Technology is making the print industry boom

September 25th, 2017 | by Steve Falk, President of Prime Data |

Last week was a big week at Prime Data. We celebrated the expansion and centralizing of our production, IT and administration in Aurora, Ontario. It was a full-on celebration with a Dixieland band, tours of our new location, visits from dignitaries, vendors, customers and local business owners. It was such a big deal we even splurged for balloons.

While it was a great excuse to have a party, our expansion has a much bigger message: it’s one more indicator that print communications — while they are evolving — are not going away anytime soon.

Marketing communications is a crowded field. Digital media have put pressure on other channels to perform. We’ve focused on the high value created when data is combined with dynamic printing to bring the kind of personalized experience to printed mail that consumers have come to expect from tablets, phones and screens.

Now, if you’ve been drinking the digital Kool-Aid, you may be asking yourself, how important is real mail these days?

Mail is still an economic force to be reckoned with

Canada Post reports that it carries nearly 9 billion items per year.  That’s about 1 billion small business communications, handwritten letters and cards dropped in the red mail boxes around the country, in addition to the billions of advertising messages, bills, statements and parcels going to over 15 million destinations. The total volume’s been declining over the years, but small/mid-sized businesses find it vital and some advertisers still find it the best and most viable option to reach their customers. 

Fundraising is an example of a sector that relies heavily on mail. There have been numerous attempts to disconnect from print. However, fewer than 10% of individual donations are given online, according to Blackbaud, the largest software provider in the field. Hospitals, animal welfare groups, education, political parties and social service agencies all depend on mail to sustain their budgets. It’s reported by Forbes magazine that over 66 million dollars was spent in the last U.S. election on direct mail. Because it works.

The majority of this mail is designed, printed, folded and prepared for the post by major mail providers like Prime Data. AIIM and TC Media also produce printed mail in Aurora.  Hundreds of jobs in this town are related to this industry. These jobs (as well as the industries noted above) depend upon a stable postal service. Fundraisers have budgets that are affected when donations are delayed, similarly cash does not come into towns and businesses when bills, statements or cheques are not delivered or when sales and marketing flyers are delayed.

Digital marketing is also reaching a plateau after rapid growth, and this brings into question the “new normal” for marketing channel selection. The president of Procter and Gamble recently questioned the efficiency of his company’s digital spending in the NY Times, and has called for a full review. Other business leaders are following suit. Adblockers are being adopted at a high rate, making it challenging to position ads on browsers to target audiences. Email is losing traction with low open rates and spam blockers.  Do you even have an Instagram account open yet to be able to receive advertising there?

This is where fast, responsive mail comes into play.

When personalized mail can be produced within hours of online activity, it is not only responsive, but a highly valued and engaging communication media. It can direct recipients online and help close deals.

Print drives traffic & sales both online and at bricks and mortar locations

We’ve recently launched our ResponsivePrintTM platform that can take data from online activity and produce a personalized printed card within hours. We make it possible for a card to arrive by mail with travel discounts just a day or two after you’ve done some online research. Similarly, an eCommerce clothing store can reach out with an offer after you’ve abandoned a online shopping cart.

If you were able to join us at last Friday’s ribbon-cutting, thanks for coming out to celebrate. If we weren’t able to see you face-to-face, take a look at some of the pictures and news we made that day – right from your device.

Posted in News.