Which Is at Fault? Lack of Education? Or Lack of Willingness?

By | August 20, 2014

Why aren’t we seeing more 1:1 printing in the marketplace? Why isn’t “everyone doing it”? Is it because there is a lack of marketer education? Or is it a lack of willingness to do what it takes to make 1:1 printing work (i.e. willingness to continue to do things “the way we’ve always done” because it’s easier than investing in databases, profiling, and the like)?

Along these lines, here is a comment I received by email this morning. Do you agree with this assessment? Or do you see other reasons for why we aren’t seeing widespread adoption of 1:1 top to bottom?

there is a crying need to get the concept of MODERN variable data work to the printing public.  We continually find people exhibiting the mindset of 15 or 20 years ago.  The thought that every single page printed might be decidedly different is beyond comprehension to many.  Think of an advertising mail piece for say, insurance.  Each piece printed would be sensitive to gender, age, profession, city and state (re such things as disclaimers), family status and type(s) of insurance for which information may have been requested.  I could go on and on —  old age = larger font size for example, colors chosen by age, gender and nationality (think of color of flags).

From this person’s perspective, it remains a lack of education about the possibilities. What’s your perspective?

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7 thoughts on “Which Is at Fault? Lack of Education? Or Lack of Willingness?

  1. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    I posted this out to several print buyers and graphic designers groups on LinkedIn. I’d like to get some responses from the print buyer side. I’ll post back out what I find out.

  2. Arlene Carroll

    I am a print buyer, a marketer and an advocate for the marketing evolution. Honestly, just calling myself a “print buyer” is old school today. The title alone indicates a possible blind side to the highly aggressive and still infant integrated marketing arena…of which print (variable and otherwise) is but a component in the toolbox. 1:1 printed marketing elements are, in my opinion, well understood by “print buyers” and marketers, but are not at the top of the food chain for integrated marketers. Until print integrates its attitude and product with the numerous marketing options available, and is prepared to present its ROI as part of a greater marketing plan, it will likely remain an after thought.

  3. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    That’s a really interesting comment, Arlene. Can you please elaborate a little about your comment regarding print’s attitude? There are some who might say that it’s the marketer’s job to understand the different channels, how they work together, and integrate them into a broader, more comprehensive marketing strategy. Why do you feel that it’s print’s job to do that?

  4. Arlene Carroll

    Hello Heidi!

    I’d be happy to elaborate on my comment regarding print’s attitude. You see, my experience as a buyer was followed by working inside the print industry – always in marketing. When on the buyer-side it was my responsibility to deliver solutions to my company that drove the business, and more times than not print reps did not have the right information. Print reps want to “call on you” and “get you a quote”. What the buyer needs is strategic information, costs and projected results to allow introduction of new test concepts into existing marketing plans – without compromising controls and while fitting within ROI’s and budgets. Once inside printing I found serious gaps in understanding integrated marketing strategy, then the light went on – what we have here is failure to communicate. Of course not all printers or marketers are created equal. In general (and in my humble opinion), printers need to change the way they think in order to position their products and services as relevant to current marketing trends. Most of us no longer have dedicated buyers (we are marketers buying on lunch hour) we need a collaborative partner that gets it. Thank you Heidi, I enjoy your discussions!

  5. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Post author

    Very interesting, Arlene. I just got off the phone with the president of a high-end digital printing operation who was commenting on similar challenges related to digital printing.

    With the tight budgets everyone is on today, she was talking about the severe lack of printing knowledge on the client side, so printers who want to be able to sell cross-channel, digital, 1:1, and other marketing solutions have to understand the client issues at a deeper level than “wanna buy some print?” They need be able to ask the right questions, do discovery, and know their own technologies and processes (including the interaction between different substrates and ink/toner on each of their different presses) well enough to marry up the two in a way that meets client goals and budgets. Almost like offering technical consulting.

    That’s not a “wannt buy some print” salesperson, and it cannot be done at rock-bottom pricing. This creates a gap between cheap pricing and the ability to manage quality, consistency, and meet a wide range client expectations.

  6. Bill Vought

    My opinion is everyone should but using 1:1 and running a campaign. Now not only do we have “willingness” and “education” but also who do you trust? Who is going to assist from A to Z until you get it right and feel comfortable doing it yourself. Now we start getting to the issues as only 18% of in-plants to this and only 38% of print professionals.
    Now the question moves to who is selling this to marketing, who is then going to the print buyer, who then finds some one to run?
    There is also the difference of a small run and enterprise and what you need to successfully play with the big boys and girls
    Looking forward to comments

  7. Bill Vought

    1:1 Success = Vision + Marketing (who is on board) + A PSP (who can flawlessly run the campaign and get it done) + the Project Manager (Sales Team) your TRUST i.e….. bet your job

    Want to know more lets discuss 🙂

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