The best marketing ideas today are operationally justified. Envelope marketing is no exception. A variety of solutions for printing messages on envelopes have been touted to marketing departments for a long time. Some companies pre-print messages on the outside of envelopes such as corporate taglines, incentives to go paperless or eye catching graphics to entice the recipient to open their mail.
Megaspirea, a French firm, introduced what they called “Dynamic Envelope Creation” via the Mailliner 100 at IPEX way back in 2006. Dynamic Envelope Creation was hailed as a holistic process for making a complete mail piece (envelope plus content) out of a single print stream. Variable images and messages could be printed directly on the envelope itself. Despite a strategic relationship with Pitney Bowes and Emtex that should have given the company a lot of reach in the US market – the technology never really took off.
You would think that the ability to dynamically market on the outside of the envelope would be marketing catnip – but in fact, many direct mail marketers feel that the white envelope approach is more effective than jazzy graphics on the outside of the envelope. Transaction mailers today, are still not well integrated with marketing departments (whether in plant or service providers) and therefore envelope marketing is a tough sell to this group.
DST Output (www.dstoutput.com) recently announced an envelope marketing solution that, despite the demise of past market entrants, I believe has a real chance of success. Why? Because the solution is as appealing – or potentially even more appealing- from an operations and efficiency standpoint as it is from a marketing standpoint. Like white paper, full color printing in general – operational efficiencies from wrap envelopes are creating the business case for more effective marketing. First let me explain the solution.
DST’s Wrap Envelope technology is a no-touch process for printing, wrapping and finishing high-volume, First-Class Mail packages in a high-speed production environment. Wrap extends major mailers’ customer marketing efforts with dynamic messaging that can be applied to the front, back and inside of the envelope. This means that the solution provides an envelope marketing opportunity for transaction mail like statements and bills, but also can double as a stand-alone self-mailer.
DST Output’s Wrap Envelopes are printed duplex on continuous plain roll-stock paper, and then literally wrap around multiple pages of statements, bills, inserts and reply/remit envelopes. The process enables mailers to embellish the interior as well as the exterior of the envelope with marketing messaging and promotional content, such as coupons, event information or other customer marketing materials – and can include customer data on the interior to create the self mailer – or additional personalized offer.
There are other operational benefits as well:
- Placing messaging on the envelope can minimize postal weight by reducing the insert count and replace separate mailings and direct mail.
- Wrap Envelopes can serve as a self-mailer for privacy statements, regulatory notices or e-statement bounce notifications minimizing the cost of these mailings.
- The windowless Wrap enhances security and privacy with no see-through areas.
- No window also makes it fully recyclable (no cellophane) and therefore more sustainable.
- There is no need to pre-order and warehouse envelopes reducing storage, commercial print and procurement costs as well as improving cash flow.
The Wrap Envelope is a compelling solution for one-page statements or bills – with or without a remit envelope. From a quality perspective, Wrap utilizes an integrated no-touch manufacturing process that tracks each and every mail piece during production to verify that the total package is complete and accurate. If an error is detected, the process automatically remakes the entire mail package.
So, no-touch quality control, cost savings, improved privacy and sustainability and – oh, by the way – completely dynamic messaging inside and out. I think that’s pretty innovative. (Take a look at the examples below.) If DST was selling this as a hardware solution, I think it would be a big success. For now, only DST outsourcing customers can take advantage of the technology and it will be interesting to see whether it is adopted for the marketing features, the operational features or both. How would you use it if you could?
(Click on pictures to see larger view)