The Rocketing Rise of Color Inkjet Production for Direct Mail

Rocket Man with Megaphone

By Kay Wilt

Is your company a mailing service provider who produces direct mail, or a direct marketer who is using color inkjet to produce your direct mail? If you answered “yes” to either of these options, you know about the rapid rise of color inkjet technology for direct mail production.  If you answered “no” you may or may not have heard much about color inkjet .  .  . yet.

By 2018 U.S. production color inkjet page volume will exceed that of digital color toner according to InfoTrends’ 2013-2018 Global Production Printing & Copying Market Forecast. InfoTrends Group predicts that high-speed color inkjet is closing the gap between both offset and digital print. That growth includes direct mail, as well as other promotional printing, transactional documents and publishing.

What has contributed to the growth of color inkjet production, especially for direct mail?

  • More inkjet presses are now available with advancements for improved quality and faster speeds.
  • Paper companies have developed more options for treated and coated stocks that allow higher quality printing at reasonable costs.
  • Better inks have improved the color output and quality, allowing higher end documents to be printed on color inkjet presses.

If you are mailing direct mail in medium to large volumes and/or have multiple versions or do a lot of testing, you should look closely at this production technology. Color inkjet allows white paper in, with a personalized color document out.

Benefits of color inkjet production include –

  • Elimination of preprinted offset forms and related inventory costs including obsolescence and waste/spoilage.
  • Competitive with the cost of traditional offset printing and monochrome laser personalization for high volumes and many smaller volume programs.
  • Substantial postal savings – Versions that now require different preprinted shells can be combined into one production run on color inkjet presses resulting in larger quantities going to postal distribution facilities and lower postage rates.
  • Quicker timeframes from data to mail – The traditional offset printing step is eliminated, and today’s color inkjet presses are faster than most monochrome laser printers.
  • Unlimited versioning and more specific targeting of your audience can increase response rates.

For many direct mailers, the postage savings and elimination of preprinted forms are the most immediate benefits. But we predict that the creative flexibility that color inkjet presses provide will be key as marketers understand how to best utilize this technology.

We are seeing a lot more articles and evidence on the value of direct mail and its role in an integrated marketing plan. Good data used properly is essential to creating direct mail with high value to the recipient, resulting in higher response rates. In this digital age of mobile phones that keep us constantly connected, consumers still like direct mail.

Look for more information on the benefits and uses of high-speed color inkjet printing for direct mail in future blog posts.

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