How to Use Print-on-Demand for Real World Applications


A recent study found that 82% of those surveyed trust print advertising over any other communication channel. Additionally, a related survey revealed that 79% of consumers are more apt to respond to a print call-to-action compared with just 45% with emails or other digital channels.

It’s clear the pathway for print is wide open, and print-on demand (POD) has emerged as a valuable tool in helping companies leverage the flexibility, speed, and real-time consumer data necessary to deliver timely, highly targeted, and personalized print that can help drive growth.

The commercial print-on-demand (POD) market is expected to reach nearly $40 billion by 2030. But even with this explosive rate of growth, companies — or even entire industries — are still  out of the loop on either what POD is and how it works, or how it can help companies facilitate more cost-effective, strategic print communications. 

To help demonstrate the wide range of possibilities and benefits a print-on-demand approach provides companies, let’s quickly define what print-on-demand is, and then look at a couple of real world industry applications where on-demand print has made it faster, easier, and more effective for marketers to leverage the power of print.  

What is print-on-demand?

Whereas offset printing is built around printing much larger volumes in order to hit the right economies of scale, print-on-demand uses digital press technology to print the exact quantity you need precisely when you need it. Print-on-demand provides marketers with a handful of unique benefits in terms of creating a more flexible print architecture, and also helping to reduce both cost and waste. For example:  

  • The digital nature of on-demand print means marketers and designers can edit or adjust print collateral based on any number of shifting criteria. For example, if a logo changes or a product suddenly becomes unavailable, on-demand print gives marketers the ability to pivot in real time without having to discard large quantities of inaccurate print pieces, which can significantly reduce the ROI of your print campaign.
  • Print-on-demand harnesses the power of variable data printing (VDP) to create personalized print. Because POD uses digital press technology, marketers can use VDP to create highly targeted, personalized print pieces based on detailed customer data like purchases, browsing history, or lifecycle stage.
  • Print-on-demand helps marketers scale print projects based on response or demand. You never know how a print piece will perform. Whether it’s a seasonal campaign or an exclusive, limited offer, POD helps marketers print the exact quantity they need without having to worry about either being short-handed by not printing enough during the first run or having to store and inventory large quantities of extra units due to overestimating demand.

Plus, combining the speed and flexibility of print-on-demand with a data-driven, intuitive print automation platform can help marketers leverage the trust and tangible nature print provides to effectively communicate with current customers or leads in almost any industry application. 

How can the insurance industry use print-on-demand? 

When it comes to the sheer volume of print materials, the insurance industry may take the cake, especially when you consider that almost 75% of consumers prefer print for things like bills or invoices, and more than one-third of those surveyed are more favorable toward print specifically for insurance information. 

Incorporating a personalized, marketing-focused message into this kind of transactional print is one specific instance where insurance companies can use on-demand print to create highly targeted print that customers are more apt to respond to. 80% of customers are more likely to buy from brands who demonstrate that they recognize and understand them, and print that incorporates relevant customer data is highly effective at demonstrating you have a relationship with your customer.

For example, imagine a customer enrolls online for a health insurance policy. Using a print automation platform that integrates with a CRM, insurance companies can leverage on-demand printing to produce a custom welcome kit with personalized content, messaging, offers, or rewards that are unique to them and what they have expressed interest in. 

Or, imagine a customer reaches the 10 year anniversary since they purchased their initial coverage. Using this detailed customer data insight, print-on-demand technology can print a personalized thank you card and milestone kit that showcases how their plan has helped them during the past decade, as well as highly targeted promotions or even giveaways based on the data in your CRM. 

In each case, POD is the only viable avenue to execute this kind of custom, highly targeted print in a way that is cost-effective and has the potential to drive meaningful ROI. Plus, the color and image quality of digital print can help insurers use visually engaging, dynamic designs that incorporate omnichannel components like QR codes, website URLs, hashtags for social conversations, and more.   

How can the higher education industry use print-on-demand?

Similar to the insurance industry, higher education institutions also print an extremely high volume of material, especially given the number of online higher education opportunities on the market today. 

Think about the variety of deadlines involved in higher education communications — enrollment deadlines, windows to apply for student loans or financial assistance, housing for on-campus students, and a host of others. For higher education organizations, this makes speed and personalization the name of the game, and luckily on-demand print can help.

For example, think about the highly personalized and data-driven nature of financial aid statements. Not only must these pieces be personalized — and compliant with any privacy regulations that are commonplace with financial information — but they are also extremely time-sensitive, which means print turnaround times need to be quick. 

Or, imagine a prospective student requests information about a college or university, or even books an in-person campus tour. Print-on-demand technology makes it fast and cost-effective for marketers to create high quality, engaging brochures that are designed specifically for the student’s interests and help create a close, personal connection with that student in a way that influences their decision about whether to attend.

In order to successfully execute these kinds of rapid, personalized print materials, companies need a print partner with the experience, resources, and know-how to produce effective, high quality pieces that generate ROI. Quantum Group invests in the latest digital POD technology to help our partners experience all that personalized print has to offer in creating a meaningful connection with customers. 

Learn more about our commercial print capabilities, and how our approach to print-on-demand can help you take your print to where it needs to go.