Our latest Fresh Ink blog interview speaks with Ted Gaillard, SG360° Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, about what makes SG360° unique, and how the evolution of inkjet technology mirrors the evolution of SG360°.
Ted Gaillard: Hello, I’m Ted Gaillard, Executive Vice President, Sales & Marketing, at SG360°.
Marketing Team: Who is SG360°?
Ted: We are a direct marketing solutions provider that helps drive improved marketing performance. Our focus is on improving our clients’ direct marketing results through innovative direct marketing concepts and multi-channel strategies.
MT: Innovative in what way?
Ted: We have one of the most diverse production platforms in the industry. We combine leading-edge technologies and our creative expertise to deliver innovative solutions that help differentiate our customers’ campaigns in the mailbox. Our extensive imaging/finishing technologies, including a wide range of inkjet options, empower us to improve the relevance of the marketing message that enhances the likelihood the recipient will be compelled to read the offer. Additionally, our expansive inline finishing platform provides the ability to incorporate consumer involvement functionality to help build additional brand awareness as the consumer spends more time interacting with the mail piece.
Inkjet history and success
MT: How long has SG360° had inkjet technology?
Ted: In the early going we utilized off-press inkjet technology, however in the 2006 – 2007 timeframe we expanded our capabilities and incorporated inkjet technology into our inline web press platform. This was one of the early strategic decisions that led to our evolution from a commercial print specialist to one of today’s leading direct marketing solutions providers.
MT: What does our inkjet platform look like today?
Ted: Today we offer one of the most comprehensive set of personalization options available to direct marketers. Our continued investment in expanding our inline web inkjet capability—inclusive of full 4-color variability—as well as our stable of stand-alone ink jet web technology, provides our customer base tremendous flexibility to efficiently execute programs across the complete marketing spectrum, and quantity range.
MT: How has inkjet technology contributed to our success?
Ted: It allows us to be very nimble in responding to client needs and has provided us significant reach into new vertical markets that benefit from the use of data rich marketing activities. Their ability to use inkjet technology to drive individualized messaging, offers, lifestyle images—without having to change plates—creates relevant communications and leads to optimizing efficiency of the production run as well as the potential for maximum postal savings.
MT: What’s an example you can share?
Ted: Let’s take a look at insurance marketing. Ink jets ability to incorporate dynamic content into a marketing offer provides the ability for an insurance marketer to illustrate policy options and rate structures based on the known data elements of the intended recipient of the direct mailer. This one-to-one approach—vs. a one-to-many offer—presents a relevant offer that should enhance the chance of a conversion as a result of the recipient having meaningful and actionable information.
With the ongoing improvements to inkjet resolution quality and speed, direct marketers are finding it increasingly beneficial to utilize variability where relevant data is available to drive content.
The inkjet advantages
MT: Besides personalization/variability, what are some other things in inkjet’s favor?
Ted: It’s definitively faster than toner-based machines because with toner you’re cleaning off a drum for each individual sheet. With toner-based print engines you’re typically running sheets per hour versus feet per minute.
Depending upon the resolution quality one is looking for and the mix of assets they are looking to reproduce ink jet speeds can vary from a low of approx. 300 ft/min to a high end of 2,000 ft./min. The speed enhancement of ink jet personalization drives time savings which typically delivers more attractive economics for the marketer and the associated campaign.
MT: Why did we make the Prostream investment?
Ted: Our addition of the Prostream provided us necessary capacity expansion and at the same time filled a gap in our existing digital web offering. Our existing digital webs had some substrate limitations which forced us to default to toner based machines for coated and matte papers. The Prostream enabled us to offer digital-print quality at web speeds, with broader substrate flexibility, and provide our customers full dynamic content capability to maximize customization and their marketing results.
MT: Describe the impact that inkjet technologies and their value-added solutions have had on our business.
Ted: Inkjet has enabled us to dive deeper into the direct mail space. When we started with inkjet we were providing basic overlays; simple name and salutation personalization. Of course, inkjet’s early days had limited color capabilities and resolution that wasn’t to the level it is today—which at the high-end rivals traditional lithography. We evolved and grew, as did inkjet. Now, with four-color inkjet technology as well as much higher resolutions, it can take a trained eye to tell the difference between something static printed off a web press and a fully customized piece off a high-end inkjet machine.
MT: What does your crystal ball have to say about the future?
Ted: I fully anticipate the industry will continue to invest in inkjet technologies as the resolution, speed, and web widths evolve and improve. As that evolution unfolds, SG360° will be right there investing in the technologies that will improve our clients’ results and make it more effective to communicate with their targeted audience. We foresee inkjet web technology having a very bright future providing improvement to direct marketers’ overall campaign costs and results!