loses the upper hand with Andy Bernard when Andy shines Dwight’s briefcase. The two continue to pay each other back for the niceties each bestows on the other. Hilarity ensues, and ultimately, Dwight’s plot does not pan out. 

Dwight, however, was onto something, something that can be powerful technique that direct marketers can leverage in their campaigns: the reciprocity principle. People respond to one another in similar ways–both positive and negative. In the example from “The Office,” Dwight expected others to do something nice for him (get Jim fired) because he did something nice for them (bought them bagels). 

A great example of this in the marketing world is the return labels you receive from charities. They give you those handy, dandy return labels; you feel obligated to donate to their charity.

Financial service marketers have offered their prospects free financial evaluations. After sending the evals, the financial services company will then ask for that recipient’s business.  I’ve also been in many webinars and conferences where a Kindle or an iPad are given away. Why? “We gave you a cool new gadget; you should give us your business.” And we also see this principle play out on Twitter. As Twitter etiquette dictates, you should follow back those that follow you.  

Find ways to use the reciprocity principle in your own direct marketing. What can you give to your prospects so that they feel obligated to give you business? It doesn’t have to be as fancy as a new iPad–it could be a free evaluation or consultation. Test offers, and discover what makes your audience respond.

Maybe a free bagel wasn’t enough for Dwight’s coworkers to help him get Jim fired, but his strategy was dead-on with direct marketing best practices. 


Liz Swanson is a Marketing Services Specialist with Iron Mountain

The Dark Side of Direct Mail


By Liz Swanson

There’s no question that today’s consumer is overwhelmed by the amount of marketing messages they encounter. Every day, they come across thousands of emails, direct mail pieces, advertisements, web banners, texts, and so on. They’ve almost become numb to the selling, which means that marketers have to find new and creative ways to break through the white noise.

Unfortunately in the quest to be THE message that is heard on any given day, sometimes a marketer will go a little too far–and enters the dark side of direct mail marketing. The message is heard for all the wrong reasons, leaving the consumer confused, angry or manipulated.

Recently, posted an article about a direct mail campaign that went out to an unknown number of National Grid customers from HomeServe USA, an insurance company that sells coverage for furnace and plumbing repairs.

The intention of the mailing was win back former customers and have them reactivate their insurance coverage with HomeServe USA. Instead, many of the recipients thought they had received a bill from National Grid. The direct mail piece contained National Grid’s logo, had a design lay-out similar to a bill with an amount due, and the warning that it was “Payable Upon Receipt.” Not until the fine print on the second page was HomeServe USA referenced.

Just read the comments to the article to get a sense of how duped some customers felt. While it’s true that they had National Grid’s permission to use its logo and name, HomeServe USA should have been more upfront with their audience about the intention of the mailing.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office is now investigating the complaints about the mailing, meaning HomeServe USA could be facing criminal charge for deceptive marketing practices.

Yes, consumers should read their mail before blindly sending money to a company. BUT with effective direct marketing, the message and call-to-action should be crystal clear to the recipient. It’s our job as marketers not to confuse or deceive our audience because once we do, we lose trust.


Elizabeth Swanson is a Marketing Services Specialist with Iron Mountain

Making Print Consistent with Online Experience? Priceless!


Andrew Gerry, SVP Operations, Intersections Inc.By Andy Gerry

I work at a company that is heavily focused on the online user experience for consumer and corporate identity risk management services – and I’m also a print guy. You might think that print wouldn’t be that important of a competency for us, but you would be wrong. Intersections Inc.  is recognized as the preferred partner of major financial institutions providing custom identity management solutions. Clients leverage Intersections’ identity management solutions, offered under their own privately branded labels.

Private labeling. Branding. Corporate Identity– –just a few reasons print is important.

Supporting our customers’ unique brands online is relatively straight forward; doing the same in print is more complex and expensive.  While many of our customers are serviced online for monitoring, alerts and extensive drill-down reports, the majority of our customers still prefer printed fulfillment kits.   

Each customer who successfully enrolls in one of our credit and identity risk management services, either through one of our corporate partners or directly with Intersections, is sent a printed guide for using the services. It is a welcome kit, a user guide, and almost always contains their personal credit data and scores.  This welcome kit sets the tone for the quality of the service that they have enrolled in.

In the past, Intersections created these guides by matching offset printed covers with dynamically produced booklet content. The covers were on heavy, die-cut stock in full color and the booklets were dynamically generated using Group1’s DOC1 and printed in black and white on an IBM 4100 with near-line booklet maker.  While the content was informative and the covers were produced using our clients’ brand colors, the inside didn’t offer a customer experience that was comparable to what Intersections delivers online. For those customers who preferred print to online, there was a tangible lack of color and brand palate inside the guide.

We are always trying to deliver greater flexibility and value to our direct clients – the financial institutions who private label our products – as well as the end consumers of those products. By early 2009 we were convinced that going to a dynamic, full-color environment was the way to remain the leader in our industry. After an exhaustive evaluation of technologies on the market, considering both toner and inkjet solutions from a variety of manufacturers, in 2009 we selected the Océ JetStream 1000 system for printing and GMC PrintNet to compose the documents.

The redesign, reengineering and redeployment of our guides and other documents on the new platform has been tremendously successful. Not only can we support dynamic branding with ease, but we can use color dynamically to highlight key information for consumers and draw their attention to personalized information, much the same way that we do online.  This is not to gloss over the complexity and the hard work it took to architect a high integrity solution that supports multiple partners in a true white paper environment.  It took longer than originally scoped and we learned many lessons on the way.

The good news is that originally we knew we needed two engines for redundancy and failover, but were unsure if enough of our clients would be willing to adopt color to warrant the two engines.  The best case has happened and by the end of the year the majority of our materials will now be printed in full on demand color in our new environment.  Along the way we’ve eliminated the risk of managing preprinted inventories, eliminated the matching process and are able to deliver a superior product to clients and our end customers in a very cost-effective way. Making the printed experience consistent with the online experience – priceless!

Since the conversion to full color, Intersections’ financial services product was rated “Best in Class” by Javelin Strategy & Research (September 2010) and we were ranked among the 500 Top Technology Innovators Across America (2010 InformationWeek 500, September 2010). I’d like to think that us print guys (and gals) had something to do with that!

Andy Gerry is the Senior Vice President of Operations at Intersections Inc. in Chantilly VA.

Obstacles of Digital Check Printing become “Everyday Non-Issues.”


By David Smith

In the past, and for many companies currently, check printing has been slow and expensive. Checks required special stocks, MICR printing – often on dedicated machines or slower mixed-use machines. When checks are only part of the mailing, this often means a separate matching step that further slows down the process. Ideally, checks would be printed in-line with the rest of a job on the same paper and at high speed. This has been a challenge in the past due to the resolution and droplet control on inkjet devices as well as the lack of MICR capabilities.

The challenge of printing checks digitally from a blank roll at relatively high speeds has been overcome due to the higher resolution of the Drop-On -Demand (DOD) print heads and the development of a jettable MICR ink. Resolution of 600 X 600 is now very common at speeds of up to 600 feet per minute when producing output that doesn’t require MICR, but when printing checks the speeds are more in the 400 feet per minute range. While these speeds are not comparable to the offset space, they are significantly faster than the traditional cutsheet and continuous EP devices commonly used to produce checks digitally. With the higher speeds, and the ability to print from a virgin roll, the overall cost of check production can be significantly reduced using the latest high speed DOD printers. 

Jetting the MICR ink initially caused a significant reduction in print head life, but manufacturers have been able to resolve the excessive wear issues through improvements to the print heads plates. Other recent breakthroughs in the production of digital checks from a blank roll include:

  • Integration of selective perfing equipment
  • Ability to use a 20# bond or 50# offset sheet
  • Digital pantographs
  • Micro printing
  • Drop out inks

The ability to use a 20# sheet can significantly reduce your postage spend in a multistage per envelope scenario.  At DST Output, initially we were advised that we would be required to use a 24# sheet, but in our testing and in the validation process we discovered that a 20# sheet meets all bank processing requirements.  The use of a digital pantograph, drop out ink and a micro print line meets the three security features requirement allowing for use of the Padlock icon on your digital checks.  The digital pantograph is a license that needs to be purchased annually at the printer level and each printer needs to be individually Check Payment Systems Association (CPSA) certified.  

In testing the MICR signal strength at DST Output over a 18 month period, the readability level has far exceeded CPSA specifications and is consistently better than what we experienced using EP printers.  In those 18 months of check printing we have produced over 10 million checks without a reported issue in terms of readability from our client’s service provider.  We are now printing checks at 800 pages per minute versus 150 pages per minute and our costs on white paper at that speed are quite a bit lower than what they were on preprint.  Getting more mail produced in one day has the added benefit of increasing postal density and reducing postal costs for our clients.

Overall, digital check printing on white paper has become an everyday non-issue allowing for reduced cost and quality that meets or exceeds US banking requirements.  

David Smith is the Operations Director for DST Output in El Dorado Hills California.

Graphic Arts Printing – What’s Workflow got to do with it?


In my last post I talked about the impact of workflow on in-plants and how it can help them stay relevant to the organizations they support. Now, as we shift our focus to the commercial print environment, there’s a temptation to focus on the similarities. Both serve customers, both aim to grow volumes and both are under pressure to offer more services, improve efficiency and compete more effectively. That’s where the similarities end.

While in-plants are under the gun to justify their value-add to the enterprise and prevent defection to external providers – those same external providers are wrestling with their own set of challenges.  Not the least of which is relentless pressure to deliver a profit month after month. In addition they must combat print suppression efforts,  satisfy the diverse requirements of more knowledgeable and demanding customers and make the transition from purveyor of ink to integrated service provider. All this at a time when core commercial print applications are under siege by alternate communication channels, the commercial print market is consolidating, volumes are declining and business in general remains stuck in an aimless recessionary grind.

Amidst this potent brew of challenges, digital print is increasingly seen as a requirement for survival, one that opens up new applications, opportunities and sources of revenue. Despite overall decline, the total print opportunity for 2011 is estimated to be an astounding 10 trillion pages. Of that number 2.1% or 216 billion pages are digital printa number that’s expected to nearly double to 3.9% by 2014.

So if you’re a commercial printer looking to get your share of the growing digital opportunity, what’s workflow got to do with it? A lot, as it turns out. In fact, workflow can mean the difference between a print operation that’s rooted in the dark ages and one equipped to satisfy the expectations of 21st century customers. Can streamlined digital workflow help commercial printers survive – or better yet, thrive – in the second decade of the new millennium? Yes -and here’s how:

  1. As commercial print shops invest in digital print production, through workflow, they can expand their product offerings and expand into new markets that were originally out of market, becoming a true marketing services provider.
  2. Software opens up the potential for commercial printers to handle multiple file formats and sizes, which allows for greater flexibility in the number of applications supported.
  3. With a digital workflow, commercial print shops can store jobs electronically and print them digitally on demand. This, in turn, eliminates the need for longer runs and warehousing printed inventory.
  4. With the ability to store files electronically, commercial print shops can turn jobs around quickly with minimal labor and processing, enabling a just-in-time production process.
  5. As access to information increases and marketing messages become more targeted, a digital workflow that supports variable data and marketing messages enables commercial print shops to produce targeted, relevant communications that generate a better return on investment.
  6. To meet demand for faster turnaround, shorter runs and variable data requirements, commercial print shops can implement web-to-print solutions that will offer the benefits of an online ordering system.
  7. With digital workflow products that enable variable data document composition or streamlined make-ready, commercial print shops can diversify their product portfolios with value-added products and services.
  8. With web-to-print and variable data solutions and increased application flexibility, commercial print shops can further strengthen customer relationships.
  9. Overall, with digital workflow solutions that seamlessly route applications to digital print engines, commercial print shops can reduce production costs and improve efficiency.

In summary, an efficient digital workflow can facilitate the transition to integrated services provider, improve productivity and efficiency, enhance customer relationships and position commercial print shops to capture new opportunities. Want to weigh in? I’m interested to hear your take on the impact of a digital workflow on commercial print shops.

Is workflow the key to surviving and thriving for today’s in-plants?


In my last post I talked about the impact of workflow on production environments – especially transactional environments – not just as the connective tissue that links people, processes and technology – but a means to reducing costs, boosting productivity and improving quality.

Production print service providers face many challenges today, but in-plant operations arguably face even more. These guys are dealing with squeezed budgets and simultaneous pressure to grow print volumes, improve service levels, increase productivity and offer an ever-expanding suite of services like producing tabs, binding, transaction printing, fulfillment, direct mail, booklets, and security printing. If they can’t meet the corporate need, they don’t just have a bad year – they get lifted right out of the enterprise.

Survival depends on being able to respond to changing customer needs, turn jobs around faster, reduce costs, improve quality and make it easier for internal customers to place orders and track and deliver jobs — all while fending off threats from outside competitors. Which leads to the biggest challenge in-plants face: staying relevant at a time when economic turmoil makes them especially vulnerable to cost-cutting initiatives. For better or worse, the pressure is on to become an indispensable resource. As a result, success is often directly correlated to the efficiency of the workflow. For in-plants looking to boost process efficiency, drive down costs, speed turnaround and satisfy customers, workflow automation is a must.

Here are 10 ways that workflow can help transform a print operation from a cost center to a profit center:

  1. Connecting the print center to the corporate network
  2. Simplifying job submission, tracking and management
  3. Automating pre-print services like scanning, editing and composing documents
  4. Selecting and directing jobs to the best-fit device
  5. Converting proprietary files to open PDF format
  6. Automating finishing
  7. Archiving jobs and publishing them to CDs, DVDs
  8. Providing customers with easy web-based viewing and reprint ordering
  9. Offering customers a portable, fully searchable, and indexed archive
  10. Giving corporate customers visibility into what you do and how you do it

Workflow solutions can improve the way that work gets done and make the benefits  of the services that in-plants offer visible across the organization. Workflow archive and audit features provide a baseline to measure against when the “outsourcing option” is discussed.

Let’s face it, in-plant shops are often in the basement or located far, far away from headquarters. They may be a “black box” as far as many of their best clients are concerned. Helping customers understand what has to happen to get their job out the door, and allowing them to participate in success can make your group less of a “plant” and more of a partner.

Defining Workflow in Today’s Transaction Printing Environment


By Eric de Goeijen, Océ North America, Production Printing Systems Vice President Product Marketing

Every print job you can think of today has a workflow associated with it – specific tasks and processes that have to be managed and ideally, automated. Not surprisingly, workflow means different things to different people. Jobs flow differently in commercial print shops than they do in high-volume transactional data centers, direct mail houses, service bureaus or CRDs in enterprise environments. So their corresponding approaches to automating workflow are different as well.

In a graphic arts environment, the workflow conversation would center on authoring content, content management, getting images and photographs approved, creating layouts and submitting jobs for print. If you’re in a transaction print environment, the conversation is going to be more about process optimization and automation, integrity, load balancing and qualifying for postal discounts. It’s worth noting that in today’s transaction environments, there should be more of an intersection between the graphic arts creative focus and the transaction efficiency perspective.

In the traditional transaction printing environment, automation efficiencies are gained by streamlining the processes following receipt of content – basically data. The process starts when data arrives and ends when finished documents leave the “shop” either in print or through e-delivery. Sometimes production may be accomplished in a hard-wired “Automated Document Factory” configuration, a virtually connected configuration of varied print and finishing equipment – or a combination of both. Either way, the goal is to reduce costs and boost end-to-end productivity from job submission through tracking, reprinting, indexing and archiving. A workflow solution to support this environment must work seamlessly with many flavors of high-volume print and finishing devices. What’s more it should enable the highest degree of postal automation and quality control.

But in today’s transaction print environments – more than data is being delivered. More and more, transaction documents include variable messaging, graphics, pURLs and other dynamic content potentially created by marketing agencies or colleagues on the graphic arts side of the business. This means taking the workflow from receipt of data forward is no longer enough. Transaction printers have to start thinking about automating workflows that safely integrate the creative process with the mission-critical production process.

In a previous post, Francis McMahon talked about “Getting Marketing Involved in Production Print.” I believe that defining transaction printing workflow as extending beyond the realm of data, and integrating up-stream creative workflows into service providers’ solutions will be critical to driving new business for service providers. What do you think?

Digital Inkjet: The Paper Challenge


By Jack Miller, Principal Consultant, Market-Intell

Jack MillerIn the world of digital print and paper, “nirvana” is a press that is capable of producing offset quality at a competitive cost on the same papers that printers use on their offset presses.

 For the most part, coated and uncoated offset papers run reasonably well with toner-based digital laser printing, but toner is expensive. Now, the next generation is here: low cost, high speed digital ink jet web presses made news at Drupa in 2008, Print09 last year, and IPEX this year. These are the Océ JetStream, the HP T300, and the Kodak Prosper, presses that are capable of commercial production output volumes with variable data.  Xerox also introduced a new production inkjet technology at IPEX, and while this technology is not yet commercial, it is  promising.

 Now, the challenge is paper.

Inkjet inks have high water content, and tend to soak into uncoated papers or sit up on coated papers where they may smear. For uncoated papers, HP and International Paper introduced ColorLok technology for desktop printers. This technology involves a calcium chloride-based chemical that is added at the paper mill and adds minimal cost. With the introduction of the T300 color inkjet web press, HP followed up with ColorPRO, a similar technology for inkjet presses. Abitibi Bowater, Georgia-Pacific and Stora Enso all produce ColorPRO qualified papers. The ColorPRO program requires that mills meet quality standards audited by HP. The HP T300 can also apply a “bonding agent” that enables printing on ordinary uncoated paper.

Coated papers, however, remain a challenge.

The list of available coated papers for ink jet is limited (see Table 1). HP’s ColorPRO technology is not designed for coated papers, nor is the bonding agent (although some coated papers do work better with the bonding agent.) Océ, HP, and Kodak are all working with the leading coated paper manufacturers. Appleton Coated reports that they are jointly developing high-speed inkjet coated media with HP, and the first such product is the Utopia Book Inkjet 45 lb. Matte Text.  Appleton Coated also offers coated papers in matte and dull finishes for direct mail and commercial printing applications. The Utopia Inkjet family, including Utopia Book Inkjet, does not require the use of the bonding agent. Appleton Coated has also worked with Kodak to qualify this grade on the Prosper press.

NewPage is also working on coated inkjet, and is working with glossy papers. I saw some beautiful books printed on NewPage 80 lb. Gloss Inkjet with the HP T300. This sheet is specially formulated for the HP T300 and is available on an inquiry basis. Other weights and finishes will be available as market demand increases.

Table 1 Coated Inkjet Papers

Mill Grade Finish Basis wts D65 GE
Appleton Coated Utopia Inkjet web text Matte 60,70 80, 100 93 91
Appleton Coated Utopia Inkjet web text Dull 60.70, 80 93 91
Appleton Coated Utopia Inkjet web cover Matte 65, 80 93 91
Appleton Coated Utopia Inkjet web cover Dull 65,80 93 91
Appleton Coated Utopia Inkjet Book Matte 45 89  
New Page Inquire Gloss 80, inquire inq. inq.


 The two market areas that are finding the most immediate traction are books and direct mail. For books, waste factors are high, logistics are expensive and returns remain a major factor. Digital solves these problems, and even though paper costs may be a bit higher, the economics remain favorable. Digital book printing can be a one-off printed by Amazon or by a digital book printer like Lightning Source, but for these “new generation” digital ink jet presses; this is about medium length runs and keeping the printing cost under control, while slashing inventory and logistics costs. For direct mail, the economics are equally compelling. It is much better to print 500,000 copies of personalized, targeted direct mail and get a response rate of 8 to 10 percent than to print a million copies and get a 2 percent return.

For now, the installed base of digital inkjet presses is small, but as the base grows, run lengths at the mills will lengthen and costs will come down. This will provide a stimulus to demand for digital print, and the range of applications will increase. The new presses have been described as “disruptive technology,” i.e. technology that will change the rules of the game. And ultimately, these new rules will mean more digital inkjet papers.

 Jack Miller is Principal Consultant, Market-Intell, a supplier of strategic consulting and “Need to Know” market intelligence in paper, print and packaging. He can be contacted at