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Diversification Opportunities -- Crossing the Digital Divide

March 2004
by chris bauer

Managing Editor

Digital printing has been tabbed as the future of the graphic arts industry for years now. But, to the chagrin of digital press manufacturers—and probably to the delight of offset press vendors—their use and integration into pressrooms remains relatively limited.

Whether it is concerns of quality, price or technology, many commercial printers are sticking with their traditional offset presses, and using digital presses for special applications only—if at all. Those printers who have made the digital leap, however, are singing the praises of the new-found equipment. Many report seeing a bump in business after crossing that digital line, and are finding new ways to make digital printing profitable.

One company that has successfully made the move to digital printing is USA MailNow, a York, PA-based direct mail provider (and a division of USA Direct). The firm is helping its customers develop more effective, customized direct mail campaigns in as little as one week instead of 90 days by using digital color presses.

According to Richard Osborne, CEO of USA MailNow, the company has been transitioning from its traditional printing processes toward "the future of direct marketing." It offers customers support for print-on-demand documents, personalization and shorter print runs, helping clients develop campaigns with more timely and relevant messages.

Web Driven

USA MailNow depends on a Xerox DocuColor 2060 and a DocuColor 6060, combined with its own Web-based solution, to drive direct mail campaigns.
To deliver those benefits, the company uses a Xerox DocuColor 2060 and a DocuColor 6060 in combination with its own Web-based MailNow solution, a service that helps businesses create, edit, order and ship direct mail campaigns.

"The presses are producing high-quality color printing in runs from 500 to 50,000 pages, with an overall combined monthly run rate of more than 500,000 pages," Osborne reveals.

In 1999, the company began developing MailNow software with a goal of using the Internet and advancing technology to increase the efficiency of the print production process and the effectiveness of direct mail, he explains. At the same time, clients were increasing their demand for short runs with targeted messages.

"When we began beta testing the prototype of MailNow in 2001, we teamed with Xerox to include digital presses and print-on-demand into our strategy," Osborne recalls. "When we formally incorporated MailNow into our business model in 2002, client demand for digital and on-demand printing began immediately and has increased every month since."

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