Faster, better, smarter and cheaper

Some of the most significant developments in the commercial printing industry have very little to do with paper, ink and presses. One of the more notable developments is in the exchange and handling of client information. For example, from the marketer's...

Some of the most significant developments in the commercial printing industry have very little to do with paper, ink and presses.

One of the more notable developments is in the exchange and handling of client information.

For example, from the marketer’s office chair, he or she can log on to a printer’s system, view their layout and proof the work online. Changes can be made instantly.

‘They can deliver their message through the Internet,’ says Alec Couckuyt, vice-president of Transcontinental Printing’s direct marketing group. ‘We can accept all forms of input mediums without encryption. The files may be compressed, or sent in plain text, or labeled or unlabeled.’

And printers are also adding data processing and manipulation and database management to the mix.

‘We can filter a complete database,’ Couckuyt continues. ‘For example, we’ve got 135 different models for Esso Canada ready to ship.

‘It is combining data services with our print services to better help marketers achieve greater response rates. Geostatistical analysis, win-back, retention and acquisition, nth select – this is the language we have to speak as we transform from printing company to a supplier of direct marketing services.’

Ed Strapagiel, senior vice-president with Kubas Consultants in Toronto, calls it a ‘fortuitous marriage’ between database marketing methods and printing technology.

‘It’s all about doing it faster, better, smarter and cheaper,’ he says. ‘The client is the one sitting there with the mailing list. And it’s now possible for direct mail advertisers to produce a campaign at lower cost and greater speed if they can deal with a printer directly. They can e-mail the files over. It really speeds up the process.’

Despite the advent of technology – particularly Internet-based connectivity – ‘direct mail still chugs along,’ continues Strapagiel.

‘There are a lot of different forces affecting direct mail, but they tend to be offsetting. Sure, there is e-mail marketing, but even if you have e-mail, it’s used for prospecting or lead generation. Somewhere along the line, you probably still want to send somebody a four-colour brochure.’

Also in this report:

* Going beyond personalization: Through the use of in-line finishing and imaging, it’s possible to deliver a customize package in less time and for less money than ever before p.D10

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group