Yes, You Can Create Sustainable, High-Volume Direct Mail Marketing Campaigns that Demonstrate ROI

A roll of paper fed through a printerA recent report found that 73% of consumers still prefer direct mail over digital ads because of the tangibility of print. But even with this high level of consumer interest or preference, some marketers still shy away from using print sales and marketing communications like direct mail for fear that this type of outreach is less sustainable than the digital marketing channel.

The good news is that the development of digital print technology makes it easier than ever before for marketers to create sustainable, high-volume direct mail marketing campaigns that actually boost response rates and generate meaningful ROI. Here, we’ll look at a couple of ways marketers can create recurring direct mail marketing campaigns that prioritize sustainability without sacrificing performance. 

Rethink your ink

There was a time where thinking more sustainably about ink meant turning to natural or organic inks, or those with ingredients that were sourced using sustainable practices. The challenge with using these kinds of inks was that they often lacked quality or put significant limitations on the kinds of substrates on which companies could print — coated versus uncoated or treated versus untreated.

What’s more, these inks were often more costly than traditional inks, and the ability to reliably source these products was far from a known proposition. However, ink technology has accelerated rapidly, to the point where the amount of ink necessary to create vibrant images or crisp text is significantly reduced.

For example, digital ink technology reduces the amount of press time required to create the same color quality and stability as found with more conventional inks. 

But the introduction of NanoInk®  technology can help marketers enhance the sustainability of their print communications even further. NanoInk colorants are supplied as concentrates and are mixed with water onsite. This advancement in ink technology avoids the unnecessary shipping of water, and saves space and weight while shipping, which helps decrease your carbon footprint and reduce the impact on our planet. 

Plus, because NanoInk uses pigment particles that have a significantly smaller diameter than other inks, you can achieve more brilliant colors with less pigment use. 

Make the move to recycled substrates

Using paper that is manufactured from post-consumer waste (PCW) helps preserve forests and makes brands less reliant on the production of virgin fibers. However, offset and even some digital presses have historically lacked compatibility with the thickness of some recycled substrates. Plus, the potential for bleed and show-through made it challenging to print full-color marketing materials or use special finishings for a little added wow factor. 

This is where Nanographic Printing® has changed the game by making it possible to print high-quality marketing collateral on any substrate, even those with a high percentage of post-consumer fibers. 

Nanographic Printing uses ultra-small particles of ink to consistently produce extremely round dots with super-sharp edges, high optical uniformity, and consistent density. During printing, ultra-small particles of wet ink are jetted onto a conveyor blanket. The ink droplets are then dried on that blanket, and the dry image is then transferred to the paper.  

This process allows you to print on any off-the-shelf paper or paperboard, regardless of the percentage of post-consumer waste, or whether the sheet is coated, uncoated, treated, or untreated. Not only does this open up new avenues for creativity with the kinds of substrates you can print on, it also allows you to work with a wider range of paper suppliers in the event your ideal paper is not available.  

Plus, the ability to print on any substrate allows you to be more selective with your choice of paper supplier, and it also gives you the freedom to partner with a paper producer that more closely aligns with your company’s values and your customers’ needs.

These benefits are just a few of the reasons why we’ve bet big on the Landa S10P Nanographic® Printing Press as the anchor of our digital press fleet. 

Print the precise quantity you need when you need it

The name of the game with traditional offset presses is volume. Traditionally, marketers have had to print large quantities in order to hit an economy of scale that made print marketing materials worth the time and cost investment — this was particularly true for direct mail campaigns or postcard mailing programs.

While such high volumes help make print marketing materials like postcards more cost-effective in the actual production phase, this practice often results in a large surplus of extra pieces, which produces  significant waste in terms of paper stock and ink, to say nothing of the increased carbon footprint from shipping or storing unnecessary print materials.

With print-on-demand technology, marketers can print only what they need — full-color short runs on a variety of substrates, and with a range of specialty inks and finishes. Not only does this reduce your use of sheets, inks, and energy required for large orders, it also helps you decrease print costs and virtually eliminate the cost and physical footprint necessary to store unused pieces. 

Outside of sustainability, this allows marketers to better optimize their print marketing expenses, and on-demand print also helps them think in a more targeted way about their print campaigns. In addition, it streamlines the process of scaling your print volume in the event that demand for your mailers is greater than anticipated, or if subsequent mailings are required in order to adequately target a specific audience. 

Quantum’s commercial print and direct mail marketing services can help marketers unlock unparalleled quality, speed, personalization, and sustainability. Plus, our 2024 USPS® Promotions Guide can help you discover how to create more engaging direct mailers that can help save on postage. 

Learn more about our direct mail marketing capabilities.