Mailing Systems Technology May/June 2015

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TOGETHER Anaheim California Anaheim Convention Center May 17-20, 2015

With Strength now comes Growth! The 2015 National Postal Forum is uniting the power of mailing & shipping to create growth opportunities for all. Join us in Anaheim California and experience the 2015 NPF and Growing Together!

E DUCATION • 130+ Educational Workshops • USPS Leadership Sessions • Networking Events • Innovative Exhibit Hall • And much more! Experience it all! Register today at







Editor's Note Learning Together as Mailing Professionals

By Amanda Armendariz


Real Life Management

Vision — The Key to Leadership Success By Wes Friesen


Software Byte

Your Mail Tracking Software is Talking — Are You Listening? By Bill Jamieson

18 10

Defining Best in Class Mail Operations

Postal Affairs

The April 26 Price Change: a Postmortem By Kim Mauch

By Adam Lewenberg


Intro to International Mail

34 Million Potential Customers North of the Border By Krishna Iyer

22 Protect Your Employees and Secure Your Mail Center By Mark Fallon



The Lifecycle of a Successful Mailpiece By Humberto Prospero



Quality Control: Taking Action to Avoid Undeliverable-asAddressed Mail


Direct Mail Evolution

Rubber, Meet Road: Is DirectMail2.0 Actually Working? By Joy Gendusa

It's Not Mailing or Shipping, It's Sending… and the Challenge Is to Send Smart


Turning Frustration into Joy: Designing for Today’s Production Color Inkjet


By Mike Dietz

Direct Marketing 101

Using Technology to Make Print and Mail Interactive By John Foley Jr.

By Patrick Brand


The Trenches

Is Print Really Worth It? By Mike Porter


Kern End-to-End Production

Kern, Inc.

By Ken Brashears


It’s an O2O2O World — Are You Participating?

HP 4

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VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 MAGAZINE STAFF Publisher Marll Thiede Editor Amanda Armendariz Contributing Writers Patrick Brand, Ken Brashears, Mike Deitz, Mark Fallon, John Foley, Jr., Wes Friesen, Joy Gendusa, Krishna Iyer, Bill Jamieson, Adam Lewenberg, Kim Mauch, Mike Porter, Humberto Prospero Audience Development Manager Rachel Chapman Advertising 608-442-5064 Ken Waddell Design Kelli Cooke RB Publishing Inc. 2901 International Lane Madison WI 53704-3128 Tel: 608.241.8777 Fax: 608.241.8666 Email: SUBSCIRBE Subscribe online at Subscriptions are free to qualified recipients: $20 per year to all others in the United States. Subscription rate for Canada or Mexico is $40 per year, and for elsewhere outside of the United States is $45. Back issue rate is $5. Send subscriptions to: Mailing Systems Technology, PO Box 259098, Madison WI 53725-9098 Call 608.241.8777 Fax 608.241.8666 E-mail Online at REPRINT SALES ReprintPro 949.702.5390 All material in this magazine is copyrighted ©2015 by RB Publishing Inc. All rights reserved. Nothing may be reproduced in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. Any correspondence sent to Mailing Systems Technology, RB Publishing Inc. or its staff becomes property of RB Publishing Inc. The articles in this magazine represent the views of the authors and not those of RB Publishing Inc. or Mailing Systems Technology. RB Publishing Inc. and/or Mailing Systems Technology expressly disclaim any liability for the products or services sold or otherwise endorsed by advertisers or authors included in this magazine.

LEARNING TOGETHER AS MAILING PROFESSIONALS WITH AMANDA ARMENDARIZ At the National Postal Forum, one finds a variety of sessions catering to almost every possible topic that concerns the mailing industry. From mail piece design, to ensuring address quality, to USPS rules and regulations, NPF truly is the place to be for mailing professionals. Now, it goes without saying that I hope to see as many of you as possible at NPF (that’s a hint to stop by our booth, #112, to discuss what you like about Mailing Systems Technology, what you’d like to see done differently, or just to say hello). In addition to the exhibit hall, where one can network with a variety of great vendors, the sessions at NPF are truly top-notch. I know it’s often hard to get justification from the higher ups for trade show attendance, but NPF is one show that should (in my humble opinion) be attended every year. But, never fear; for those of you who are reading this issue after the show and weren’t able to make it into Anaheim this year, we hope that this issue is like getting a glimpse into many of the topics discussed at this year’s forum. In this latest issue of Mailing Systems Technology, we aim to educate mailing professionals on all aspects of the mailing industry, from the theoretical (like the process a mail piece goes through from the earliest conception to arriving in a recipient’s mailbox), to the practical (ensuring address quality) to the often-overlooked (staying up-to-date on the security measures for your mail center, and if you don’t have some in place, how to design them). So dig in, enjoy, and if I didn't see you this year in Anaheim, I hope to connect with you in 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee. As always, thanks for reading Mailing Systems Technology.

MAILING SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY (ISSN 1088-2677) [Volume 28, Issue 4] is published six times per year, (January/February, March Buyers’ Resource, March/April, May/June, September/October, November/December) by RB Publishing Inc., 2901 International Lane, Suite 100, Madison WI 53704-3128, 608-241-8777. Periodical postage paid at Madison WI and additional offices. POSTMASTER Send address changes to: Mailing Systems Technology PO Box 259098 Madison WI 53725-9098 | MAY-JUNE 2015



By Wes Friesen



ne of the first and foremost responsibilities of successful leaders and managers is developing a vision of a better future for their team. Theodore Hesburgh, President of Notre Dame University, cuts to the chase by saying, “The very essence of leadership is that you have to have a vision. It’s got to be a vision you articulate clearly and forcefully on every occasion.” Leadership success always starts with a vision. John F. Kennedy famously dreamed

tice was to “set expectations, and define the right outcomes.” Let’s dig into defining what a vision is, characteristics of a good vision, and some ideas on forming a vision.

What Is a Vision? What is a vision, and what characterizes a good vision? One definition of a vision comes from Bert Nanus, a well-known expert on the subject. Nanus defines a vision as a realistic, credible, attractive future for an organization. Let's dissect this definition:

“There is no more powerful engine driving an organization toward excellence and long-range success than an attractive, worthwhile, achievable vision for the future, widely shared.” Bert Nanus, Visionary Leadership of putting a man on the moon. Eleanor Roosevelt envisioned a world of equal opportunity for women and minorities. Henry Ford dreamed of a car families could afford. Steve Job envisioned an easy-touse computer that would unleash creativity. The vision we have for our teams will not be as world-changing as the examples cited — but can make a world of difference for the teams we are leading. Extensive research on the Best Practices of High Performing leaders by the University of Michigan found that the best leaders “get everyone on the same page, and focused on the purpose of the organization.” The Gallup organization’s research on the practices of the country’s greatest managers found that one crucial best prac6

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• Realistic: A vision must be based in reality to be meaningful for an organization/ team. We need to consider the parameters we live within — such as constraints of budget resources, IT support and potential of team members. At the same time, a vision is also idealistic in that it paints the picture of a better future and shows what we can be if we all work together for a common aspiration. • Credible: A vision must be believable to be relevant. To whom must a vision be credible? Most importantly, to the employees or members of the organization. If the members of the organization do not find the vision credible, it will not be meaningful or serve a useful purpose. One of the purposes of a vision is to inspire those

in the organization to achieve a level of excellence, and to provide purpose and direction for the work of those employees. A vision which is not credible will accomplish neither of these ends. • Attractive: If a vision is going to inspire and motivate those in the organization, it must be attractive. People must want to be part of this future that's envisioned for the organization. • Future: A vision is not in the present, it is in the future. In this respect, the image of the leader gazing off into the distance to formulate a vision may not be a bad one. A vision is not where you are now; it's where you want to be.

Potential Benefits of a Good Vision? Nanus goes on to say that the right vision for an organization — one that is a realistic, credible, attractive future for the organization — can accomplish a number of things:

• It attracts commitment and energizes people. This is one of the primary reasons for having a vision for an organization: its motivational effect. When people can see that the organization is committed to a vision that points to a better future, it generates enthusiasm and increases the commitment of people to work toward achieving that vision.

• It creates meaning in workers' lives. A vision allows people to feel like they are part of a greater whole, and hence provides meaning for their work. The right vision will mean something to everyone in the organization if they can see how what they do contributes to that vision. Consider the difference between the mail services technician who can only say, "I am a machine operator” to the one who can also say, "I'm part of a team committed to becoming a world class provider of mailing services that is comparable to any operation of similar size anywhere in the country.”

The work is the same, but the context and meaning of the work is different.

• It establishes a standard of excellence. A vision serves a very important function in establishing a standard of excellence. In fact, a good vision is all about excellence. Tom Peters, the author of In Search of Excellence, talks about going into an organization where a number of problems existed. When he attempted to get the organization's leadership to address the problems, he got the defensive response, "But we're no worse than anyone else!" Peters cites this sarcastically as a great vision for an organization: "Acme Widgets: We're No Worse Than Anyone Else!" A vision so characterized by lack of a striving for excellence would not motivate or excite anyone about that organization. The standard of excellence also can serve as a continuing goal and stimulate quality improvement programs, as well as providing a measure of the worth of the organization.

• It bridges the present and the future. The right vision takes the organization out of the present, and focuses it on the future. It's easy to get caught up in the crises of the day, and to lose sight of where you were heading. A good vision can orient you on the future, and provide positive direction.

ers, employees, and community). The organization — and your team — should try to add value to each stakeholder, and maintain a reasonable balance between their competing interests. When developing the Vision don’t forget to answer the “Why” question. The Vision will address “Where” the organization is heading — but we also need to explain the benefits of why we are pursuing that future state. I agree with Friedrich Nietzsche when he said “Given a big enough why, people can bear almost any how.” The final outcome for your team should include a Vision or Mission Statement that helps inspire your team to strive for excellence. Following is a sample Vision Statement of the Print & Mail Services team at my company:

Vision: Our vision is to be a “world class” provider of Printing and Mailing products and services. We desire to be recognized as a premier service provider that is comparable to any operation of similar size anywhere in the country. Our purpose is to provide timely, high quality products and services at a cost equal to or lower than any other potential provider. We desire to achieve a consistently high level of customer satisfaction, and to maintain a working environment that dignifies and motivates our staff.

How Do We Develop a Vision?


So how can managers define the right outcomes, set a vision and get everybody on the team on the same page? The 360-degree approach is one wise strategy. Find out where your boss and the senior management want the organization to go, and then determine how your team can help them get there. Coordinate with your peers and find ways to partner. Solicit participation from your team members — their participation leads to their buy-in and better quality decisions. Great managers are aware of the concept of “stakeholder symmetry”. Stakeholder symmetry recognizes that an organization has multiple stakeholders (e.g. investors, custom-

Developing a Vision Statement does not end our leadership responsibility as Warren Bennis emphasizes by saying “Leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” Here are a few tips to help with the translation of the vision into reality: Supplement the Vision Statement with annual and quarterly goals, and several performance metrics covering all important areas of performance (e.g. cost, timeliness, quality, customer satisfaction, efficiency, safety). Review progress on a monthly basis, discuss results with your team, and celebrate improvements and the reaching of goals. The outcome will be a highly motivated team working together for common purposes. ¾

Wes Friesen, MBA, CMDSM, MDC, EMCM, MCOM, CBA, CBF, ICP, CCM, CMA, CM, CFM, APP, PHR manages multiple departments for a utility based in the Northwest. Wes also teaches university classes and is a featured speaker at national Conferences like MAILCOM, National Postal Forum, NACUMS, and other regional and local events. Check out his personal web-site for free information ( He can be contacted at | MAY-JUNE 2015



By Bill Jamieson



few years back, my predecessor to the Software Byte series, Chris Lien, wrote an article titled “Your Software is Talking; Are You Listening?” In the article, he described how mailers can utilize the return codes that software provides during CASS, DPV, LACSLink, NCOALink, and ACS™ processing, to improve their address quality. In this article, I expand the concept to describe how your mail piece tracking software can improve message delivery by using the codes and data returned from IMb Tracing scan events.

can be grouped into a handful of categories that can be used to gain insight into the mail at the time of the scan. For example, codes 905, 912, 913, 918, 919, 531, and 538 represent the “Delivery Point Sequence” (DPS) category. These codes identify a mail piece that is sorted by how the carrier walks their route. The DPS codes are considered a “stop the clock” scan, and as such, the piece has a very high likelihood of same day or next day delivery. On the other hand, codes 143, 273, 293, 333, 383, 403, 443, 463, 483, 813, and 893 represent the “Managed Mail” category. These codes

There are over 170 IMB Tracing operation codes that can be returned when a mail piece passes through USPS automated mail processing equipment.

A scan event produces data from scanning the Intelligent Mail barcode (IMB) on a mail piece as it passes through USPS mail processing equipment. The scan data consists of an operation code, scan date/time, processing location, and IMB. Software plays a vital role in interpreting and reporting this scan data to create visibility into your mail as it travels through the USPS.

IMB Tracing Operation Codes Broken Down: There are over 170 IMB Tracing operation codes that can be returned when a mail piece passes through USPS automated mail processing equipment. These codes


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describe mail that will take much longer to process as the USPS has more sortation to do before delivery. There are ten categories that can be used to group the IMB Tracing operation codes for mail tracking purposes.

Operation Code Categories: • Delivery Point Sequence - Sorted for carrier distribution. Same day or next day delivery. • Managed Mail - Mail that has more sortation work before delivery. • Incoming - These pieces have just arrived at a facility and must be separated. • Box section - Mail that is to be sorted to a PO Box, either manually or by machine.

• Sector/Segment - The mail piece has a final scan and that mail is very close to delivery. • Outgoing - Mail that needs further processing. Delivery expected within 2 to 3 business days. • Image List/Label mode - Undeliverable as Addressed (UAA) mail that is to be forwarded. • Miscellaneous - The mail piece had to be relabeled or have a new barcode sprayed. • Cancellation - The mail piece was received as a loose mail piece. • International - The mail was processed for foreign delivery. At each scan, the operation code and category describe the action taken on the individual mail piece by the USPS mail processing equipment. This information is used by mailers and businesses in various ways, a few of which are described below.

Mailpiece Ownership Chain of custody, in legal terms, “refers to the chronological documentation or paper trail, showing the seizure, custody, control, transfer, analysis, and disposition of physical or electronic evidence.” In many cases, the scan data and operation codes can create a machine level chain of custody for the automation-compatible mail piece. Many mail service providers use this machine level chain of custody from the scan data as proof to their customers that they handed the piece to the USPS. Some mailers have used this chain of custody to earn a refund for excessively delayed mail when they demonstrated illogical steps in the USPS handling process. For inbound reply mail pieces, the first scan event codes provide evidence that the check, is in fact, in the mail. The USPS and postal industry have recently come together in Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) Workgroup 170, to determine if this machine level chain

of custody can eventually replace the Certificate of Mail round-stamp that today legally identifies proof of mailing.

Delivery Performance and Timing Scan data can be used to identify when mail pieces are traveling inefficiently through the USPS mail processing facilities. For example, multiple final scans on a piece may indicate a problem with delivery. Another example involves what has been termed “loop mail”. Duplicate scans with the Image List/Label mode code indicate mail that should be forwarded or returned but continually goes back to the wrong address. The “Days in System” calculation from the scan data can quickly demonstrate delivery issues. This calculation can be used in two ways. First, it can indicate an immediate

problem if the piece has been in the system too long. Secondly, aggregating this data can help the mailer identify how long is too long. Trending the data can identify USPS facilities or operation codes that you may want to avoid if your message is critical. The visibility gained from these scan events and operation codes can be used to improve overall timing and coordination of multichannel campaigns. Knowing when your mail will be delivered can be used to trigger a series of cross-channel activities with email, phone, social media, etc. Scans from inbound business reply mail can be used to identify response rates days in advance.

Conclusion Similar to how return codes can be used to improve address quality, scan data

and operation codes can be used to improve message delivery. Return codes explain what happened to the address as it passed through address quality tools. Scan events and operation codes explain what happened to the mail piece as the IMb passes through USPS mail processing equipment. The USPS continues to invest in projects such as Informed Visibility and Bundle Visibility that will provide even more data to the mailer. Mail tracking software will continue to take advantage of this data to create visibility into your mail as it travels through the USPS. Software can show where the mail has been, who last touched it, what process it went through, and even when its travels are taking a turn for the worse. Your mail tracking software is talking, are you listening? ¾

Bill Jamieson is Senior Product Manager, BCC Software. He can be reached at or 585.272.9130 ext 3388. Visit for more information. | MAY-JUNE 2015



By Kim Mauch



or the first time since the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, USPS has pushed back the implementation of a price increase. While most in the mailing industry will agree that this was a good decision, any delay does have a negative financial impact for USPS. As with any regulatory situation, there were several factors that led to the delay.

The Push for FSS USPS has struggled to justify the costs of the Flats Sequencing System (FSS) machines, the latest in its automation arsenal. The mailing industry claims that the machines have slowed mail delivery, increased processing costs, and sometimes shredded mail. The postal service claims that part of the reason that FSS has not reached its efficiency goals is that not enough mail has been properly prepared for FSS processing. Much of that concern was addressed in 2014 when FSS preparation became mandatory for most flats destined for FSS zones. But part of processing efficiency is tied to the price for mail processing, and in 2014, pieces in an FSS bundle could have any one of seven prices, and all seven of those prices were also representing non-FSS mail. This made calculations for worksharing discounts difficult, as all pieces prepared for FSS were prepared together in FSS bundles, but had wildly differing rates. In the 2015 price filing, USPS proposed new prices solely for FSS-prepared mail. This change would help calculate the costs avoided by using those machines. But how those prices were calculated did not

sit well with the Postal Regulatory Commission. In addition to the justification of the new FSS prices in general, there were additional requirements tied up with the exigency surcharge calculation. Because USPS is expected to roll back the exigency pricing later this year, the amount of surcharge applied to each rate needs to be calculated carefully. This is straightforward for existing prices. Due to the merging of prices in FSS, USPS needed to explain how they calculated the exigent amount so that it could be rolled back. USPS explained the methodology in the filing, but its reasoning was not enough for the PRC.

Math Errors Postage pricing is not an exact science. While each mail class is subject to the CPI rate cap, within that class each rate cell can be changed a varied amount. USPS adjusts rate cells to encourage certain mail preparations, drive revenue, or to comply with negotiations it has had with the mail industry. Over the years, the industry has negotiated for consistent pricing signals that incentivize mailer behavior that reduces total combined costs, such as drop shipping discounts and comparative nonprofit discounts. Unfortunately, the prices proposed for April 2015 contained errors with both, which were found quickly by the industry.

New PRC Leadership Acting PRC chairman Robert Taub took the reins in December, and has taken a decidedly different tack than his predecessor, Ruth Goldway. Where former chairman Goldway used her knowledge of the industry and

the spirit behind USPS proposals to evaluate them, Chairman Taub has adhered strictly to the letter of each law. Rate proposals have had errors with almost every filing, but those in the past were allowed through as long as the math errors were corrected. This year, even if the math had been perfect, it’s hard to imagine the new PRC allowing the rate increase with the shaky pricing logic applied. This is also evidenced by the rejection of a Negotiated Service Agreement (NSA) with Discover financial.

Loss of Pricing Expertise USPS has been losing crucial expertise in all departments as employees and contractors retire. This price filing highlighted the difficulties within the pricing department. Many of the math errors were due to misunderstandings about how pricing for different discounts should be applied. Apparent lack of pricing knowledge transfer, coupled with marketing leadership without a long history of postal market knowledge, was likely a big contributor to the initial problems. USPS has much to learn from the April 26 price filing. Hastily changing prices and mail preparation without due analysis causes churn for both the mailing industry and within USPS itself. Additional problems were caused when mail preparation language was not available until over two weeks after the prices were proposed. Unfortunately the troubles around this release, along with the pervasive issues with the Mailer Scorecard, are eroding industry confidence in the postal service’s ability to work cooperatively in this modern environment. ¾

Kim Mauch is a subject matter expert in mailing preparation and submission at Satori Software. Contact her at


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By Krishna Iyer



anada is the United States’ second largest trading partner after China. Geographic proximity as well as product preferences and consumer tastes that closely parallel those in America make our neighbor to the north an attractive market for US shippers and mailers. There is also the added stimulus of the North American Free Trade Agreement. NAFTA has made commerce between our two countries easier (and more lucrative) than any time in history. Nevertheless, there are some important details that mailers and shippers should heed when sending items to Canada.

must work with a courier or mail partner who has a brokerage-inclusive shipping product and the ability to receive the duties and taxes as a bill from the carrier or to pay Canadian customs directly. The best example of this is an air courier shipment in which the courier acts as the customs broker. Two consequences could occur if shippers do not utilize this type of service. Shipments could be held by customs. It’s also possible that shippers or recipients could receive a duty bill from Canadian customs as many as nine months after a shipment is delivered.

Low-Value Clearance

This popular program for parcel shippers and mailers, especially those in business-to-consumer e-commerce, allows them to work directly with Canadian authorities and establish, in essence, a proxy. This stand-in status bestows the benefit of being treated like a Canadian business. One of the major benefits is the authorization to pay duties and taxes directly to Canadian authorities, thus avoiding unanticipated, after-the-fact bills for shippers, mailers or their customers. This option is especially popular for commercial entities who wish to sell products to customers utilizing a “fully landed cost,” in other words, including Canadian duties and taxes in product price quotes. Additionally, the Non-Resident Importer Program allows the sender to utilize a mailing option because the duties and taxes ultimately revert back to the original sender. Shippers and mailers in the program may also be eligible for preferential duty rates and rebates associated with Canada’s Goods and Services tax.

Canada allows goods valued less than $2,500 CAN to be imported for expedited release as long as goods are for personal use and not intended for resale or other commercial uses. The resulting benefit of this simplified clearance process is a faster transit time from sender to recipient. The company handling the shipment, such as a courier, postal authority or customs broker, must be enrolled in the Canadian Courier Low-Value Shipment Program to participate in this program. Prohibited and regulated goods, such as tobacco, firearms, pharmaceuticals and controlled substances, are not included in this program regardless of shipment value.

Duties and Taxes Yes, Canada’s Low-Value Shipment Program allows qualifying shipments to be cleared easily. Be aware, however, that it does not exempt the sender or recipient from applicable duties and taxes. Shippers

Non-Resident Importer Program

A licensed customhouse broker can assist US shippers and mailers set up the Non-Resident Importer Program, which requires obtaining a Canadian business ID number, a Goods and Services tax registration number and an import/export number.

NAFTA Certificate of Origin The North American free-trade zone, the largest free-trade area on Earth, accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s total gross domestic product. Many duties and taxes have been reduced or eliminated thanks to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Goods manufactured within the NAFTA region, however, need a NAFTA certificate of origin to qualify for those duty and tax benefits. A certificate of origin may be used for a single importation of a product or multiple importations of identical ones. A certificate of origin (available in most shipping-related software) must be completed and signed by the exporter of the shipment.

Information Resources By understanding the Canada Low-Value Import Program, Non-Resident Importer Program and the NAFTA certificate of origin, US parcel shippers and mailers can potentially expand their business opportunities to more than 34 million new customers. Knowledge is the key to success in this situation. Shippers and mailers can find basic information and answers to frequently asked questions about Canadian commerce at For specific details, consult a licensed customhouse broker with special expertise in Canadian shipping and mailing regulations. ¾

Krishna Iyer is Director, Marketing, Neopost USA. Neopost USA provides mailing, business communication management and shipping hardware and software solutions. As businesses increasingly move to digital communications, Neopost USA continues to help its customers send, receive and connect via physical mail, digital communications and packages. For more information about Neopost USA, visit | MAY-JUNE 2015



By Mike Porter



hen people learn that I work in the printing and mailing industry I sometimes get comments like “Oh… Do you have plans for something else… later?” or “That’s tough to be in a dying industry.” Those individuals too polite to express their opinions just give me that look usually reserved for old people who are a little out of touch with the real world. It really doesn’t bother me. Regardless of the perceptions of people who believe mail is dead, I know there are plenty of ways physical documents beat the pants off of electronic alternatives. I’m perfectly happy to be working with organizations savvy enough to recognize the benefits of every communication channel they use, including print. These are the people who have figured out how to use print to their advantage.

Print Implies Importance The way my customers and I see it, digital migration has lowered the volume of mail, making the remaining pieces more impactful. I’m comfortable with that. Anyone getting personalized physical mail today probably takes notice. This is good for someone sending quality direct mail, bills, or statements. Even those people who claim they never get anything meaningful in the mail know that important items like jury summons or a letter from the IRS will be delivered in an envelope. If such messages come by email they are probably a scam. I doubt anyone (except perhaps Kramer from Seinfeld) really refuses to collect their mail or dumps it out without looking at it. What if your grandma sent a check for your birthday?

Email Can Be a Headache Spam and overly-zealous email campaigns are clogging up consumer inboxes, mak-


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ing mass deletion and revocation of email permission a survival strategy. That’s OK with me too. I know as long as mailers do a good job with data accuracy and address hygiene their physical mail pieces are going to be delivered and seen by the recipients. That’s a huge advantage printed materials have over email. When you think about it, the barriers to electronic message delivery are formidable. Pop-up blockers, anonymous web browsing, and spammer lists make it difficult to predict how many messages sent will actually get delivered to the intended recip-

Room for Improvement in Print All is not perfect in the world of physical documents though. The biggest problem I see with printed communications is in the construction of the messages themselves. So many times, businesses fail to create relevant, personalized, and compelling mail pieces. The huge advantage direct mailers have over their digital counterparts is wasted when they churn out one-size-fits-all junk. I wrote a blog piece in March called “A Printing Triumph Followed by Immediate Fail.” It describes a perfect example. Up until the time I opened the piece and

I doubt anyone (except perhaps Kramer from Seinfeld) really refuses to collect their mail or dumps it out without looking at it. ients. Outdated email addresses, image suppression, junk mail folders, and abandoned email accounts further decrease the chances of messages being read, even if they make it through the gauntlet of delivery filters. Because of damaging computer viruses, identity theft, and ransomware consumers are wary of opening emails or clicking on links unless they are absolutely positive of their origin. Legitimate emails often get caught in the nets designed to catch malicious messages. Email authors are warned not to use too many really useful and powerful words like free, attention, limited time, or urgent. Due to misuse by spammers, even words like mortgage and pharmacy are viewed suspiciously by Internet service providers and corporate spam filters.

read the content, the marketer had me in the palm of their hand. I took notice of the piece and I recognized the sender as a company with whom I do business. I felt special they spent extra money to create and deliver it to me, and I anticipated news, information, or an offer worthy of my time to pursue. Unfortunately, the contents included little personalization and indicated the company had neglected to extract anything but my name from the giant storehouse of data they had about me. Consequently, they failed to craft a communication and offer that was appropriate for me. How disappointing! The good news for producers of print is the issue with content relevance and accurate targeting is easily fixed. Unlike some of those problems encountered

by digital communicators, creators of printed messages have almost complete control over the areas that could really improve the performance of their communications. Modern composition tools can create documents with variable data and graphics. Printing devices are capable of producing full color variable documents at high speeds. The premium to print variable content in color, once considered a barrier to effective marketing, has diminished to insignificant amounts. And we’ve got more data than ever before to use in constructing buyer profiles and distinguishing the characteristics of individual prospects.

Every Printed Document Worth Its Cost It is true that adding more work to the creative and data manipulation processes prior to printing adds to the cost of physical documents. However, lowering overall print and mail volumes by suppressing unlikely prospects or removing duplicates can offset extra up-front investments in design. And a boost in responses to personalized and targeted communications will likely improve the ROI even further. Mailers who are able to sharpen the focus of their campaigns should find the response to their materials to be more than satisfactory. The complexities of Big

Data should not be a deterrent. Simply crafting three different messages or offers for new customers, current customers, or past customers can make a big difference in the results of a campaign. Or perhaps it means trimming some names from the list if the offer or service obviously doesn’t apply to them. Just a little more effort to create relevant content can transform a campaign from average to all-star. Print isn’t the standard solution anymore. It frequently isn’t the first choice, but if mailers exploit the advantages they have in delivery and awareness, along with using data more effectively to compose relevant messaging I’d say print is definitely worth it. ¾

Mike Porter is President of Print/Mail Consultants, a firm that helps companies lower costs, develop future strategies, and improve quality in their document operations. You can read more at Mike’s blog. Or visit and sign up for Practical Stuff, a free newsletter for document print and mail professionals. | MAY-JUNE 2015



By Joy Gendusa



here’s been a lot of talk in this column lately about this DirectMail2.0 thing. Most of it (ok, all of it) by me. And that’s okay, because it’s my column. But every now and again, it’s nice to hear an outside voice. Am I right? So what I have for you today is: Case Studies. Specifically, I’ll show you three case studies from my clients using the New Patient Edition of DirectMail2.0, and let the results do the talking. But first a quick refresher on DirectMail2.0: New Patient Edition. It was developed specifically for the marketing needs of those in the medical profession to ensure they generated the most leads possible while still staying compliant with industry regulations. For the end user (clients of mine and yours in the medical field), this system includes:

} A direct mail campaign to generate the most amount of leads } Mail tracking so that you can know exactly when your piece will hit mailboxes } Call tracking to record and save all calls/ conversations that come in as a direct results of your mail piece (perfect for quality control and proof of campaign efficacy) } And the real kicker — geo-targeted Google ads that are shown simultaneously to the same audience receiving your direct mail campaign (they’ll see targeted ads from you all over the web for maximum impressions and full market saturation!) Now, let’s dive into the case studies!

AMIT KHANNA, DMD — HOLLYWOOD, MD Dr. Amit Khanna is a dental practitioner in Hollywood, MD. He is an excellent marketer — always learning and evolving. And he is ultra-consistent, which makes him a dream client. (Dream client = one 14

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that wins because they are consistent.) He mails 12,000 postcards every month to the same list of households surrounding his practice. His campaign also includes DirectMail2.0: New Patient Edition! Dr. Khanna’s results can be summed up in the graph below, which I’ve featured before. Those are obviously fantastic results, and I’m sure you can see why marketers and small businesses would respond to DirectMail2.0, but what I want to do next is really unpack this data so you can see the progress Dr. Khanna has made over the past couple years. Here’s a breakdown of Dr. Khanna’s marketing spend (including postage) per new patient at each stage of the his mailing campaign… } Mailing 6K/month: An average of 42 new patients/month, each costing $143

} Mailing 12K/month: An average of 83 new patients/month, each costing $63 } Mailing 12K/month PLUS DirectMail2.0: An average of 154 new patients/month, each costing $34 And per the doctor himself, new patients are worth about $3,290 over the course of their lifetime. With DirectMail2.0, his ROI per patient is about 9,576%! Wowzers! With the power of DirectMail2.0: New Patient Edition, Dr. Khanna brings in about FOUR new patients for what it cost him to acquire just ONE when he first started.

RIVERSIDE FAMILY DENTAL — RIVERSIDE, IA Unlike Dr. Khanna, Riverside Family didn’t have an extensive mailing history. So in this case study, we can see how DirectMail2.0 performs without the benefit of an established mailbox presence. Campaign: They mail 2,665 cards once per month (for a total of six months) to homes in local zip codes with a household income of $50,000+ (see Image 2). This campaign produced 257 calls to Riverside’s office, 47 of which turned into new patients, amounting to $16,000 of immediate revenue for the practice. On top of that, Riverside Family Dental achieved incredible exposure online: Total impressions (times their ads were viewed): 45,200 These impressions are the result of the Google online ads — and there is no doubt the “everywhereness” of their campaign had an impact on the number of calls they received.

} Cards Mailed: 30,000 } Mailing List: 5,000 households in their area with children aged 2-17 and annual income above $40,000 } Mailing Frequency: Once per month for 6 months (to the same list) } Design: See image 3 This campaign created 317 calls to the practice, which resulted in 108 new patients and $22,000 in immediate revenue. And there is potential to generate anywhere from $108,000 to $648,000 in

Joy Gendusa is the Founder and CEO of PostcardMania. With nothing but a phone, a computer, and a postcard marketing plan, Joy took PostcardMania from a one-woman startup to an industry leader earning over $22 million in annual revenue. To become a DirectMail2.0 beta company, schedule a demo at or call 866.382.3450.

MOUNTIAN ISLAND PEDIATRIC Mountain Island Pediatric is a dental practice that caters to little ones, and their story is a case study in the power of repetition (and DirectMail2.0). Here are the details:

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the first year alone. Plus, the practice’s online marketing portion of the campaign was viewed 116,144 times, which was a huge boost for the awareness of the practice in the community. So there you have it! Do what you will with the info, but I can’t sing its praises enough. And I think (know) the clients I highlighted above would agree. Use and enjoy. If you have any questions, you can find out more about DirectMail2.0 at ¾

see more on page 17

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s a print or mail shop, finding ways to consistently reach your audience is vital. The easier and more convenient you make it for your customers to communicate with you, the better for your company. That’s where technology can truly help you in making your print materials interactive for you and your audience. As marketers increasingly turn to electronic media, they are seduced by the instantaneous response and tracking and the ability to more rapidly get a dialog going with recipients when using digital media. Your job is to educate them on how to effectively blend print and mail into that mix, making their campaigns even more effective than they might be with digital alone. That means making print and mail interactive — giving them the ability to deliver a more effective means of tracking results and a simpler path to getting that dialog going. According to the Direct Marketing Association, expenditures on direct mail, including catalogs, have fallen rapidly. This tried and true method of promoting products and services, which had been a reliable business growth opportunity for years for both marketers and printers, may have finally seen its peak as new media continues to chip away at its presence. But direct mail still has an important role to play, especially when it is combined with multiple other channels of communication and reflects a unified customer experience. And, most importantly, when it is interactive. Most marketers consider print to be a static medium. It is expensive to produce and time-consuming to distribute. It can be difficult to track results of a print-only campaign, and even more difficult to change or refine strategies midstream. This is a misconception. Print can be interactive, cost-effective, trackable, and flexible when implemented properly in a multi-touch campaign. The most common means of making print interactive is by including coupons. 16

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If they are appropriately marked with offer codes, bar codes, or other means of tracking their source, marketers can measure their effectiveness. But it can take time to tally the results. There are other tools available right now that can include coupons (or not), but also deliver a richer set of results against a wider variety of metrics.

may involve waiting until they get home or have a break from work, and that may result in the action being sidelined. This can also be true of coupons. This is one reason that QR codes are becoming more popular. By placing a QR code instead of or in addition to a personalized URL on a printed piece, you provide the recipient with two options:

Print can be interactive, cost-effective, trackable, and flexible when implemented properly in a multi-touch campaign. Personalized URLS (PURLS) PURLs are URLs, or Internet addresses, that are personalized to the recipient (e.g., www. The recipient is directed to a personalized web microsite directly related to the promotional piece received, whether by mail or email. The site generally has a similar look and feel to the original communication and can be personalized not only with their name, but also by using other demographics, psychographics, and other known data about the recipient to make it a relevant experience. The personalized URL establishes a direct link between print and the Internet. As soon as a recipient hits their personalized URL, the dialog begins, as does the tracking. It not only provides an opportunity for the recipient to take advantage of a relevant offer, but it also gives the marketer an opportunity to collect more information about the recipient so that future communications can be even more finely tuned.

QR Codes The disadvantage of a personalized URL on a printed piece is that recipients have to key in the address in a web browser. This

Either type the personalized URL into a browser, or simply point and click the QR code with your phone to be taken to the exact same destination. It is easier than typing in the address and it can be done on the go, making it a popular choice for people to select. Once that QR code is snapped, the tracking of the campaign results begins.

Near Field Communication (NFC) NFC is a wireless technology that allows two NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other, or an NFC-enabled device to communicate with an NFC tag. An NFC-enabled device is typically a smartphone, but may also be a tablet. An NFC tag is a small chip usually embedded into a sticker, on printed material, or inside a product. NFC is activated simply by tapping the NFC-enabled smartphone against another NFC-enabled smartphone or tablet, or against an NFC tag, which results in a launched website, application, or information being downloaded to the smartphone. Once a current or potential customer taps their phone against your NFC tagged materials, it could lead them to:

} Launch a website, landing page, or application } Pay for a product using the phone as a mobile wallet } Download important product, service, or company information } Share pictures or files between devices NFC is quick and convenient for your customers and prospects to use. For example,

a member of your audience could quickly become a sales lead by simply tapping their phone against a flier, or sign up for your next conference by tapping a poster. PURLs, QR codes, and NFC are just some of the ways you can utilize technology to give your print or mail business quick and engaging ways to encourage your customers and prospects to respond to you.

All it takes is a few simple steps, and you can direct your audience where you want them to go, meaning convenience for them and a way of building good customer relationships for you. By first using these techniques in your own promotional efforts, and then by working with customers to integrate them into theirs, you are on your way to growing your business this year. ¾

John Foley, Jr. is the CEO of interlinkONE and Grow Socially. John and his team consult with print, mailing, and fulfillment companies on sales and marketing techniques, write strategic marketing plans to get them on a path to multi-channel success, and John speaks frequently to providers on how to integrate technology into their products and services. Learn more about John at, and his companies at and

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4% of addresses aren’t completely confirmed by USPS CASS processing. 17% of Americans move each year, but only 40% notify the USPS. The result: four billion mail pieces are treated as waste by the USPS annually. Avoid contributing to these stats and monitor which pieces sneak through and wind up wasted anyway.

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here is an elite club in mail services. It is the top mail manages who we see at every industry event, who are connected with their peers both locally and nationally. They run the best operations and get the best rates. My goal is to share strategies of how these managers set up and run best in class mail operations for maximum efficiency and savings.

Automate Incoming Package Delivery If you are receiving over 25 items per day from UPS/FedEx or accountable items from the USPS, I would strongly recommend having an electronic tracking system to automate this manual task of logging in packages. The basic components are a software program loaded onto a PC, a connected scanner and typically one or more portable scanning devices. When the packages come in, they get scanned and matched to the person or department to where they are 18

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addressed. When the items are delivered, the recipient signs the portable handheld device to prove final delivery. This is the ultimate CYA (look up the acronym if you are unsure what it means) in a mail center and eliminates responsibility for lost packages. It also creates a faster, paperless process. Even if you already have an incoming tracking system, these are some of the newest trends you may want to consider to streamline package tracking: } Cloud Based vs. Loaded onto a PC — This is a great option if you have multiple locations, because you can receive at different sites and link to the same internal databases. It also helps the end users, who can check their package status online. } Email Package Notification — Even if most packages are delivered, another option might be to have recipients pick up at specific designated points. Most systems can be configured to automatically email package notifications.

} Link Digital Pictures of Damaged Items — You do not want to be responsible for items that come in damaged. Many tracking systems can allow you to upload digital pictures of damaged or suspicious packages. These pictures can be emailed to the final recipient to let them know their package came in damaged or to see if they were expecting an item that looks questionable. } Scan USPS Accountable Items — This sounds obvious, but many entities are using their system for UPS and FedEx only. More USPS items are coming in with tracking barcodes as the USPS is having the fastest growth in the package space.

Take Control of Undeliverable as Addressed Mail Returned mail because of poor addresses costs businesses billions of dollars in lost opportunity. The best in class mail operations are handling this in three ways:

By Adam Lewenberg 1. Updating mailing lists to make sure you have the right address and any move update information. If you are barcoding your mailings in-house, you need a software program that does this for you automatically. Make sure you have a National Change of Address (NCOA) service that is connected to your provider. If you are using a third party mail service, get any address changes back so you can update your databases for the future. 2. Migrating to the full service IMB barcodes because of the features it offers. Not only do they get an extra discount on their mailings, but they get no-cost electronic address correction notifications and the ability to track mail delivery. 3. Creating a documented process on how returned mail pieces get handled, and the information is getting updated back into the main systems. (You would be surprised how many companies don’t do anything with their returned mail pieces.)

Make the Best Insource/ Outsource Decisions This is not as easy as you would think because there are so many variables to consider. We are going to look at two types of outsourcing: Mail Fulfillment companies and Presort Service Provider. Mail Fulfillment Companies: These service providers, sometimes called Mail Houses, will perform mailing services such as printing, folding, inserting, addressing, presorting and transporting to the USPS. It has gotten more confusing because many printers are offering mailing services as well. It is important to know the detail of what you are paying to make sure you are getting the best rate, to compare against other providers, or to determine if the work should be brought in house. The key items are the fees that are outside the per piece charges. Most providers will charge set up and delivery fees that are fixed regardless of the mailing size. This is fine when you are sending out 50,000 pieces, but a $200 set up fee for 1,000 postcards means you are paying $.20 per piece plus the processing charges.

To determine what should be done in-house, look at the makeup of your mailings. If most of the projects are less than 5,000 pieces and you have the proper staff, space, transportation (to get mailings to the USPS) and some simple equipment (printers, folder inserter, and postal software), this could be your least expensive bet. Make sure you do enough mailings to make the investment and time worthwhile. Regardless of which way you go, it is a best practice to review your mailing data at least once per year to make sure you are doing your projects in the least expensive way possible to meet your desired objectives.

rates due to their density of mail by comingling with their other customers. } You are automating Standard Rate mailings and the presort service can get your mail drop shipped to the delivery address USPS Sectional Center facility splitting the destination entry discounts offered by the USPS.

Manage Detailed Reporting The best mail operations will have very detailed reporting on their operations. This is the only way to have consistent visibility to how they are performing. Here are some key areas that need detailed documentation: Postage/Shipping Spend — This can be very difficult to get because of the amount of places it needs to be collected. The better this is managed, the more power it creates inside your entity. I recommend having the 12 month detail of the spend categories below accessible and reviewed frequently: } USPS Permit Spends — There could be multiple permits and all need to be tracked. I have seen many companies lose visibility to accounts with funds that sit idle and in some cases never recovered. } USPS Metered Spend — This can be pulled from the system or from the vendor websites. } USPS Cash and Credit Card spend —There could be people in your organization working out of their homes or traveling that need to mail items and pay with petty cash or credit cards. It is a good idea to monitor this expense to make sure it does not get misused. There are also low cost PC Postage options for managing this spend. } UPS and FedEx Spend — This spend should be looked at alongside postage because there could be savings opportunities moving specific items between the carriers. Also, there are many carrier fees and delivery guarantees that should be validated to make sure you getting all refunds possible.

It crucial for mail managers to stay connected inside the industry because of all of the dramatic changes going on with the USPS that will affect everyone. Presort Service Providers — These services pick up mail at your office, run it through their sorters (that break it down as close as possible to their final destination) and schedule it directly into the postal system. They are great to use because they can get you discounts with minimal effort and potentially move mail faster through the Postal Service. This is an easy one from an in-house/ outsource perspective because it is a simple financial transaction. If the presort provider can move your mail at lower costs than you can do it yourself and the delivery impact does not negate the savings, use them. Here are the best applications for this type of service: } You have mixed department mail that would not qualify for any discount on its own. These services can typically give you at least 5-15% discounts on your mail. Typical minimum volumes are 500 pieces per day or single pickups of 1,000 pieces. } You are automating your mail today but the presort service can get you better | MAY-JUNE 2015


Mail Service Provider Fees — The best companies look at their invoices regularly and know exactly what they are paying and to validate charges. These service providers can charge fees in many different areas that can make the costs much higher than original expected. Staff Productivity — I left the most significant for last since the best operations will have detailed performance metrics for their people. This will show very important detail on how their operation is being managed. Here are some examples: } Mail produced, metered, sorted by employee } Internal pickup and delivery by employee } Sick days and overtime required } Customer service complaints by employee

Staying Connected It crucial for mail managers to stay connected inside the industry because of all of the dramatic changes going on with the USPS that will affect everyone. The USPS has closed over half of its Sectional Center Facilities, many retail locations, mail has been slowed by up to a day, and may


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require different barcodes. I am on the board of my local Postal Customer Council (PCC) and I am amazed how few companies show up to events that go over these changes. Here are the best ways to stay involved and informed about these changes and best practices in the mailing industry: } Join your local PCC and MSMA Chapter — They are the best source for how these changes will impact your mail locally. } Get Certified — There are some industry certifications that make sense in understanding all of these changes. The MSMA offers a Mail Design Consultant (MDC) and a more involved Certified Mail and Distribution Systems Manager (CMDSM) that may be worth looking into. } Join Mail Groups on LinkedIn — Members can ask questions, give advice, as well post the most up to date media stories around mail. Some groups that I belong to and like are “Mailing Systems Technology” (It is really good — I am not just listing it because you are reading this periodical), “Mail Geeks”, “National Postal Forum” and “Document Handling and Mail Process Professionals”.

} Attend National Postal Form (NPF) and MAILCOM — To learn from your peers and see what is available in the industry. We are going through the most rapid postal changes any of us have experienced. This will require the best oversight and management to optimize operations. The key piece to managing best in class operations is not to try to do everything but to know what is available and choose what makes the most sense in your own operation. ¾

ADAM LEWENBERG, CMDSS, MDC, President of Postal Advocate Inc., runs the largest Mail Audit and Recover firm in the United States. Their mission is to help entities with large numbers of locations reduce mail related expenses, recover lost postage funds, and simplify visibility and oversight. In 2013 and 2014, they helped their clients save an average of 60% and over $13 million on equipment, fees and lost postage. He can be reached at 617.372.6853 or adam.


Kern End-to-End Production Today’s technology is driving changes in production application infrastructure that requires a clear view from the very beginning to the end of the production process. Today’s buyers need to comprehend the upstream and downstream impact of each technology solution component. Let’s begin with the end in mind. What will make your mail inserting & enclosing production more productive? The answers, invariably, lean towards longer, smoother, more consistent runs with less stops and changeovers. But what if your upstream inkjet printing systems require nozzle cleaning flush lines that force a chip-out cut on your inserter inputs or leave voids in the printed roll? What if you feel you can’t effectively use rolls because your job sizes are too small but the speed profile of your new inkjet system is too fast for your fanfold system? There are solutions to those and the many other challenges to harnessing the newest technology while making the entire production process work in harmony. From preparation software to sort, edit and optimize print files according to your rules, to inkjet printing systems with advance fluid controls that eliminate the need for the nozzle flush between every page, to high-speed in-

serter inputs that automatically remove the voids in production rolls without skipping a beat. The key is to work with a production partner that understands all of your challenges, upstream and downstream, and has developed innovative solutions to make the entire process run smoothly. For almost 70 years, Kern had been helping its partners with just that! A couple of examples are our new Kern iMpres inkjet printing system that delivers 1200 dpi quality at 492 duplex ft./minute in a 10’ X 27’ footprint and advance fluid controls that eliminate flush lines. Or our new K3600 inserting system that delivers 27,000 completed envelopes per hour with its innovative blank paper removal system. If seamless handoffs in your production process and end-to-end efficiency are your goals, consider the entire process when making any technology decision.

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PROTECT YOUR EMPLOYEES AND SECURE YOUR MAIL CENTER It may be low on many mail center managers’ list of things to do, but ensuring security should be priority #1.

By Mark Fallon


here have been no attacks on the general population using the mail since the anthrax attacks of 2001. However, there are still people who target companies or individuals with package bombs or letters. Many of these are stopped by alert U.S. Postal Service employees. Some have been intercepted by well-run corporate mail operations. Unfortunately, some weapons made it to their intended victim. What’s next? No one knows. To be prepared, managers need to move outside of their comfort zone. A good way to start is to follow these six steps: 1. Identify threats. 2. Conduct a risk analysis. 3. Develop policies. 4. Draft procedures. 5. Prepare contingency and continuity plans. 6. Communicate and train. Threats may come from a variety of sources. For most business, schools and government agencies, that includes international terrorists, domestic hate groups, disgruntled employees/workplace violence, and acts of nature (flood, fire, earthquake, flu). Most letter bombs are personal in nature, so the threats from an angry employee, or someone trying to hurt an employee, are the most likely scenarios. A risk analysis examines the likelihood of a specific threat. The mail center’s security posture should reflect your company’s


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overall policies. If there are metal detectors and x-ray machines at the front door, then you need strict security when processing mail — it’s another point of entry. Also, if your outbound mail process includes sensitive personal information, preventative measures are needed in that area. Managers should meet with corporate security and local law enforcement for assistance. Policies are guiding principles and general plans for operations. For mail center security, policies will address those areas identified as priorities during the risk assessment. Key areas may include: } Access to the mail center } Receiving personal mail at work. } X-raying all mail and packages received at the company. } Opening all mail and packages received by the company. Mail center managers need to get support from senior management and key company officials for policies to be effective. In addition to corporate security, involve the human resources department. Request that any rules pertaining to all employees, like the opening of mail, be included in the human resources policy guide. Procedures are the series of steps taken to implement a policy. In other words, the instructions to complete ongoing tasks and duties. When writing procedures, be as specific as possible, leaving little room for misinterpretation. Procedures should be reviewed and updated as needed, like

when new equipment is purchased or there are changes to operating hours. At a minimum, every procedure should be reviewed once a year. Procedures aren’t helpful if they aren’t followed. Post copies in conspicuous areas, including next to equipment and other work areas. Go over key policies on a regular basis at weekly staff meetings.

The three critical plan types are: } Occupant Emergency Plan - How you safely evacuate and assist people during an emergency. } Contingency Plan - How you immediately relocate your operation and restore services. } Continuity Plan - How you return services to normal operational levels. The Occupant Emergency Plan is the first step to securing the safety of your employees during a crisis. This plan includes the procedures for declaring and an announcing an ongoing emergency. There needs to be a system for accounting for all employees, as well as any visitors to the mail center. Maps detailing evacuation routes and rally points should be posted in multiple areas and at every entrance. Plans should include procedures for helping anyone requiring additional assistance and securing the mail center after the evacuation. In addition to the plan, managers should put together multiple “Go Kits” that are stored in different locations. As a mini-

mum, the “Go Kit” includes first aid supplies, flashlights, spare laptop, extra batteries as well as copies of contact lists, the contingency plan and the continuity plan. Kits should be kept onsite in a known location, and in leaders’ cars and homes. To bring all of these resources together, managers must provide training for their employees so they know how to carry out the policies and procedures. Good security training is ongoing — it’s not a one-time event. Mail center employees must remain aware of their surroundings and the mail they handle. Managers must keep themselves informed and updated by attending classes offered by the U.S. Postal Service Inspection Service. Two excellent training resources are USPS Publication 166 - Guide to Mail Center Security and USPS Poster 84, Suspicious Mail or Packages. Every mail center employee should be required to read the guide as part of their employee orientation. At least once a month, managers should walk through the steps to take when a suspicious package is identified. Managers can download a free copies of the manual and the poster from the USPS website (

An important part of training is testing. The emergency plans need to be tested, without notifying employees in advance. Testing may mean intentionally sending a suspicious package into the mail center, or sounding the alarm for evacuation. Involve corporate security, local law enforcement and the USPS to create scenarios that reflect real threats or emergencies. No matter what type of testing you choose, always conduct an “after action” review. Bring together everyone who participated in the exercise, including the mail clerks, machine operators, security guards, etc. Review not only the facts of what occurred, but glean the opinions of those involved. Create a consensus on what could be done better and publish the findings as a report. This report will become the baseline for measuring the success of future tests. Mail center security is a difficult issue. The wrong decision can increase the negative aspects of any event, including permanent loss of business, loss of jobs, or the ultimate price — loss of life. However, it’s important for managers to face these challenges head-on, as ducking the issue only increases the probability of failure.

Planning requires managers to have uncomfortable conversations, allocate sparse resources, and spend considerable time and energy on plans that may never be implemented. Those plans include safely evacuating employees, and then providing continued mail service in a “worst case scenario.” It means developing a communication plan for employees, partners and customers. And then, you need to test those plans and processes for proper responses, effective actions and opportunities for improvement. Protecting your employees and securing your mail center isn’t easy. It’s just necessary — for your employees, for your company, and for yourself. Investing the time in creating a thorough security plan will ensure that you have a sound strategy to ensure success — in even the worst situations. ¾

MARK M. FALLON is President & CEO, The Berkshire Company. Read his blog at www. or contact him via email at mmf@ | MAY-JUNE 2015


By Ken Brashears



re you struggling to keep printing postage and service costs down? One culprit that could be putting a drain on your profit is return mail. You’d be surprised how undeliverable-as-addressed mail (UAA) can operate like a small tax on your business — costing a little bit in a lot of areas: increased postage and paper usage, as well as duplicated work, poor cash flow, loss of customers. The best way to combat UAA mail is to recognize the root causes of the problem, and put into place a rigorous address quality program.

How Bad Data Rears its Ugly Head Roughly 25% of a database deteriorates after one year, and as much as 50% after two years, according to MarketingSherpa. The reason? Data degrades over time as individuals move, get married, get divorced, buy new homes, change jobs, retire, or die. According to USPS, an estimated 40 million people move each year. Some file a change-of-address notice with the USPS, while many others do not. And this is where businesses start running into issues with UAA mail. If customer addresses aren’t updated with the most recent move information, your business mailing goes nowhere. In addition to data that is out of date, there’s data that is just plain bad — typos in street addresses; addresses without apartment numbers or incomplete ZIP Codes; duplicate records; mismatched or incorrectly 24

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fielded information and more. Collectively, stale data and bad contact data cascade quickly to create a negative impact on business mailing efforts.

A Hard Look at the Costs of Bad Data The U.S. Postal Service processed more than 158 billion mail pieces in 2013, according to a recent Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit report on UAA mail. Of those, nearly 6.8 billion pieces (4.3%) were identified as UAA mail. USPS estimated $1.5 billion in UAA processing costs in 2013 alone, the report states. Returned mail or UAA mail has tormented mailers for years. According to DM News, UAA mail costs direct mailers over $6 billion per year. If left unchecked, can you imagine how much UAA mail will cost your mail operations? Answering that question goes beyond the hard costs of printing and mailing, and includes the long-term cost of missed business opportunities through poor customer communications. The damage can first be measured by analyzing the direct costs of wasted mail. According to the 2013 OIG audit report, UAA First-Class mail was 2.4 billion pieces (about 3.7% of total First-Class mail volume.) So, a First-Class mail piece (one ounce letter) costs $0.38 at the 5-digit presort rate category. If a mail campaign includes 250,000 pieces and 9,250 are UAA (250K x .037) — your mail operations wasted $3,515 in postage alone.

Add to that the costs to create and print the mail piece. For instance, assume a cost of $1.10 to design and print a letter and 9,250 pieces never get to the right people — that’s an additional loss of $10,175 in marketing costs above and beyond the wasted postage, for a total loss of about $13,690. UAA mail, as a result, creates the inevitable domino effect of lost opportunities, lost customers, fraud, poor cash flow, unnecessary costs, and damage to brand reputation. What’s needed is some quality control — that is, contact data quality control. This is a set of formal, automated, and continuous processes to profile, clean, enrich and update bad data, in turn preventing or avoiding the recurrence of returned or UAA mail.

Step 1: Profile and Analyze the Quality of Your Database The first step to quality control is to profile and analyze the health of your contact data. Identifying any data quality issues at the start helps determine weaknesses in your database. Once bad data is detected, data quality tools can suppress those database records and exclude them for mailing until bad address elements are evaluated and repaired.

Step 2: Clean Dirty Data The next step to maintaining good data quality and preventing UAA mail is to eliminate or clean bad data. Use a CASS Certified address verification solution to validate, correct, and standardize address data to qualify mailings for postal discounts.

Other ways to refine your mailing is to employ a data quality solution that adds missing suite and apartment numbers based on a contact’s last name, and identifies vacant properties. A more accurate and complete address will help increase mail deliverability and save your business time and money.

Step 3: Attack and Eliminate Duplicate Records Duplicate records are a form of dirty data that deeply affects mailers — adding to the long-term costs of mailing operations in the form of undeliverable mail, wasted postage and printing costs, and erroneous views of customer information. Consolidating duplicate records into one master or “golden” record — a process known as survivorship — helps define the most accurate record in a group of duplicates and reduce mailing/shipping costs.

tional ACS (all mail classes), and OneCode ACS (all mail classes and shapes except parcels). However, NCOALink is the only process that is done before the actual mailing. This process compares existing house files against the USPS NCOALink database of approximately 160 million change-ofaddress records. The process accesses the latest move-update addresses filed over the last 48 months, enabling mailers to identify individuals, families, and businesses that have moved and completed a change-of-address form.

have filed a change-of-address form with the USPS. The file consists of 121 million records from sources including magazine subscriptions, catalog houses, insurance companies, credit bureaus, mail-order firms, and more.

Taking Action Treats Data as a Tangible Business Asset Reducing UAA mail can be achieved easily and cost-effectively by creating a data quality control action plan. An ideal strategy first profiles and analyzes bad data, then implements smart address management tools for automated address verification, duplicate removal, change-of-address processing, and data enrichment. Mailers working with clean, correct, and up-to-date data not only save money on costs and meet postal regulations — but also ensure long-term business value with timely deliveries and high customer satisfaction. ¾

Collectively, stale data and bad contact data cascade quickly to create negative impact on business mailing efforts.

Step 4: Enhance and Update Dirty Data To lay down a line of defense against dirty data and prevent the recurrence of UAA mail, it’s critical to implement a change-ofaddress (move update) processing solution. Utilizing an approved move update method is required by USPS to qualify for postal discounts. There are four types of move update processing, including NCOALink, ACS (post mailing address correction service), Tradi-

By using NCOALink before mailing, businesses can significantly reduce UAA handling costs, save money by qualifying for postal discounts, and improve overall customer communication efforts. It’s a win-win situation. What about people that don’t provide their change-of-address information to the USPS? One way to obtain this information is through the mCOA (Multisource Change of Address) database, which contains 60 months of address changes to help identify residents that have moved, but may not


KEN BRASHEARS is a mailing and data management software product manager at Melissa Data, a leading provider of global data quality and address management solutions. To learn more about how to implement our data cleansing solutions into your mailing operations, go to Or call 1.800.MELISSA (635.4772) for more information.


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By Humberto Prospero


ail is more important than ever before. In fact, in 2014 the USPS saw the lowest decline in First Class Mail (2%), a 2% increase in Standard Mail, and an overall an increase in the pieces (55.6B) mailed. One reason for this renewed focus on traditional mailing practices is likely that marketers are seeing real value in using this channel. This article will focus on Critical Communications, as it relates to traditional mail, specifically communications to consumers that are important, time sensitive and/or have compliance requirements. We will focus on two types, marketing campaigns, such as direct mail and transactional mailings. When looking at these types of critical communications, the process, from idea to consumer action, can be described in three phases: Creation, Manufacturing, and Analytics.

Creation: It all starts with an idea. A marketing concept based on a business need that is driven by consumer behavior and more importantly the desired consumer action. This idea forms the message that is required to the consumer action and the marketing campaign is developed. It may be as simple as presenting the account status and action required to current customers. Or it can be more sophisticated, using personalized messaging to target a specific audience and influence consumer behavior. 26

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Manufacturing: Once the messaging is identified and defined, the manufacturing phase begins. It takes the idea from creation to a final physical mailpiece that is delivered by the USPS. Step one in this process involves deploying the human factors that define the look and feel of the message to best appeal to the target audience. Even run of the mill billing statements need to go through this process to ensure they are effective in conveying a message that will result in the desired consumer outcome. For example, say a utility company wants its customers to practice better conservation or use of its resources more efficiently. Using its communications it needs to develop an overall message that conveys that desire. In order for the message to be effective it will need to show value to the consumer if they perform the desired action and equally value to the business as a result of that action. Step two is creating the documentation that will represent this message. Composition software is used to format the document ensuring it contains the required information, but with a look and feel that makes it more compelling and pleasing to the consumer. Through the use of specific colors, fonts, word placement and overall presentation format, the business can create a document that speaks directly to each consumer and elicits the intended response. Once the document is created in digital format, the third step is to add the machine

components. This includes adding things like bar codes to control the insertion process and other tracking information needed to ensure the document gets mailed to the right person with the right information. The fourth step is postal optimization, which includes address cleansing and postal sortation. This is a key step as it ensures addresses being sent to actually exist, and also makes sure addresses and names correspond. In addition in this step, IMb is added, which allows a business to qualify for the highest discounts as well as to enable additional USPS services, such as IMb tracing, which is a service that provides tracking information on each individual mailpiece as it goes from the print shop to the end consumer. IMb tracing can be a critical service for time sensitive communication, like end of service notices or marketing campaigns with tight windows. The fifth step includes incorporating multi-media links into the document. These allow the consumer to have a multichannel experience and can be anything from PURLS to QR codes to altered reality which the USPS is currently talking about including to vehicles such as clickable paper, which is a technology that enables part of the document to become an active link, similar to QR codes but with no barcodes or other unsightly markings, making it a cleaner experience. Once all these links are in place, the sixth step involves recomposing the document to include all the changes, from address-

es to IMb to PURLs, etc. The composition software used prior to format the document can also be utilized to manage this, and/or a company can choose to utilize other standalone software applications for this. After the changes are incorporated, the final step is to get the documents, in digital format, queued to the printer and then machine inserted and sent to the USPS. This process is the most manual and also the most error prone. Due to the possibilities of many errors in this final step, in order to ensure the integrity of the documents and the final mailing, many shops have invested in automation and tracking software. By automating many of the above mentioned steps, these shops are able to reduce costs, improve quality and prove compliance. While this entire process can be expensive, it is the smallest part of the entire cost of the document. Postage is ultimately the majority of the costs, which makes the need for compliance that much more crucial to many businesses as it allows them to get any and all discounts on postage.



Once the document is sent to the USPS, and on its way to the consumer, then the third phase begins, the Analytics. Analytics is all about the evaluation activities that occur after the marketing campaign reaches its audience and the results are received. In today’s data rich environment, it’s critical to use the data collected from the campaign to understand what pieces of it worked and achieved the desired results and just as importantly, what didn’t. Most marketing campaigns will build historical databases on consumer behavior, which gives them the statistical data needed to perform predictive analytics that can help them understand how each message sent affected consumer behavior. This information can guide them in developing more effective marketing campaigns, either by improving the messaging or by better targeting the messages chosen to the correct audience. When the data is analyzed accurately, marketing campaigns that leverage analytics can return improved ROIs.

Marketing campaigns have a number of channels to choose from to deliver their message, but many companies realize that no one channel can produce perfect results and it is the multi-channel campaign that realizes the greatest success. As such the physical mailpiece continues to deliver value and is an important part of a multi-channel campaign. As the USPS is reporting that overall volumes are growing, with first class mail’s decline slowing and standard mail increasing, it’s evident that many business still see paper-based communication as important to their critical communication needs. Understanding how to leverage this channel and exploit its strengths can be a difference maker and enable many marketing campaigns to deliver positive ROIs, ensuring future success. ¾ HUMBERTO PROSPERO is Director, Consulting and Integration Services at Ricoh.


It’s an O2O2O World – Are You Participating? We used to worry about print alone, but today the combination of print and online communication opens options worth considering. We call it O2O2O — interaction and response options coupled with new print formats to develop Online to Offline to Online cycles that drive growth.

What is O2O2O?

O2O2O can start with online or offline, but always works in a cycle to touch both channels. Some designers are already winning awards by unlocking this cycle for their clients. Online purchases can drive a paper-based follow-up; others start with a paper, like their transaction statement, to drive a conversation in online forums. An example is Belgian insurer Ethias, who wanted customers who bought their insurance online to become a part of the Ethias family. They knew that if an online buyer visited their neighborhood office they were likely to sign on for additional insurance products. Their print provider, Symeta, developed a welcome magazine targeted to those online buyers that matched product and customer profiles to a local office. Each custom-generated magazine includes a message from the local manager, a picture of the staff holding a welcome banner for their new customer, and relevant articles. The program uses the customer’s profile and insurance product group, making it relevant. Symeta uses HP high-speed Inkjet web presses. The content was rated highly by 87% of read-

ers, while 54% promised to visit the local office. Recipients are twice as likely to request an additional quote and three times more likely to actually purchase additional insurance. The talk track in our industry is that more touch points you have the more likely you can capture and keep customers. Adding highspeed inkjet web presses to the production mix provides the ability to meet tight production deadlines while creating relevant, segmented and even personalized experiences for the recipients.

If you aren’t: } Using digital production techniques today to engage your customers with information that is closer to them } Considering alternative formats to communicate your messages and offers to your customers } Using the power of O2O2O to enhance your client experience… You should be!


By Patrick Brand


or small and medium businesses (SMBs), the line between mailing and shipping in the office is becoming blurred into what clients increasingly now call sending. Sending embraces everything that an organization sends out, including parcels, flats and mail. Increasing complexity in sending is forcing a new paradigm to emerge, which is to send smart. The marketplace for SMBs is expanding from local to global, with a growing number of businesses now selling over the web via e-commerce platforms. The competition for online buyers is also growing, with free shipping offers gaining popularity. With shipping costs continuing to rise, it is critical for businesses to send smart. Companies who can do this have a tremendous competitive advantage, and are better positioned to succeed in the borderless and connected world of commerce. Sending smart requires the sending operation to integrate seamlessly into a range of digital functions. That’s because almost all the processes for physical mail, flats, and packages are digitally initiated and then digitally tracked in desktop and mobile environments. In other words, sending smart represents the convergence of mailing and shipping workflows, and digital and physical processes. What drives this convergence? It’s been accelerated both by the growth of e-commerce and by the digitization of communications. And these changes in the sending paradigm have dramatic implications for everyone — SMBs, carriers, and solutions providers. We recently engaged an industry leading market research firm to conduct a global study of the changing paradigm for sending mail, flats, and packages. We surveyed more than 3,000 people and held more than 70 interviews on four continents. In addition to business respondents, our researchers contacted people working for 10 national posts and shipping carriers. Our goal was to learn firsthand how customers are dealing with these new sending challenges across the globe.

Growing Struggle with Sending Complexity The research delivered some important findings: } SMBs make delivery decisions based on a range of factors that change by item and time of day. 28

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} SMBs recognize how important sending is to their business and the critical role it plays in maintaining and growing their customer relationships. } The complexities of sending operations can be a constant source of disruption to daily workflows. } Financial transactions and record keeping slow down all the sending workflows they touch. } SMBs put a big effort into cultivating relationships, believing every customer touchpoint matters, especially with e-commerce; but they don’t have the time or the insight needed to optimize the transactions that are so critical to those relationships. The study further revealed that three major factors are making sending increasingly complex for SMBs, in every part of the globe: 1. Each carrier has its own processes. This makes it difficult for an SMB to seamlessly unify its approach across carriers. SMBs want a sending solution that works seamlessly across posts and carriers, and across mail, flats, and small parcels. 2. There is tremendous growth in e-commerce fulfillment as a result of SMBs leveraging a range of web-commerce platforms. Unfortunately, the variety of platforms also adds to the sending complexity. 3. Cross-border shipping growth further increases complexity. Here, SMBs are dealing with different currencies, tariffs, and regulations, as companies take their businesses global through e-commerce. Not surprisingly, SMBs want the sending process to be simpler and more efficient. They are looking for a unified approach that addresses the current challenges with the entire end-to-end sending workflow. These challenges include: variations in sending frequency, more precise data quality, carrier pick-up notification, delivery tracking, late delivery notification, sending analytics, and streamlined carrier payments. Put simply, SMBs need a complete sending solution that can manage the complexity they face every day. Postal administrations across the globe are responding by leveraging their footprint in mail with shipping solutions that are simpler

to use and deliver service levels that are competitive with private carriers. Posts are increasingly partnering with solutions providers to integrate and enhance their services. Responses from traditional providers of mail and shipping technology tend to focus on either hardware based or software based offerings. However, SMBs indicate they would prefer working with a single source that could provide the mix of both hardware and software solutions that best meets their needs and fully addresses their entire workflow.

FIRSTLOGIC DATA QUALITY 9.0 Firstlogic Solutions, LLC

The Old Paradigm vs. the New In the past, centralizing all mail, flats, and parcels into one physical mail center was the paradigm. This met a mix of sending needs by having everything flow through one location that could take advantage of a variety of specialized hardware and software based solutions. In the future, the sending function will be characterized by distributed preparation and fulfillment, where mail, flats, and parcels are tied together logically, rather than physically. As a result, the need for centralized capabilities — for efficient processing of high volumes of mail, flats, and parcels — will coexist with the ability to integrate sending into increasingly more distributed and agile business operations. As such, sending solutions of the future will accommodate a highly efficient, centralized operation, seamlessly integrated with web-based, virtual, and distributed capabilities. It’s a new type of sending hub — not centralized, but nonetheless unified.

FIRSTLOGIC DATA QUALITY (DQ) 9.0 is the next release of the SAP POSTALSOFT DQ 8.0 platform built on 30-years of proven address and data quality technology:

A unified approach to sending will provide organizations with some very attractive benefits: 1. Flexibility in the sending options available to employees. A unified process is a simplified process that does not require specialized knowledge to use. More employees can involve themselves in the sending process, with less need for specially trained operators. A unified approach also allows companies who have rules around sending to build them into the solution, resulting in tighter internal compliance. 2. More visibility into the service options available. A unified sending approach makes it easier to see the service options that make the most sense for the particular item being shipped. This saves money and time. 3. A better customer experience. A unified sending solution improves client satisfaction by ensuring that the right content gets to the right customer on time, and any issues are instantly identified for proactive client support. 4. Expanded services available to employees. This is particularly important as employees become more agile and mobile. A unified approach provides sending at the touch of a browser. As the company grows, it can provide agile and mobile sending services, to help employees be more effective, regardless of where they are around the globe.

888.725.7800 |

As solutions emerge to enable SMBs to send smart, we expect to help our clients further optimize their mailing and shipping operations, while enabling them to take advantage of additional opportunities for business growth. Today, more than ever, sending powers commerce for SMBs. Sending smart adds that much more power to these vital business operations. ¾

PATRICK BRAND is Senior Vice President and General Manager, Global SMB Products and Business Strategy, Pitney Bowes.

• ACE (Address Correction & Geocoding) (CASS, NCOALink & DSF2 Ready) • DATARIGHT IQ (Data Cleansing & Data Enhancement) • MATCH/CONSOLIDATE (Data Matching , Data Consolidation & Deduplication) FIRSTLOGIC DQ 9.0 batch/real-time software is available on WINDOWS, LINUX, SOLARIS & AIX. SAP America, Inc. is a certified NCOALink Distributor

SAP DATA SERVICES 4.2 Firstlogic Solutions, LLC

SAP DATA SERVICES (DS) 4.2 is SAP’s premier Data Quality Management (DQM) and Data Integration (DI) platform built on 30-years of proven address and data quality technology: • DATA PROFILING (Multi-Language Global Address & Data Quality) • ADDRESS CLEANSE (Address Correction & Geocoding) (CASS, NCOALink & DSF2 Ready) • DATA CLEANSE (Data Cleansing & Data Enhancement) • MATCH (Data Matching , Data Consolidation & Deduplication) • ETL (Extract, Transform & Load) SAP DATA SERVICES 4.2 batch/real-time software is available on WINDOWS, LINUX, SOLARIS & AIX. SAP America, Inc. is a certified NCOALink Distributor

888.725.7800 |



n the past, the thought of printing an important direct mail piece by using color inkjet could move creative directors to tears and cause a knot to form in their stomachs as they envisioned fuzzy images and washed-out color ruining a brilliant design. But advances in ink sets, workflow and paper are enabling marketers to use what’s now known as “production color inkjet” to include dynamic content that drives a higher return on marketing investment (ROMI). The creative directors’ tears of frustration have turned to tears of joy. Industry experts Barb Pellow and Jim Hamilton from InfoTrends report that by 2018, US production color inkjet page volume will exceed that of toner-based color devices. Initially introduced as a platform for transpromotional marketing, production color inkjet is now highly valued by marketers who use direct mail as a key element of their integrated marketing campaigns. Front-end systems have matured to allow for entirely business-logic driven mailpieces, which results in more efficient and effective communication. In addition, speed to market for highly relevant offers has increased due to the benefits of front-end standardization. The benefits of the digital inkjet platform are not limited to print. Postal optimization opportunities are enhanced based on the platform’s ability to merge multiple campaigns into single-stream production for optimal postal performance. In their book, The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet, authors Elizabeth Gooding and Mary Schilling encourage designers to “unlock the potential of digital print” and “embrace its weird and wonderful possibilities.” One of the most valuable pieces of advice they offer is to think about the entire process from front to back. This means considering the physical attributes of your design and understanding the finishing requirements. For example, will this piece be inserted into an envelope or finished as a self-mailer? One of the most important and challeng30

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ing aspects of production color inkjet is developing an understanding of the impact of software, hardware, ink and paper on your design. Inkjet is different in a number of ways. The printing process is different. The ink is different. The color gamut is different. The paper is different. We usually refer to the equipment as a “digital press,” but it’s technically not a press because there’s no pressure or, as in the case with offset printing, no direct offset of ink to paper. The ink used in production color inkjet is primarily water. Highly concentrated colorants specifically designed for inkjet are now used to provide vibrant color. Designers should know there are two major types of ink being used — dye and pigment. “Color gamut” sounds complicated. Gooding and Schilling define it as “mapping the range of colors that can be accurately achieved by a viewing or print device. In the context of inkjet, color gamut refers to the range of colors that a particular combination of inkjet machine, ink type and paper can accurately produce relative to the number of colors the human eye can perceive.” The authors’ most important advice regarding color gamut is, “If you don’t understand what you are working with, you may only be accessing half of the colors available to you!” Designers also need to understand the concept of “out-of-gamut” color. Designers often rely on the color space of their monitor, which may be larger than the color space of the production color printer. This means the colors used in the print file may not be accurately reproduced by the printer. This can turn a dream design into a nightmare when critical colors, such as those in the logo, are impacted. Production color inkjet has introduced new papers and new terms for what happens when a design calls for more ink than the paper can handle. These terms include cockle, curl, ink wicking, ink dive and mottle.

When designing for production color inkjet, designers must understand whether the output device requires paper that has been specially treated for inkjet or if it’s a newer model capable of printing on standard coated and uncoated offset grades. Surface treatments for inkjet generally fall into two categories: inkjet treated and inkjet coated. It is critically important for a designer to understand the properties of the papers available in order to deliver a design that looks as good on paper as it does on a monitor. Production color inkjet is exploding because of its ability to handle dynamic content. Designers must understand how the printer needs to manage the files and data. File preparation may differ based on workflow and output device, so don’t assume one size fits all or that your printer can “make it work.” You need to be confident that the design can handle all variations of the variable content. It’s no longer just about the longest name in the address file. Experience has shown there are five things designers should think about when using production color inkjet for direct mail. 1. Consider physical attributes and finishing requirements of the design. 2. Understand how variable and dynamic content will be used. 3. Demonstrate color awareness from start to finish. 4. Learn what paper is available and recommended for the intended ink coverage. 5. Understand file prep requirements for each project. The information contained in “The Designer’s Guide to Inkjet” was invaluable in writing this article and is available at mypressgo. com/content/inkjet-design-guide. ¾ MIKE DIETZ is Director of Creative Services at IWCO Direct, one of the nation’s leading providers of direct marketing solutions. He can be reached at or by visiting

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