Contemporary Print Technology and Time to Market

Digital printing technology makes it easy to take print projects quickly from concept to production. Digital printers use no plates, films, or drying time often associated with offset lithograph. Reacting to a change in market conditions by creating full color marketing material is speedier in the digital world.

Digital printers can produce multiple versions of material with no extra time for set-up, changeover, or production. This makes it financially reasonable to quickly test different designs or offers with small pilot groups, evaluating response rates before rolling out a large campaign. Companies can start publicizing their products sooner and gradually expand to more markets, making improvements to their promotional materials along the way.

Variable data is a big advantage for digital printers. Every page can be different, allowing for the inclusion of personalized items or individual tracking codes in a single pass. Digital printing requires no extra steps or pre-printed shells. To connect printed material to digital content on the internet, digitally printed pieces can include personalized URL’s (PURL’s) or QR codes corresponding to unique web pages designed for each mail piece recipient. Marketers can change or update content linked in this way while printed material remains static.

Leading Edge Approaches
Some new technologies that marketers are beginning to deploy include near field communications (NFC) and augmented reality (AR). Marketers enable NFC by attaching a label containing a small microchip and built in antenna, known as a tag, to a printed piece. When an NFC-enabled smart phone taps a tag, the tag transfers information stored on the microchip, such as a web site address, phone number, or ID number to the phone. Companies can use NFC tags to launch a how-to video, enter a contest, or deliver a coupon. Digital assets on the web can be updated or changed without reprinting the physical items or replacing the tags.

With AR, a potential customer points their tablet or smart phone camera at printed material that seems to come to life in 3D on the screen. Objects may be rotated, viewers may “walk” through virtual structures, or characters may come to life as an interactive game. Pointing a device at a clothing ad for example, may generate a model wearing the item, allowing the user to change colors, add accessories, or view from different angles. In this way, print can get a great deal more information about a new product in front of potential buyers in a particularly engaging way, without requiring customers to visit a store or showroom.

Print delivers the highest response rates for marketers and has superior staying power. Contemporary print technology is an exciting and economical way to leverage those advantages while driving traffic to compelling and versatile digital elements on the internet.

For more ideas about how to use modern print techniques and get your products to market faster, contact us today!

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