Next Generation Printing — Namesake Says It AllJune 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Today, Massachusetts-based Nextgen is a leading printing and marketing services provider that has found success in anticipating and embracing the latest technologies and market trends, as well as in the sheer number and types of services it offers.
Nextgen offers a full suite of services, including traditional offset printing, static and variable data digital printing, Web-to-print solutions, automated marketing systems and e-mail communications, as well as full prepress, bindery, mailing and fulfillment services.
Nextgen lives up to its namesake, not only because it embraces next-generation technology, but also because it embraces a next-generation, forward-thinking business strategy. Instead of competing with other printers, Nextgen partners with them, acting as a trade printer and filling in gaps in fellow printers’ capabilities.
In addition to servicing other printers and print brokers, Nextgen’s client base includes colleges, medical and pharmaceutical companies, and a wide range of businesses and organizations in need of commercial printing and marketing services.
Hooked on Digital
The company’s cache of high-tech equipment spans from prepress to bindery, mailing and fulfillment, but centers, of course, on the pressroom. There, printing technologies range from Heidelberg sheetfed presses (two 40˝ and one 29˝) and an HP DesignJet 5000 (for wide-format work) to a small army of Kodak Digimasters (for monochrome digital jobs).
In August 2006, Nextgen upgraded its digital color fleet with the addition of a six-color HP Indigo 5000, followed by a Canon imagePRESS C7000 the next year.
With 90 employees and $12 million in annual revenues, the company is also experiencing highly favorable (and profitable) results from newer product offerings, especially its Web-to-print services.
“Our Web-to-print solution allows us to create fully customized Websites that make ordering printing and marketing materials simple for companies with widely disbursed personnel. Dunkin Donuts, for example, is taking advantage of this particular opportunity,” he reveals.
Nextgen is successful because of its wide range of product offerings and its ability to house them under one roof. However, John Rothstein maintains that there’s another not-so-well-known ingredient in the company’s core assets: the people who work there.
“The Nextgen team has been at the heart of our growth and is why our customers know they can rely on us,” he says. “Our people make it possible for us to turn a job very quickly, sometimes in about 24 hours in emergency situations. Although we have a lot of equipment, a great facility and the latest technology, it is our employees—many of whom have been here for 15 to 20 years—that really make Nextgen successful.
“As we look to the future, we will do what we have always done. Look at what is next—the next trend, the next piece of software, the next type of equipment—and figure out how we can utilize that to help our customers print for, market to, and communicate with their clients.
“Here at Nextgen,” concludes Rothstein, “the future has never been brighter.” PI
Pulling Out All the Stops
Offering several, diverse solutions all under one roof is one of the many reasons Nextgen has been experiencing growth in the highly competitive commercial printing market, says John Rothstein, president. As an example, he describes a recent job that entailed almost every department in his shop.
“Our customer wanted to reach their entire audience across many media channels, including print, Web, radio and newspaper. We started by creating compelling graphics and copy. Using the same graphics and copy across each of the various types of media, we were able to communicate in a visually consistent way. Next, we printed offset shells in full color that were imprinted on black-and-white digital equipment with personalized information for 250,000 recipients.
“The letter directed the recipient to a Web landing page, where a survey allowed an interactive conversation to begin,” Rothstein continues. “The Web landing pages were versioned for each of the various types of media. Basically, each media outlet and mailing list was coded to allow for a detailed analysis of response rates.”
In review: Nextgen employed traditional offset and digital variable data printing and Web landing pages, as well as direct mail and radio and news-paper ads, to communicate a consistent message.
And that was just phase 1, Rothstein points out. Phase 2 started once people hit the Web landing page, where they would fill out a survey. Once completed, the person received an electronic “thank you” note via e-mail. But, at the same time, that information would automatically be sent to Nextgen’s fulfillment department.
“Armed with the survey responses and a predetermined set of business rules, our fulfillment department put together kits based on the respondent’s survey choices,” Rothstein explains. “For example, if John Smith indicated that he likes playing tennis and golf, he got a set of materials geared to those who play sports. If Jane Doe responded that she likes museums and fine dining, the kit she received would focus on area restaurants and attractions.
“Thus, even though our customer was selling the same item—a time-share—and Nextgen was shipping out hundreds of packages a day, the recipient felt that their desires alone were being addressed.”
At project’s end, Nextgen’s customers received exactly what they wanted, Rothstein asserts—a complex, yet successful campaign, all without the need to manage a half dozen vendors and the stress and pressure that all those tasks can bring. This was interactive communication meeting a customer’s need, all under one roof.