Insights from Ricoh’s first European Commercial Print Council

User groups … I’ve done a few in the last 30 years.

Big ones and small ones, graphic arts ones and other ones, national and international ones.

So I was pleased to organise Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Council.Which took place in the Ricoh offices in Staines on Thames (near Heathrow) UK, last month, when 15 clients gathered, representing eight companies from six countries.

2015-11-RCPC_Group Picture

Attendees of the first Ricoh Commercial Print Council Nov 2015

Not only was there close interaction with Ricoh on the technical product level, but there were also three external speakers, each with their own specific topics.

Ralf Schlözer from Infotrends, the analyst company, looked into his famous crystal ball to give insights into opportunities for digital print in the commercial print market.

Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer.

His conclusions were:

  • Printing is very much alive
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • But one should consider the whole print production chain; including the impact of the Cloud on software solutions
  • Media integration is progressing: prepare for an omni channel view rather than simply a cross channel view
  • Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer. Meaning that new businesses will emerge and they’ll use ‘print’ as a way to manufacture things (3D, textiles, etc…)
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second

Enrique Parilla from digital publishing company Lantia gave a privileged view on how he established his company as a publisher-printer-software developer, handling the publishing business in a completely different way from how traditional publishing companies do.

That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication!

He used the following interesting analogy: in 19th century America, companies selling ice for refrigeration were big business. But … they didn’t realise in which business they were in. They thought they were in the business of selling ice … when it was actually refrigeration they were selling.  So when the electrical refrigerator was invented, it wiped away the ice business. That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication! In trade book publishing for instance, publishers are not selling books but stories!

Next time you drink your G&T on the rocks, do ask yourself: ‘in which business you really are’?

Ulbe Jelluma works for Frysk, a B2B advertising agency, specialising in serving international clients (in the graphics, industrial, financial, pharmaceutical, telecom and automotive industries). He started with an attention grabbing statement: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder … And it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye!’

…agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix

Ulbe explained how agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix. He highlighted some new print applications all driven by the generation of emotions in using print. He also showed some examples of ‘different devices, same content’ or how the advertising industry is using an omnichannel approach to push its message.

Another example was of ‘existing content, different application’ with books that are printed in Brazil for the public transport authorities, serving as a ticket and a planner at the same time as being a reading book. Or what to think about a plasticised newspaper that can act as an umbrella, in a country such as Ecuador ‘where it rains a lot’?

All creative examples of how print is being used in many new and different ways.

So Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Customer Council featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. For me, though, there was a common thread.

It was the sheer resilience of print as many different players in different markets explore its unique characteristics to keep it as relevant now as ever.

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Three Ways Inkjet Has Evolved

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” -Alan Kay, American computer scientist.

This is a great time to be a brand owner or a publisher. The latest innovations in digital print technology have created new opportunities to re-evaluate the role of print in customer communications, marketing and publishing.

Once focused on forms replacement for transactional documents, production inkjet has blossomed into a versatile and powerful tool that companies like yours are using to take advantage of cutting-edge applications – and even create new ones. The marketing landscape’s shift to digital is spurring new demands from brand owners, making it imperative for the industry to shape the future of print, rather than simply responding to the status quo. Here are three ways that production inkjet – and the printers who use it – are innovating print applications and technologies:

White paper in, full colour out

In today’s world of immediacy, companies are expecting what they want, when they want it, no questions asked. For a print shop, this requires digital technologies that are nimble enough to deliver a transactional production run just before one for direct mail, with minimal downtime.

Throughout the past ten years, production inkjet has evolved into an affordable and effective route to white paper in, full colour out applications. Whether it’s a full colour transactional document, glossy direct mail piece or graphics book, inkjet technology can meet the needs of each demand with precision and high quality.

Short runs

Being able to produce short runs of varied output is also a key advantage of inkjet. In the case of books for example, while offset is still the go-to technology for producing high quantity runs of books, inkjet is enabling book printers and publishers to produce shorter runs that are just the right amount for a given purpose. Review copies used during the editing process and marketing copies distributed during the promotional phase of a book launch are two such applications where low quantities are needed. What’s more, inkjet is enabling books to never truly go “out of print” by making it easier for printers and publishers to meet one-off demands for old and rare books from consumers. In the educational market, class-customised booklets that might be used only by one or a handful of professors, and versioned textbooks are yet other opportunities to put inkjet’s short run capabilities to use.

For example, we will be showing at the Hunkeler Innovationdays show this month in Lucerne a full colour book, The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. This is digitally printed on offset stock, delivering the impact and quality that, until now, has been associated only with offset printing. Originally produced in short runs and shown at last year’s London Book Fair, it will be inkjet printed for the first time for Hunkeler Innovationdays.

Personalisation /variable data

The opportunity to customise direct marketing output has never been greater. As more transactional communications transition to intangible, digital forms such as email and mobile apps, the value of printed communications is increasing. The clients of printers are demanding high quality output that grabs attention with relevant content and interactive elements such as QR codes and interactive print solutions like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper. By virtue of the sheer amount of customer data available to agencies and their brand clients, items like coupons can be customised with items that go beyond the usual name and gender information. Deeper demographic and psychographic information can be incorporated and reference the recipient’s recent purchases, buying habits, and other information that ensures the direct marketing content is being received at the right time, by the right people with the right message. Inkjet’s heritage in variable data, coupled with its continued evolution as a graphic communications tool that rivals the colours and print quality of offset, further empowers marketing agencies and brand owners to take advantage of this opportunity. Have a look out for the The Bianchi catalogue on our stand. With its challenging brand colours and high quality bike imagery it will demonstrate the results inkjet is capable of such as readily reproducing work previously the preserve of offset.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

All of these innovations will be on display in the Ricoh booth at Hunkeler Innovation Days. Stop by to learn more. We look forward to seeing you at the show.

This article is from European Printing Industry Coverage from WhatTheyThink


How print is evolving to meet the new needs of the connected world

With more than one-third of the world’s population now online (Pew Research Center), it is little wonder that the role of printed communications is changing. The challenge is that the time spent with various media is rapidly shifting from traditional channels such as radio, TV, and print to internet and mobile channels. This means the role of printed communications must be readjusted and redefined in the broad spectrum of all media.

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Not surprisingly advertising dollars are now moving to online and mobile markets. According to PWC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2013, internet advertising grew by about 16%, and mobile advertising by 47% in 2013.

This has major implications for key areas of printed communications of interest to Print Service Providers.

Direct mail and direct marketing catalogue volume has suffered at the hands of the recent recession and the rise of electronic media. Although both remain key marketing channels for businesses, they are increasingly being orchestrated alongside digital forms of communications.

Transactional printing – unlike direct mail and catalogues, which are business-driven marketing expenditures, transactional printing is increasingly consumer-driven since recipients dictate their preferred delivery methods

Books – Electronic media has profoundly disrupted the book publishing industry by fundamentally altering the dynamics of how books are sold and consumed. Book publishers and book printers are adjusting to the fast moving realities of the market and tapping new business models enabled by publishing in a multichannel world.

Newspapers and magazines have been impacted by online advertising, rising postal costs, and competition from electronic media. Newspapers and magazines remain widely read and trusted, however, and publishers are finding new and innovative ways to combine print with electronic channels.

Our new white paper, Multichannel Communications The Evolution of Printing in a Connected World,  examines how advertisers and publishers are adapting printed products to multichannel realities in a number of key markets: direct mail and direct marketing catalogues; transactional printing; books; and newspapers and magazines.

Download the white paper here

Beyond Print: Opportunities in Expanded Revenue Streams

It’s time to evolve beyond print. With a proliferation of communication channels available – including email and social media – consumers have more choices than every before. As a print service provider, your challenge is to find new ways to support your customers’ efforts to take advantage of technologies that engage these consumers via multi-channel marketing communications.

Find out more in this Webinar by Chris Taylor, Ricoh Americas.

Ricoh Infographic – the power of Direct Mail

Direct mail is a vital node in the ‘connected world’ we live in. It’s a powerful medium. People like it. Respond to it. Act on it. In a blended campaign, Direct Mail creates an impact that’s more effective than digital marketing alone. In fact, in 2013, Central Mailing Services figures showed that nearly half the UK population responded to traditionally printed direct mail over the past year. Below are the seven reasons why integrating Direct Mail into your next campaign will help you market most effectively today and for many years to come.

  1.  The Mail moment – Consumers regard personalised direct mail as the trusted medium for customer communication
  2. Make People Act – 79% of consumers react to direct mail immediately
  3. The Sensory Experience – Direct Mail has a long shelf life – two thirds of consumers keep their mail
  4. Precision Targeting – top three reasons why people open mail:  contact from known brands and companies (51%), Personally
    addressed (47%), information about products or services of interest 40%
  5. Get creative – structural dimensional mail can have 20 times the penetrating power of flat direct mail
  6. Fantastic ROI –  most important more often than any other touchpoint in the consumer’s purchasing process
  7. Effectiveness – 48% of UK adults have done something in the last 12 months as result of mailing
The Power of Direct Mail

The Power of Direct Mail


Ricoh Direct Mail Infographic (PDF)

Find out more about Ricoh’s Solutions for Direct Mail

More statistics about Direct Mail – see:


A New Publishing Vision from Ricoh at London Book Fair

Books are different from many other sectors of print because alongside their functional use they create an emotional connection.  The result is people have choice preferences from a quality hardback or a small but perfectly formed paperback to a weighty academic tome or an e-reader.

It is these personal relationships Ricoh Europe PLC will be exploring at the London Book Fair, April 8- 10, at Earls Court, London on stand R505. We will be showcasing a number of interesting applications and services aimed at helping publishers look at their markets in new ways. They are designed to enhance traditional publishing processes with numerous exciting and compelling services that deliver something extra, beyond print.


Bridging the online and offline worlds

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One such technology is video books – where video screens embedded in a publication link to additional relevant content. On the stand will be two video-enabled booklets in action – an instruction book to train end-users and a promotion for teaching and learning resources.

Another is interactive Clickable Paper that bridges the printed page and the online world to provide immediate one-touch access to multiple online resources such as photos, video/multimedia, web sites, e-commerce portals and social networks. It extends the value of the printed page and delivers far-reaching added value to readers, the magazine publisher and advertisers. Adoptees include Dutch Business Magazine De Zaak – it has utlilised Clickable Paper to add value to its publications – and Barnwell Print in the UK which has enhanced books with value-added multi-media content. On stand Where to Fish in Norfolk will offer a real example of this in action.

We are also developing solutions that support the demand for information to be provided across a variety of media. Open Text Book Portal is an online service that enables organisations such as universities to provide students with access to textbook content in multiple formats including print, Word documents and ebooks.


Custom textbooks and Digitally Printed Books

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Then there is our Custom Textbook initiative for the digital production of tailored textbooks.  For example  the US, there is a large market for customised textbooks and we expect this to become a significant growth market in Europe, particularly with opportunities such as those presented by university professors that prefer to create their own specific course materials rather than rely on predefined textbooks.

Visitors will be able to learn more about these technologies and more by viewing an unmissable 42-inch touch-screen Electronic Learning Table providing access to detailed information, documents, examples and videos.

Of course there will be book printing examples too with some created especially for the show including The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. The book is designed to be a print experience ‘like no other’ using the very latest digital printing technologies and papers.


So drop by and see how to start a new chapter in your publishing strategy.


Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?


Graham Reed, Print Tribe Consultant, Director of Global Print Strategies

Graham Reed, Print Tribe Consultant, Director of Global Print Strategies

For many years digital printing has promised the cost effective print run of one. You cannot deny that this objective has revolutionised the printing industry forever. The concept of having fully variable content within a short production run sparked the imagination of many marketers and print providers: business cards with our pictures on; flyers that can have content specific to niche target groups; packaging that is personalised to the individual – the opportunities are endless.

However, taking advantage of these new opportunities is more difficult than it sounds. I question the ability of marketers and brand managers to understand the full potential and financial returns that can be achieved from truly personalised one to one communications. Or, is it that print sales people with the “Give me a spec, I’ll give you a price” mentality cannot effectively position the value to leverage a much more compelling proposition that transcends price, and breaks the mould of print as a commodity ?

If we focus on why these new Variable Data Print (VDP) plus Cross Media solutions get rejected by marketers, the objections based on price are a reaction that mask broader, more deep-rooted issues within the culture of their own organisation. This can be twofold:  firstly they just don’t get the concept; or second they just do not have the infrastructure or processes in place to capture and filter their data in a cost effective and joined up way.

Time and time again I hear CMOs and CEOs complain that their data is so poor that they can use it only to vary an address panel and salutation on a simple mailer. So what is the print industry going to do about it? In my view it is our responsibility to lead our clients and educate them on the best practice and benefits from fully personalised print and how it can deliver enhanced commercial outcomes with their outbound marketing and communication projects.

In order to achieve this objective we need to move quickly away from the widespread mentality of competing on price!

To create long-term client engagement with integrated print solutions we need to create a new breed of “Enterprise” salespeople that can structure propositions that add real value to the print process by creating measurable commercial outcomes. Only by becoming the educators and experts with data led technologies can we capitalise on this opportunity.

The next step is to create a compelling “solution architecture” where Data, Cross Media, Web to Print (W2P), Variable Targeted printing is easily understood and relevant to the client’s business. A solution that is truly relevant and specific to a CMO’s needs will deliver outstanding responses and capture additional data that further enriches the process of engaging with the end user.

There is no doubt we have the technology; we just need the skills to sell it differently.

The full report, Time to promote the true value of print, is available to Ricoh Business Driver users. Alternatively, request a copy by completing this form.

Time to promote the true value of print white paper

The best of print is yet to come – impressions from the PODi European Appforum 2013

Attendees at the PODI Appforum

Attendees at the PODI  European Appforum in London, September 2013

There was an upbeat mood at the PODi European AppForum  2013 conference in London. The speakers came from a diverse range of backgrounds and specialisms including printers, publishers, marketing and data agencies, consultants and researchers. Nevertheless, a common sense of what is happening in the fluid world of print-based communications emerged by the end.

Where in the world

The first day of the Conference focused on the latest Geo-location technologies. Perhaps the highlight was that Telefonica Digital is launching a new service which lets you track people via their mobile phones (all data is anonymous). This opens up exciting possibilities for monitoring large numbers of people, for instance footfall at different times in shopping areas, or analysis of people’s commuting habits: a great example of how big data can be harnessed.  For Print Service Providers (PSPs), it was also very interesting to hear how straightforward it is now to incorporate personalised maps within printed communications, and how this is a great way to add value to the campaign. 

Data gets bigger

During the main conference we were reminded that the growth of Big Data is an opportunity that more Print Services Providers can capitalise on. To underline the sheer scale of it, John Noble co-founder of Pro-Active, stated that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are created every day, and that 90% of the world’s data did not exist two years ago.

This rich and expanding body of data is a marketeer’s dream – enabling insights into their customers that were previously almost unimaginable. All this Big Data (which is really just tomorrow’s data) is only of value though if a brand’s data partner can ensure its integrity and offer the necessary analytical skills to convert the raw data into meaningful, actionable information. Which is where PSPs with data knowhow can step in. Profiling and segmenting for example to construct targeted, personalised and agile campaigns for their clients.

What’s in a name?

Unsurprisingly, at the Forum, there was much said about cross media marketing (although multi-channel or integrated marketing are perhaps more familiar descriptions to the marketing executives who commission campaigns). It is clear that multi-channel marketing is evolving rapidly. For example the consultant Peter Lancaster spoke about the convergence of Social, Local and Mobile marketing (SoLoMo), which hyper-targets the right customer, with the right message, in the right time and place. Understanding terms like SoLoMo that are in the vocabulary of today’s, usually young, marketer, is important if PSPs are to have the credibility to grab a growing slice of the burgeoning multi-channel marketing world.

Research and real world

And in this world, print definitely has its place. It was encouraging at the Forum to hear different speakers make the case for print. For example, David Cole, MD of fast.MAP market research agency highlighted some key findings from research recently undertaken on behalf of the DMA (Britain’s Direct Marketing Association). He showed how direct mail is the most trustworthy, authoritative and tangible marketing channel in the eyes of British consumers.*

Then there was Gary Howard, managing partner of the digital connection agency, Tangent Snowball,  who described how print is a central element of their B to B to C ‘omnichannel’ solution that has been created for some of their blue-chip consumer brand clients. These clients use a web-based portal (or marketing automation platform) to do everything from order stock e.g. drinks or crisps to create marketing materials such as printed Point of Purchase items.

Print connects

Armand Landman, editor in chief of the Netherlands’ leading magazine for SMEs – de Zaak

Armand Landman, editor in chief of the Netherlands’ leading magazine for SMEs – de Zaak

So print has an integral role in a connected, digital world. It was coming over loud and clear. And one of print’s relatively new-found capabilities is to bridge to the online environment. This was vividly illustrated by Armand Landman, the editor in chief of the Netherlands’ leading magazine for SMEs – de Zaak. Armand is using Ricoh’s Clickable Paper technology to give his readers access to multiple rich media content locations online.

They do this by using the free app to scan Clickable Paper-enabled ‘hotspots’ using their smartphone. Readers are offered up to six different links from each hotspot. These links bring a fresh dimension to the story on the printed page such as video interviews, relevant social media sites and the de Zaak website.

Another key benefit, Armand explained, is that he can now track which pages were clicked. This gives the magazine unique insight into readers’ responses to individual articles.  Hence Armand is now looking forward to deploying Clickable Paper in the next issue of de Zaak, and extending it from linking editorial content to advertising content too.  He called it “the next page in journalism.”

Ricoh Clickable paper in action on De Zaak magazine

Ricoh Clickable paper in action on De Zaak magazine

Print is an app with a future

It is exciting innovations like Ricoh Clickable Paper that will help to sustain the enduring relevance of print. As it confidently cements its position in the communications mix, operating alongside and complementing digital delivery platforms. The Forum concluded that Print is an app with a bright future.

At the end of the closing session, the panel summed the prevailing mood with:  “The best of print is yet to come”.

*“From letterbox to inbox: Building customer relationships 2013”. Print tracking report, DMA.

Ricoh at the Paris Digital Printing and Multi-channel Communications Forum

Interquest run a series forums across Europe

Interquest run a series forums across Europe

Ricoh recently participated in the Digital Printing and Multi-channel Communications Forum in Paris. Organised by Interquest, the objective of this seminar was to explore  the synergy between print media and the digital convergence of direct marketing, as well as changes in the colour personalisation of documents.

During the day, major players in the French market for direct marketing, as well as major foreign participants – providers, large enterprises, solution providers and consultants – shared their experiences, presented their latest developments , and discussed the critical issues and the future of the sector.

Ricoh’s Benoit Chatelard participated in the panel debate – here is a transcript of his responses to the key questions.

1. What important events have happened in your company in the last 12 months, particularly in the digital printing field  associated with the direct marketing field or document management ?

In the hardware domain, there are two very important systems enhancements. First the High Capacity Dryer on our continuous feed line to support a much wider range of media (including coated stock). This is very important for high volume direct marketing. It is significant that we have now passed the bar of 35 billion inkjet colour pages printed on the Ricoh IP5000 since its launch in 2007. This is an unprecedented record on such a printer line and demonstrates what a great investment this technology has been for our clients as they produce huges volumes of work.  

In the cutsheet environment, superb new Pro C901 Graphic Arts Plus system is equipped with the latest generation FS100 ultra-fast print server from EFI. And our new baby, the recently launched Ricoh Pro C 5110 Colour press series is the perfect fit for marketing department or medium sized marketing agencies. This system makes professional colour production printing accessible to a range of companies that couldn’t afford it previously.

In the software domain, we have developed synergy between the AFP world and the PDF world with a new version of our Ricoh ProcessDirector which now supports both environments in a single workflow allowing better management of statements and collateral in an optimised print and mail process.

But  probably our most important announcement for marketers is our MarcomCentral solution, a marketing digital asset management solution that allows better brand management and a variety of marketing fulfilment options from Purls and Web to Print capabilities to the set-up of digital stores.

Interquest Paris Forum

Interquest Paris Forum

2. In Direct Mail , it seems that the colour personalisation has not developed as much as it was forecasted. What do you think and what do you do to help increase usage of those applications

I don’t agree, in our experience we see these applications growing everywhere.  Ricoh’s approach is a solutions framework called  Intelligent Marketing  that encompasses data analytics technics to  lever and use the data in terms of relevance for personalisation and targeting more effectively; Marketing Digital Asset Management to make content available widely at any time and on demand, and Cross Media to fulfil marketing on any media in a coordinated manner. With this solution, Ricoh is now addressing the entire marketing process chain.

From another angle, our Ricoh  Business Driver Programme is a consulting and advisory service that supports our customers in their transformation from Print Services Provider to Marketing Services Provider.

3. In the last years most of the vendors have concentrated their efforts on high volume inkjet colour press. What are you doing for the small and medium volume clients ?

 The market for smaller continuous feed systems is not actually that big – in many cases,  cutsheet systems can be used to serve this market as they constantly improve their productivity and throughput. In fact the  market for cutsheet is three times bigger in value than for continuous feed. Most small volume clients usually usually invest in cutsheet.

We find that when offset printers go digital they often go hybrid with cutsheet as their first digital press.   Indeed this is Heidelberg’s strategy with their LinoPrint line based on Ricoh cutsheet technology.

 4. The cost per colour page is still a concern for clients. What are you doing to reduce it ?

First of all the cost of hardware has been halved in the past 4 or 5 years while the  cost of ink and toner also continues to reduce.  But as well as consumables we develop software solutions that optimise colour management . For exanple Ink Savvy can save up to 40% of the ink usage. This is why we are selling more and more continuous feed colour and colour cutsheet in the industry. This demonstrates the affordability and return on investment of our current solutions.

The entire process  « host to post » can now be re-engineered. Instead of using pre-printed forms, everything can be printed on demand in full colour on white paper.  Hence continous feed colour inkjet can be a very profitable investment for our clients,  and we absolutely see this in France (and the rest of Europe too)  in many of the projects we are engaged in.

Benoit Chaterlard

Benoit Chatelard General Manager Solutions, Production Printing Group, EMEA


This is an exciting time to be involved in digital printing. There is now strong demand for colour digital solutions especially in Direct Mail. Ricoh has a great range of products to serve the market requirement – whether it be cost-effective digital print solutions (cutsheet or continuous feed) or market-leading software solutions such as MarcomCentral.

Cross media in action at drupa 2012

Ricoh’s personalised drupa campaign microsite

Stretching over four months, Ricoh’s pre-drupa 2012 cross-media campaign demonstrated how a personalised, multi-platform approach can elevate marketing campaigns through print and beyond with spectacular results. Through a combination of direct mail, personalised direct mail and emails, personalised URLs (PURLs), social media and telemarketing, Ricoh laid the foundations for its most successful drupa yet.


By inviting customers and prospects to join Ricoh in its journey to drupa 2012, Ricoh encouraged them to not just visit the Ricoh stand and see the solutions but to get to know the Ricoh team better too. In doing so, it adopted a multi-channel approach to allow it to:

• Launch its new Print and Beyond messaging
• Reach existing customers for lead generation
• Increase awareness of its full range of products and solutions
• Promote the Ricoh Business Driver Programme business development resource
• Create a database of prospects and demonstrate the business value of Ricoh’s strategic partnerships

Underlying this, Ricoh had the additional objective of introducing customers to its new Imagine.Change. global brand messaging.

The global nature of both drupa and Ricoh presented a wealth of opportunities for intelligent engagement with customers and potential customers, yet it also presented a number of challenges. The campaign was run across 19 countries in six languages and needed to reach more than 200,000 prospects and customers identified by Ricoh’s country organisations across Europe. So the first and biggest challenge was to unify this data, originally presented in different languages and many different formats.
Once unified, accurate data segmentation was required to ensure correct email and telephone formats, and compliance with EU Data Privacy regulations. Precise business profiling of customers and prospects was also required in order to identify their specific business needs – such as Digital Printer, Commercial Printer, Direct Marketing, Services Provider, Quick Printer, CRD or Data Center – and personalise each target’s drupa experience.
The final challenge came in identifying the software solution to handle such a weight of data and execute a complex range of communications with customers in a consistent and timely fashion.
The scale of the campaign in terms of global reach and volume of data made it a significant undertaking. As such, Ricoh chose DirectSmile based on its ability to support:

  •  Microsite with multi-lingual support
  • PURLs
  • Outbound email
  • A mobile-based ATP tennis tickets incentive offer
  • European and worldwide marketing database integration
  • Lead management interface with mobile lead capture
  • Customer programming:
    • Seminar programme
    • Meeting management

DirectSmile gave Ricoh’s data specialists a powerful tool to execute message delivery on time and on target. With this platform, Ricoh could confidently manage the scale of the campaign, routing information relating to its region-specific marketing ‘toolkits’ to its country organisations around the world.

In what DirectSmile described as one of the most complex campaigns it had ever seen, Ricoh kicked off its campaign in February by inviting targets to become an active part of its pre-drupa preparations. In the first instance, this involved a high impact postal direct mail ‘pop-up’ and simultaneous email introducing each recipient to their personalised URL. Once online, visitors were able to plan their visit to the Ricoh stand at drupa, book consultation time with Ricoh experts and enjoy access to exclusive content relevant to their business needs.

QR codes in action

The campaign was kept fresh by developing the Ricoh story from the introduction of Print & Beyond, through to themes of business transformation and sustainability before returning to Print & Beyond in the lead up to the show’s opening. For every new theme, participants received a personalised email and DM piece highlighting relevant new content such as blogs, news and white papers based on Ricoh’s drupa ‘application zones’.     

ATP draw web page, optimised for Mobile

Once at the show, Ricoh linked DirectSmile to the drupa visitor database to further enhance the information it collected from its visitors with 100 per cent mobile lead capture via iPad. At the time their visitor badge was scanned, customers and prospects could also register further interest in products and services to trigger future communications and consultation visits back in their home countries.


Ricoh exceeded its pre-registration target by five per cent and captured seven times more leads at drupa 2012 than it did at drupa 2008. From the successful execution of its multi-platform pre-drupa marketing campaign Ricoh learned that handling data was the single most challenging yet vital component to a successful cross media campaign. By then deploying social media and telemarketing in parallel with direct marketing  techniques managed through DirectSmile, Ricoh worked hard to earn its contacts and ultimately their visit to the stand. As well as multiple tactics – both direct and indirect – Ricoh was able to apply vital consistency to its activity and messaging, thanks to a strong cross media platform in DirectSmile.

Taken as a whole, the Ricoh pre-drupa campaign illustrates that service excellence in technology, support and expertise is fundamental to any printer’s journey from commodity print services provider to high-value marketing