How variable data can grow your business - Konica Minolta, Objectif Lune


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Presented by Henryk Kraszewski from variable data printing solution developer Objectif Lune at a Konica Minolta seminar day in October 2013. Kraszewski talks to professional printers about new ways of adding value to documents through personalisation and document reengineering, and new ways of optimising document workflows through automation. View YouTube:

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  • Good morning/afternoonI’m Henryk Kraszewski from Objectif Lune.Today, I am going to share with you some ideas on how personalisation and automation can help your business grow revenue – and reduce costs.This is one of those tricky topics in which half of you are probably active practioners – and the other half have only just dabbled in it or not tried it at all.Statistics from the US show that about 30% of digital colour print volume today is variable.What amazes me is the number of printers with digital colour presses that I meet that still don’t offer variable data printing as a service.
  • The past few years for the print industry have been particularly tough:Print volumes have declinedPrices have declinedMargins have shrunkMany printers have disappeared – foreverAnd it seems that every time you pick-up a trade publication it’s full of doom-and-gloom.Printers have had to rethink their strategy. You’re asking yourself the hard questions:- Where do I find new services?- How do I implement changes into my operations without disrupting business?- Who is going to help me transition my business?- What is working in my marketing plan and what isn’t?- When should I implement new technology?To focus on reducing costs alone isn’t going to help your business survive – it’s not going to allow you to expand your business nor differentiate yourself from your competitor.You need to transform yourself – from a commodity supplier to a services business, implementing the technologies, know-how and specialisations that will sustain your business.
  • So here are some of the challenges you’re facing today:Print runs continue to shrink, often being replaced by shorter variable jobs – and then you have to find ways of increasing margins on those shorter runs.Today, marketers have so many more channels of communicating with customers available to them – print, email, mobile messaging, blogging, twitter, facebook, PURLs, online advertising, and so on.There’s social media, multi-channel communications and now omni-channel communications.You’re being challenged to offer more relevant, efficient and effective communications.Your customers are looking to you to be marketing services providers – to assist with communications beyond just print.It’s not enough to have the technology in place – you need to understand it’s benefits, how to sell it, and how it can help your customers achieve their business objectives.Help them leverage the data they accumulate about their customers and prospects to offer a more personalised experience – across multiple channels – to raise awareness, response rates and retention.
  • Let’s start with the basics: “A form of digital printing where the elements – including text, graphics and images – vary from one piece to the next using information from a database.”That’s the traditional definition of VDP or Variable Data Printing, that’s been around for more than twenty years.Today it’s also called “personalisation” – whether your talking about communications, a service or a product, it’s all about making something that’s relevant to the recipient, to his/her preferences and requirements.While Variable Data Printing relates specifically to printing, personalisation suggests information can be customised and tailored across any format: web, email, mobile messaging or print.VDP today really stands for Variable Data Publishing – it’s about customising the message irrespective of the delivery platform.So why is it important?The value proposition for marketers is clear – it’s been shown to improve response rates, sales conversion rates, and ROI.But most of all – as consumers – we react more positively to communications that are personally directed to me, that’s relevant to me and my needs.
  • There are different types of variable data publishing, including mail merge, direct mail pieces, transactional, business-critical communications, and transpromotional documents that combine transactional information with marketing messages.The applications are virtually endless: invitations, sales offers, new product and services announcements, bills, statements, invoices, renewals, newsletters, and so forth – literally any form of communications with customers can – and should – be personalised.I’ll start with something simple – a mail merge document.If you send a standard letter to your customers informing them of a new service or product – or a basic mail merge with name and address – you will typically generate a response rate of less than 1%.If you take the time to leverage the data you have about your customers, add colour and personalisation, you can easily increase response rates by 25%.If you add a special offer tailored to the recipient’s purchasing history, with a call to action and easy contact information, the results can be even more impressive.Add a barcode for postal savings – and a QR code to aid live interaction.Now some of this you can do using Microsoft Word or Adobe InDesign, but the problem with using these applications is that they were never designed to handle variable data publishing.You’ll strike challenges with managing data, variable images and graphics, and then with production – you’ll be spending a lot of time waiting for processing and RIPping to finish before you see a single sheet of output.
  • Here’s another example – a full-colour duplex postcard.This one is a little more complex, with personalisation based on the recipient’s purchasing habits.Other variables include gender, location, demographics, and other preferences.So, here the images are dynamic, offers are more tailored, and redemption is simplified.The more targeted – and more relevant – the message to the individual, the higher the response rates you’ll achieve.
  • With transactional printing, the investment is a little higher in terms of skills and software, but t he rewards are higher too – you’ll achieve higher margins and build stronger, stickier relationships with your clients.You can take in data, sort it, and merge it; create multiple layout variations, enhance them with logos, graphics, barcodes, and targeted, personalised messages.For production, not only can you print it, but handle the mailing as well, and also offer to handle email, fax and archiving.
  • In terms of putting a Variable Data document together, one tool is the composition tool.Here, you’ll typically find:- Drag and drop- Document design wizards- Data conditions wizards- The ability to capture data from anywhere- Advanced PDF handling tools
  • The second tool you’ll typically encounter is the workflow tool:- The ability to capture all data sources- Connect to all outputs- Allow for multiple processes- And time-based activities
  • Some years ago, variable data printing was mostly associated with simple mail merge or direct mail pieces.Today it can be as diverse and complex as your data allows.Whether you’re new to variable data printing – or have been offering it to your customers for a while – there are solutions that will suit your needs today and help expand for the future.As your expertise grows, you can expand your services.Start with basic data merging, add graphics, and then work toward incorporating QR codes and PURLs.As your capabilities grow, so too will your profits – you’ll be able to charge more for your expertise and for the value you add to communications.When you work with your customers, think of their business objectives – and think of your offerings in terms of marketing campaigns and strategies.And don’t forget to use those capabilities for your own business – many printers invest in the technology but fail to utilise it to build their own business.Experimenting with your own data will help you gain expertise and confidence – and help you create a case study that you can share with prospective clients.Offer to run a pilot program – take a static job and convert it to a personalised campaign. Demonstrate the ROI and that will help you with your pricing structure.And don’t forget to invest in staff. Having the right people will help ensure ideas are easily implemented, and sales activities easier to achieve and support.
  • The buzz today is all about digital: emailing, blogging, tweeting, etc.The interesting thing is that direct mail still offers the lowest cost per lead and highest conversion rate of any other channel – better than advertising, better than email, better than telemarketing, and better than pay-per-click.Even the simplest form of variable data printing can have a considerable impact on ROI:Response rates up by almost a quarterRepeat orders and order values up by around 20%And improved response timesAnd by offering a package, including data cleansing, mail optimisation, variable composition and output, you will be differentiating yourself from the competition – and moving away from commodity sales.So you’re helping your customers with their business – and at the same time, you with your business.
  • When you move toward managing transactional, business-critical communications – like statements, invoices and renewals – you’ll encounter a couple of key challenges.The first is management of data.Data is often difficult to extract, typically stored in multiple databases and systems within an organisation, many of which are rigid, legacy systems offering very little flexibility to manipulate and repurpose that data.And they’re often closed systems that don’t talk to one another.It presents a real challenge to get meaningful, useful data – and also makes it difficult to take advantage of new technologies like e-presentment and transpromotional campaigns.It also makes it more difficult to take advantage of savings through data cleansing, normalisation and mail sorting.So you end up with manual processes to extract, consolidate, sort and manipulate data.That leads to production delays, increased labour costs, higher set-up costs, and opens the door to errors and mistakes.It also leads to poor asset utilisation as inefficient job management techniques mean that print engines aren’t running at full capacity.When you consider the cost and impact of manual workflows, the need for automation becomes clear.
  • Thankfully, almost every step of the document manufacturing process can be automated.With the right software technologies in place, you can implement streamlined and automated workflows – from pre-processing through to delivery.Today, almost any data format can be read – even print data streams and PDFs – and the data captured, converted and manipulated, leading to savings with data normalisation, sorting and address cleansing.These actions can be set to run automatically, with no manual intervention.It also allows you to leverage those newer technologies, like transpromo, e-presentment and QR codes.Automated operations also remove restrictions on when you operate – without human intervention, you can offer your clients a 24/7 operation.You can load balance across multiple print engines, easily managing capacity and redundancy.Postal savings are also easier to attain through mail aggregation, consolidating mailings to realise economies of scale.Another benefit of automation is that every step of the production process can be monitored – reporting provides businesses with quick and easy visibility of all costs associated with business correspondence.
  • So with better business processes and automated workflows, significant savings can be achieved by reducing or eliminating manual processes.You reduce the risk for errors.You improve turnaround time for jobs.You can realise better asset utilisation and manage redundancy.You can keep an accurate eye on costs.And you can realise significant postal savings.And it also opens the door to use of new communication technologies.Any type of document can be personalised – and every marketing campaign can benefit from personalisation.With the right strategy and right technology in place, it means you are able to offer your clients more services, services that add value to their business – and more money to your bottom line.No longer are you just a printer, but you are a marketing services provider that is helping your clients with their business, helping you forge a stronger, stickier relationship with your customers.
  • When it’s time to look at software technology to help you create personalised communications, it’s important to consider a number of factors:It must be easy to use and affordable,A stand-alone solution reduces your investment costs,It must be open – allowing you to connect to any database source, be compatible with any designer format, and deliver efficient output to the delivery platform of your choice,And it’s helpful to have support available when you need it.
  • How variable data can grow your business - Konica Minolta, Objectif Lune

    1. 1. Can Variable Data grow your business? Henryk Kraszewski Business Development Manager Objectif Lune
    2. 2. Your Challenges • Shorter print runs • Finding new ways of increasing margin • Identifying new opportunities
    3. 3. VDP “ A form of digital printing in which elements such as text, graphics and images vary from one piece to the next ”
    4. 4. Document Composition
    5. 5. Workflow
    6. 6. Benefits Response rates 24% Repeat orders 21% Order values 19% Response time decrease 23% Source: InfoTrends: The Ultimate Guide to Variable Data Publishing Solutions
    7. 7. Challenges
    8. 8. Production Automation
    9. 9. So what does it all mean? • Reduce labour costs • Speed turnaround times • Optimise postage discounts • • • • Offer more services Value-add services Improve customer satisfaction Remain relevant to your clients
    10. 10. Solutions Automated workflow solution for business processes Pen and paper workflow solution Central print production server Variable data printing solution for promotional communications and print optimisation Mail Preparation solution for mail inserters Scalable composition and production solutions for personalised enterprise communications