Making the Most of Mobile: What a “Mobile First” Strategy Means for Your Business

Mobile technologies have taken the world by storm.  Our purpose in this white paper is not to spew out a lot of facts and figures about how many smartphones and tablets there are, and how many are Apple versus Android versus others.  There are plenty of resources that can give you that information. Let’s just say it is a big number! In fact, according to a special report from Raconteur, 2014 saw one smartphone for every five people on the planet. And the numbers are not declining anytime soon, nor will the transition from feature phones to smartphones slow down.

See the infographic

See the infographic

 

As an example, in the EU5 alone (France, Germany, Italy, Spain and UK), 57% of mobile users owned a smartphone in the 3-month average ending December 2012.The EU5 online video audience grew 5 percent over the past year, whilst the number of mobile video viewers has jumped by 162 percent since December 2011. (Leading online video platforms across Europe are YouTube (Google), Dailymotion, Facebook and VEVO.) In the UK, the outlook for mobile business is rosy, according to the Raconteur report: “Figures from the Centre for Economics and Business Research show 5.6 million people already use their mobile devices to buy goods and services online This is expected to rise to 20 million in the next six years, by which time online mobile purchases will be worth more than £18 billion, up from £48 billion in 2013.

What we will do is talk about the usage trends, what they means for your business, and how Ricoh can help. We will delve into three aspects of this:

  1. How mobile technologies can be leveraged in your own business to improve productivity in terms of production and business management, employee satisfaction and more;
  2. What you need to consider in terms of customer-facing applications in order to allow your customers the flexibility of conveniently and comfortably accessing your business from any device, anywhere, anytime, ordering print and other products, reviewing job status and more; and
  3. How you can take advantage of the rapid adoption of mobile technologies to add new (profitable) products and services to your portfolio that not only generate new revenue streams but add value to your customers’ businesses.

These factors have implications with respect to your investments, staffing, production, web development and sales/marketing strategies.  While many of the concepts and ideas stated here are applicable to any business – including your customers’ businesses – the content is tuned toward the needs of printing and marketing services companies. It should be noted that while larger printing companies have likely implemented many of the suggestions contained in this white paper, it is also critical for small to mid-sized companies to take notice and begin to plan for mobile adoption, or to re-evaluate plans already in place based on the content presented here.

Find out more, download the whitepaper here.

The Sun is rising over direct mail

Ricoh sponsored the DMA UK's latest research into Direct Mail

Ricoh sponsored the DMA UK’s latest research into Direct Mail

This week the British Direct Marketing Association (the DMA) held an event – Mail Matters – in London, to share the results of some research sponsored by Ricoh. It revealed some fascinating insights into how the brand owners and their agencies who commission, design and coordinate direct mail campaigns feel toward this marketing channel.

Many research studies into direct mail as a part of the marketing mix have demonstrated  very clearly that direct mail holds a special place in the hearts and minds of consumers. Its uniquely tangible properties  help to generate an emotional response that other media struggle to match.

Most research has focused on consumer attitudes and behaviour.  This new research though looks for a different perspective.  Direct mail just doesn’t happen unless both brand owner and their agency together make it happen. So, while the consumer picture is relatively well documented, the research told us what  these other vital stakeholders, the marketers and agency decision makers, think about it.

The Mail Matters research we sponsored told us that while the well known, young ‘digital natives’ in their agency roles  are naturally completely at home in the digital marketing arena, it seems that many are not yet fully switched on to what is possible with  direct mail, or advertising mail as it is sometimes called, today. For example a strong majority of respondents described both better personalisation and image personalisation as innovations that would enhance the effectiveness of mail.  As we know, however, this functionality is a long established feature of direct mail, but it becomes more exciting as a result of the possibilities generated by the smart use of data insights.

DMA Mail mattersEncouraging mail recipients to go online is a key goal the research shows, and there are many technologies to facilitate a smooth transition from the paper page to the online world.  Ricoh’s interactive print solution, Clickable Paper is one of the newest. What the research suggests is that some marketers and agencies are either persisting with the limited functionality of QR codes or not deploying any bridging technology at all. It is also worth noting that 72% expect more innovation to integrate print with digital media; and I am sure that this will be a big part of the future of direct mail.

Very positively, there is a powerful core of respondents who trust direct mail in their campaigns because of its proven effectiveness and strong ROI. And while postage costs may be a barrier to some, the returns available are clearly the decisive factor for many others.  And at Ricoh we believe this group will grow as the communications and commercial factors in favour of direct mail in the mix become even more compelling. For while data analytical techniques, such as those available through Ricoh’s Precision Marketing service (for example the MarkSim market segmentation tool which was used to analyse this research), are enabling better segmentation and more accurate targeting, direct mail production is becoming more cost efficient. The latest high speed inkjet systems, like the ground-breaking Ricoh ProTM VC60000, are bringing a new level of print quality to complement their well understood variable data capabilities. And at the same time Ricoh’s new cut sheet devices, the ProTM C 9100 and ProTM C7100 series, bring new levels of capability in terms of media range and special effects, ideal for direct mail jobs that demand impact and stand-out.

So, at Ricoh, we are seeing a new dawn for direct mail. With marketers and agencies alike moving toward greater understanding and harnessing of its power, coupled with the technology available to enhance response and optimise cost efficiency.  It’s an exciting time to be in the direct mail field. For alert print services providers in particular, who can seize the moment, helping their clients fully capitalise on the opportunity and the technologies available now.

How digital print technology is enabling providers to compete in a shrinking transactional market

Digital production printers were prime movers in reshaping transaction printing in the
late 1970s by enabling companies to quickly and efficiently produce bills, invoices, and
other account-based documents in a single computer-based operation. Today a new
generation of digital printing solutions is enabling the industry to respond to the
challenges and opportunities created by electronic alternatives to the mail.

Ricoh’s new whitepaper, from Interquest, explores recent trends, challenges, and
developments with transaction printing in North America and Europe. It also examines the critical and evolving role of digital printing technology, and how it is enabling providers to successfully compete in a shrinking market.

Here are some of the key insights.

Leading Market Trends - Europe

    • total decline in printed transactional pages is less than perhaps expectedINTERQUEST forecasts that transaction print volume will decline by -2.8% per year in Europe, and by -3.6% annually in the U.S. from 2014 to 2019

 

    • Faster, more capable and more economical full-colour inkjet and toner systems are helping transaction providers and their customers enhance transaction mail and improve production and delivery operations.

 

    • In North America high-speed inkjet printing has taken the transaction print market by storm. More than half (55%) of the output currently produced …

 

    • Strong latent demand for paper-based bills and statements in Europe: In Europe 83% of clients’ customers currently receive paper bills only, 13% receive electronic bills only, and 4% receive both

 

 

“We see a step forward in the move to electronic delivery, with corporate billers forcing their customers to move away from paper. Nevertheless, there is still a lot of paper printed because print provides a better response rate than electronic”.—French transaction printer

 

 

To find out more, download Ricoh’s new whitepaper: Transaction Printing in North America & Europe Market Trends & Outlook

 

Book printing – an industry in transformation

Book printing dates back to the invention of movable type in the fourteenth century. It has undergone surprisingly few process changes in the intervening centuries—rotary letter presses in the industrial revolution, lithography, and more recently, digital printing. Profound changes in the publishing industry, however, are shaking up the book supply chain as never before and remaking how, when, and where books are
printed.

Online and mobile technology has disrupted the conventional book publishing industry in relatively short order. It has touched virtually every aspect of the industry: how books are published, how they are distributed, how (and if) they are printed, and how they are read. In the process, traditional roles and responsibilities have been rearranged.

Ricoh’s new whitepaper Book Printing – the Remaking of an Industry created by Interquest examines the impact of these transformations on the book printing supply chain, and explores how and why digital book printing is being used in North America and Europe to adapt to the fastchanging environment.

Some of the key findings are:

  • In North America twice as many books are printed digitally as in Western Europe – 10% vs 5%
  • More than half (56%) of the North American book printers recently surveyed by INTERQUEST use high-speed inkjet presses to produce books
Western Europe

In Western Europe, where only 5% of books are printed digitally, the focus is dealing with shorter print runs

Download the whitepaper here.

 

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

Direct Mail is Competing in a Digital World

[GUEST BLOG]

You might be forgiven for thinking that direct mail is old hat and that with social media, SMS and email it can’t compete effectively. Well think again – in the same way that television and Kindles haven’t killed the book, email and SMS for marketing it doesn’t mean that direct mail is destined to be the poor relation. Granted technology is constantly changing and it’s easy to think that the more traditional communication methods have become unfashionable amongst the wealth of new apps and tools available.

Direct Mail delivers significant ROI

In 2013 Central Mailing Services statistics showed that 48% of the UK population responded to direct mail over the past year. It also showed that 62% of people like to receive offers via mail and 56% of people welcome mail that provides useful information. So we all still respond well to direct mail when it is made relevant and targeted to us.

Although the prognosis for direct mail is better than most people would imagine email direct marketing is still a significant force. According to a panel of 128 senior B2B and B2C client-side email marketers interviewed for the British Direct Mail Association’s annual national client email report, 56% expect to see increased marketing budget allocation to email in 2014. Optimism for the channel’s outlook this year has been underpinned by a 16% leap in average ROI from £21.48 in 2012 to nearly £25 (£24.93) in 2013 for every £1 spent on email campaigns. This rises to an average of £30.52 for B2C campaigns.

This rise in ROI has been attributed to a heightened focus on better-targeted campaigns. There has been a strong emphasis on list segmentation as the percentage of marketers segmenting campaigns for six+ audiences rose from 29% in 2011 to 38% in 2013. Segmented emails accounted for 60% of all email revenue in 2013, compared to 55% in 2012. Increased social media activity has also made a big impact on email ROI as it has increased levels of brand engagement with consumers and helped to drive a rise in the acquisition of new email addresses.

We currently live in a world of time-starved people and most of us suffer from email overload and many messages are not opened and are condemned directly to the rubbish bin. With 300 billion messages sent each day, and a constant bombardment of marketing email after email, it makes a welcome change to receive a creative and relevant piece of direct mail when you get home. In fact, if it has some novelty value, it may well be kept and shared and it will certainly stand out from the mass of boring emails. With digital printing becoming more attractive in terms of cost effective volumes and personalised messaging, it is possible to send out something a little different from your competitors without blowing the over stretched marketing budget. Printed direct mail is now becoming so effective that its ROI has increased every year in the last decade.

The future is Omnichannel

A Direct Marketing Association study in 2013 showed that the response rate for direct mail to an existing customer averages 3.4% compared to 0.12% for email. So the next big thing for print providers is hybrid direct mail or Omnichannel – a combination of printed direct mail and online interaction through email, SMS, social media –  and all relevant channels.

Printed direct mail is now a good way to drive digital interaction and as a result digital marketing is now creating innovative solutions for printed DM. It appears that the future may well be a mutually beneficial alliance as opposed to a fight to the death.

Source: InfoTrends

Source: InfoTrends

Research from InfoTrends supports this theory that, when print is successfully combined with other communication channels into a campaign,  response rates are significantly higher.

Being creative with direct mail design and format can easily drive much improved results. The use of structural dimensional mail pieces has become very popular, making it much more eye catching and appealing than a flat piece of paper. Research has shown that dimensional mail:

  • Can have 20 times the penetrating power of flat direct mail
  • Can boost response rates by as much as 75%
  • Scores 80% or better in generating positive opinions among recipients.

Challenges for SME businesses

The biggest challenge in this area for most SME businesses is having the internal resource and expertise available to effectively manage hybrid mail campaigns. With around 75% of email marketing still being run by in-house teams, the obvious solution is for print providers to offer a combined solution of print and email to their customers. The customers would then benefit by freeing up internal resources and also having a partner with the expertise to run hybrid mail campaigns.

When print providers start dealing with hybrid direct mail it creates the opportunity to develop and expand their data management capabilities. Currently the bottleneck for the growth of Big Data management is growing the skills fast enough; a McKinsey Global Institute report projected that the United States needs 140,000 to 190,000 more workers with “deep analytical” expertise and 1.5 million more data-literate managers. So if there ever was an opportunity for growth staring you in the face, there it is.

A major part of managing Big Data projects is asking the right questions: How do you define the problem? What data do you need? Where does it come from? What are the assumptions behind the model that the data is fed into? How is the model different from reality? Listening to the data is important, but so is experience, intuition and a much deeper understanding of destination markets and consumer behaviour. After all, what is intuition and gut feel? It is the human brain analysing large amounts of data to draw conclusions rather than using a maths model.

Digital print technologies have advanced to engage target audiences through data driven personalisation in a very similar way to how email and other online capabilities have progressed. Variable data printing utilises triggers based on consumer data and segmentation to determine the messages and creative assets. Combine all these elements with timely delivery services and you have the most compelling and effective marketing channel there is.

Summary

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of Printfuture.com

Neil Falconer -Print Industry Strategy Consultant and MD of Printfuture.com

So direct mail may be changing into hybrid mail and undergoing something of a renaissance, but let’s be clear the printed part of a direct mail campaign is the most important and adds the most value. As print providers we all need to spread the word that direct mail is alive and well and competing very successfully in a digital world.

This article was commissioned by Ricoh to bring you independent opinions from industry experts. We hope you find our guest speaker’s views interesting and stimulating. We would appreciate your feedback. 

For more information about Ricoh’s Packaging solutions and initiatives see:  Ricoh-europe.com/printandbeyond