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Printers’ Web Presence — It’s All About PURLs

March 2007 By Heidi Tolliver-Nigro
AS PRINT providers look to transform their businesses from primarily print-based to a broader range of marketing services, the Internet is becoming an increasingly important part of their business model. For some, that means adding Web design as part of their creative and design offerings. For others, it means adding Web-to-print, whether for ordering static documents or for allowing customers to customize—even personalize—documents based on templates.

But while Web-to-print, as an umbrella category, has been getting a lot of attention, another Internet-driven application is rapidly gaining momentum—the ability to use cross-media technology to create personalized URLs (or PURLs), which send recipients of print or e-mail contacts to their own personalized landing pages or “micro-sites.” There, marketing messages can be targeted to each respondent and their responses tracked and reported in near real-time.

As a reflection of the rising popularity of these applications, consider the news that came out of the industry in just a one-week period:

On January 30, MindFire sponsored a Webinar on the topic, which attracted 500 top printing executives from as far away as North America, Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia and Europe.

The same day, XMPie announced that 170 users from 90 companies attended its first annual conference—not bad for a group that is only a few months old!

Several days later, Printable Technologies reported that, through its acquisition of certain assets of Prospect Smarter, it, too, had now acquired PURL technology capabilities.

Lower Cost Barriers

What’s driving all this? From a printer’s perspective, these applications, at their most basic level, can be very plug-and-play. They allow printers to provide personalized marketing and help their customers expand and develop their databases without having to have the same kind of detailed database knowledge that other one-to-one print personalization requires. Better yet, the “get in on the ground floor” price can be as little as $5,000 (through the new Printable ASP offering) and $10,000 to $15,000 for non-ASP offerings, which require a dedicated server or mini-server to create and host the actual URLs.

Thus, PURLs provide an enormous opportunity for printers to expand their marketing services without breaking the bank—at least, on a capital investment level (staffing and other infrastructure issues aside).

Besides adding non-print revenue streams, these applications drive something printers covet—printing revenue. Once you engage a customer in a cross-media campaign, not only do you generate revenue from the program development and execution but, since these campaigns are often (although not always) kicked off using direct mail and may include follow-up mailers, you generally get a nice print revenue stream, too.


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Most Recent Comments:
Kevin McKay - Posted on April 14, 2007
PURLs are only one piece of 360' closed loop marketing...complete "Marketing Campaign Management" can be driven from one solution:
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Archived Comments:
Kevin McKay - Posted on April 14, 2007
PURLs are only one piece of 360' closed loop marketing...complete "Marketing Campaign Management" can be driven from one solution: