For decades, the print and mail experts at BlueCrest have worked closely with customers and partners around the world, getting to know their needs and challenges, to recommend the right solutions to alleviate those pain points. Understanding trends among end users, inside and out, is core to what we do well. So for print and mail operations today, what’s top of mind? What’s driving the most concern, the most need and the most value?
High-quality, precise, consistent color
The norm used to be that businesses would aim to print about 5-6% of a page in color. We’ve recently heard from companies – from credit card service providers to department stores to insurance companies – that want to double or triple the amount of color they’re using on the page. And that’s quickly becoming the new standard.
Color documents grab a user’s attention more readily than black and white. Color makes print communications more engaging and clearer to understand while reinforcing consistent branding. When customers engage with a company online, digital communications are entirely in color. Naturally these companies want that same experience replicated in their printed communications, whether it’s promotional discounts or financial statements. More color on the page achieves that.
Color also helps better convey visual information. Imagine getting a bill from your utility provider, with a graph comparing your month-to-month electricity usage. That information is more quickly and easily expressed when the bars on that graph are red, green and blue rather than slightly different shades of gray.
But it’s not just about splashing color onto paper and calling it a day. The color must be precise, accurate and consistent. Bank of America statements need to have the same shade of red across all their printed logos. Home Depot documents need the same shades of orange. Blue Cross Blue Shield letters need the same shades of blue. Use of color must be high quality and predictable. Every statement from any brand needs to use the same color in the same way.
Personalized messages and targeted offers
And what better way to use color than to emphasize special offers or timely messages? Using the transactional statement as a marketing channel can deliver a strong ROI.
Adding information that is relevant to your customers is a great way to increase engagement. Using the information you already know about your customer – such as a new car offer when their lease is ending or new credit card offer with cash back on the items they purchase most – makes the customer experience more meaningful and timely.
And with that need for precise coloring and personalization comes a greater-than-ever need for end-to-end tracking.
If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it
If there’s one major trend we’ve seen among our own clients, aside from the rise of color, it’s the ever-present need to track and measure the entire print and mail workflow, from composition to induction into the mail stream. In fact, these two trends go hand-in-hand, because that need for end-to-end tracking is heightened by the greater investment required of print communications in color. Ensuring that color in bank statements, promotional offers, envelopes and other printed documents remains consistent and high quality from one mailpiece to the next is a critical part of meeting SLAs.
After all, these mailpieces are more than just mail; they’re marketing representations of a company, so consistent results across every job, every run, every month and every quarter has never been more important than now.
At the end of the day, if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it. If you don’t have an end-to-end print and mail tracking system, ensuring consistency and accuracy of color and other personalized branding aesthetics across mail pieces, then you have no real way of knowing how your brand is coming across to the outside world; no way of knowing that your customers are receiving exactly what you intended to send them, in exactly the presentation you intended. No way of knowing, of course, until something goes wrong and you hear about it after the fact.
As color and personalized aesthetics become increasingly prominent parts of how branding meets print and mail communications, comprehensive end-to-end tracking must become an equally prominent part of these workflows.
Our decades of experience and expertise in the print and mail space are the foundation of everything we do at BlueCrest. The relationships we’ve built with clients and partners over the years are the reason we can quickly interpret trends and act in the best interest of their business needs.
Whether it’s with color, personalization, end-to-end tracking or any other need, BlueCrest’s suite of hardware and software solutions, such as the AcceleJet, IntelliJet and Output Management Solutions software, provide the high-quality precision in print and mail communications that our clients desire – with the robust accountability they need to make sure there are no surprises or mistakes, just guaranteed outcomes.