Drupa – A Touch of Heaven for the Direct Mail Industry
March, 2008—As processing direct mail becomes increasingly high-tech and complex in terms of design, printing, converting, logistics and shipping, Manuel Mataré, drupa’s project manager, explains why a visit to the world’s largest print media trade fair is so important for direct marketing professionals!
Why is drupa 2008 so important for direct mail companies?
Manuel Mataré: Direct mail activities serve a billion-dollar industry that is more technology-driven than any other printing segment. In the past, technical innovations were developed using dialog marketing concepts. But this situation forced lettershops and mail houses to constantly offer highly innovative solutions and cutting-edge technologies.
Fortunately, drupa provides them with all the information they need to stay on top of things. As organizer of the largest and most important print media trade fair in the world, we witness every four years how Düsseldorf turns for a period of two weeks in May into a huge clearing house for everything related to make ready, printing, converting and finishing.
What does the future hold for this market segment? How can direct mail achieve above-average response rates?
Manuel Mataré: Impersonal mass mailings have long since been a thing of the past. Thanks to a variety of innovative printing media, successful direct mailings offer today highly customized and variable customer communication, with an extraordinary diversity in appearance and design. To keep up with the competition, a direct mail company should efficiently supply customers with highly complex solutions.
Which areas should direct mail managers invest in?
Manuel Mataré: It is not up to the drupa team to make investment recommendations. Our job is to help a direct mail manager get a complete picture of all existing and future technologies so that he can make the right investment decisions. However, as Messe Düsseldorf is also a major lettershop customer, we obviously consider very carefully which target groups are reached with highly personalized information and which ones are addressed in clusters. Ultimately though, direct mail should offer both variants if it wants to be viewed as a full-service partner. Digital and inkjet printing, with their diversity of options, stand apart from other technologies and should be at the top of the list when it comes to investment planning. Based on my experience, workflow and Web-to-Print solutions, such as the ones we will have on display in the Innovation Park at drupa, are greatly underestimated. They focus on production efficiency and I strongly believe this is just as important, for instance, as job management in the areas of postal pre-sorting and postage cost optimization.