This week, everybody is watching the stock market and talking about the economy, but I want to do a little reality check here. Other than tweaking our portfolios, there isn’t much we can do about it. Was the bail-out the right decision? Was it not the right decision? Talking about it makes us feel better—as if it gives us some kind of control—but the reality is, it doesn’t. Why not take all that nervous energy and channel it into something really productive? A place where we can make a difference right away?
Did you know that by making some basic changes in your document management and print marketing, you can reduce your carbon footprint, use fewer trees, use less petroleum, and improve your bottom line at the same time? In today’s time of financial crisis, that ought to get any company’s attention. It starts, not with the paper or ink you spec, but with the fundamental way you print at your documents.
By utilizing today’s digital production technologies, you can move to document management models that have a major impact on the environment. By printing shorter runs—even for high-quality, four-color documents—you eliminate warehousing costs and the cost of outdated print, but on the environmental side, you avoid cutting down trees for nothing. Every time a book, a pamphlet, a flyer goes out of date and gets thrown in the trash, you just contributed to needless deforestation.
By making smarter use of your database—say, mailing to only the top 10% of your customer base—you reduce the amount of printed material you use. If you combine it with smart use of print personalization, you could earn even more revenues than on a larger static mailing.
Some great examples can be found in a new report on digital-printing-driven marketing models entitled “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” released yesterday. Although the report is not exclusively on the green aspects of marketing using digital print, it’s a background buzz throughout the entire discussion. Nearly every case study in the report has some positive environmental impact, as well as a positive bottom line impact.
Here are some examples from the report:
• Jim Beam Brands, which makes distilled spirits and fine wines, wanted to make life easier for its internal marketing and purchasing staff by creating a Web-to-print system for customizing and ordering marketing materials. In the first quarter, 67% of print orders were placed using the solution, and by the second quarter, 100% of orders had been transferred online. Jim Beam saved $100,000 per year and achieved 490% return on investment in a single year.
• The Baan Company, a provider of B2B commerce solutions, wanted to reduce costs from obsolete collateral, reduce inventory costs and complexity of management, and improve time to market for document changes and updates. Before implementing a digital, print-on-demand workflow, 60% of its brochures were thrown away. By switching to centralized, online on-demand ordering, it now prints on demand and has reduced or eliminated inventory obsolescence. Order handling costs have dropped by 85%.
• The University of Toronto recently experienced slashed its mailing database from 70,000 to around 35,000, then sent out personalized communications. The university’s actual donor base increased by 80% and its revenue jumped by 30%. Meanwhile, its costs actually dropped by $16,000.
Today’s economic times are uncertain and there are many responsibilities—including environmental—weighing on all of us. Switching to a more sustainable print production model is just one small, highly practical and EASY step we can take.
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