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Communicating Through the Chaos: The Power of Direct Mail

By | Blog

In this current, fast-changing environment, many businesses will need to keep their customers updated far more frequently than would normally be required. Changes to services, operational practices, supply chain and logistics are just some of the issues on which these businesses will need to update their customers.

So, why not just email all your customers? Well, when it comes to critical communications, purely relying on mass email campaigns is not necessarily the most effective method, particularly when you consider the engagement levels of both mediums.

Direct Mail is More Engaging and Memorable

 

When it comes to communicating with customers, direct mail is far more engaging than email communications, due its personalised and tangible nature. Mass email communication is often perceived as being quick, impersonal and, as a result, it becomes more forgettable. How many emails do you read once then forget? How many go straight to your junk mail? Direct mail communications, however, occupy a physical space – reminding us of their presence even when we put them down. As a result, we’re far more likely to pick them up again.

Credibility

As news and government advice seems to be changing by the hour, the potential for miscommunication and misinterpretation is vast. With many of us falling victim to fake news, misleading information, or even just information overload, we become more and more skeptical and often dismissive of this information – particularly when it comes to digital media. The need for reliable and trustworthy information has never been so great.

As print has been a part of our lives for decades, we tend to place more trust in its content – especially direct mail. It’s formality and personalisation holds our attention and makes us feel far more valued than receiving an email. As a result, we tend to find it more credible. When it comes to critical business communications, reaching your customers through direct mail is far more effective – especially as millions of us our now working from home!

 

Royal Mail MarketReach, Mail and Digital Part 1, Quadrangle
https://dma.org.uk/uploads/Mail%20and%20Email%20Research%20Report%202014_549847df0bfe8.pdf

The Integrity Solution

With the capacity to produce up to 100,000 mail communications each day, above our daily commitments, Integrity Print can help you reach all your customers so you can maintain critical communications throughout this period of uncertainty. Our Secure Mailing Division provides direct mail services for hundreds of clients across the full spectrum of industry sectors, with quick turnaround and market-leading production capability. To discuss your mail communications project with one of our specialists, please call 01760409200  or visit out contact page

 

Is Print Sustainable?

By | Blog

Is print sustainable? It’s been just over a month since I joined the print industry and after coming to the conclusion that it definitely isn’t dead, I found myself questioning whether or not it’s genuinely sustainable: How clean is it? What’s the environmental impact of this undying industry?

The C words

Whether it’s being lobbied by Greta or denied by Trump, climate change is one of the most prominent issues of the modern age. Environmental awareness is on the rise as more and more of us are demanding more sustainable solutions to the needs of our lives and businesses. So where does that leave print?

In the UK alone, it’s estimated that we use 12.5 million tons of paper each year. On average, it takes roughly 24 trees to make 1 tonne of white office paper.

Surely that isn’t sustainable?

Well, it seems that it isn’t quite as simple as that. Print companies have been sourcing sustainable supplies of paper for decades. 98% of the paper that is bought by Integrity comes with either FSC and PEFC certification. These organisations ensure that their paper is sourced only from sustainable forests, and the Chain of Custody Certification provides a means of identifying every link in the production chain; from source of timber, through to paper manufacture and the printing process. Considering this, the print sustainability promise appears to become more credible.

Myth busting

It seems that there is so much bad press when it comes to the sustainability of the print industry; so many preconceptions about deforestation, conspicuous consumption and unsustainability. What’s myth and what’s fact? Who do you listen to? There are always two sides . . . (shameless segue alert!) . . . Two Sides is an organisation that looks to dispel common environmental misconceptions by providing facts and information to its audience about the sustainability of the print and paper industries; addressing statements such as “paper is bad for the environment”, “paper production is a major greenhouse gas emitter” and “planted forests are bad for the environment

But what about the ink?

True. The VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions from solvent-based inks can have a detrimental effect on indoor air quality. The IPA (Isopropanol Alcohol) is one such contributor to this effect. IPA is also an expensive compound which requires specialist handling and storage areas. However, it would appear that the print industry has made positive steps when it comes to the ink problem, with water-based and vegetable-based inks being used more widely across the industry. Integrity’s Ink Switch initiative, lunched in 2018, has seen a significant reduction in VOC emissions across their site, as well as annual cost savings of over £30k.

ISO14001

ISO14001 sets the global standard for Environmental Management Systems and was designed to help businesses and organisations to reduce their environmental impact. But does that really make a difference? Is this just another box for HR departments to tick before they pat themselves on the back and then put their feet up for another 12 months until the next audit? No. The ISO14001 certification now calls for organisations to continuously improve, implementing proactive initiatives to protect the environment from harm and degradation, such as sustainable resource use and climate change mitigation.

The Supply Chain

Given the sheer volume of materials; the scale of production; and the complexity of the distribution networks; how do print companies ensure that every aspect of the supply chain is as sustainable as it can be? How do you mitigate the carbon impact of such an operation? The supply chain is undoubtedly one of the key areas of any print company, that requires a significant amount of intelligent and innovative management to ensure sustainability.

Sourcing sustainable materials is only one aspect. How those materials are used, processed, packaged, recycled and distributed are all factors that can have a tremendous impact on the sustainability of the entire supply chain. The value of sourcing paper from sustainable forests is greatly diminished if the waste just ends up in a land fill, or the production process relies on outdated, inefficient technology. It seems to be a finely balanced operation to ensure that every link in the supply is optimised for sustainability.

Whether it’s sourcing, packaging, distribution or recycling, Integrity Print takes a considered and innovative approach to the sustainability efforts within its supply chain. One of the most notable accomplishments is their “zero to landfill” status which has been achieved through their comprehensive and innovative waste stream management. Every piece of waste that leaves the Integrity site is either recycled, reused or recovered. Absolutely nothing ends up in landfill!

So, Mission Accomplished?

Not quite. Sustainability is an ongoing process and the industry itself, despite the significant progress already made, still has a long way to go; and that includes us.

At Integrity, we know that there is always more that can be done. As we continually look to improve our systems and technology, refine our processes and minimise our waste, we also ask you to challenge us!

If you have any thoughts on how we can make an even bigger impact with our environmental initiatives, we’d love to hear your ideas. No matter how big or how small. We can always do more!

Email us at challengeus@integrity-print.com or leave your suggestions and ideas on our Contact Page.

If we love it and we can do it, we will!

Is Print Dead?

By | Blog

Is print dead? This was the question that I was asked before I joined Integrity Print. So, put yourself in my shoes – a digital marketeer; a self-confessed ‘tech geek’; a natural advocate for the supremacy of digital media and technology; heading for an interview with one of the most prominent printing companies in the country and asked to give my opinion on whether or not their entire industry had succumbed to the rise of the digital age.

The obvious response to my would-be employers would have been to say “No! Of course not. Why would I choose to dive head-first into a new industry if I believed it was dying? Print is definitely not dead – it just needs better marketing” . . .  So that’s what I said!

Well, they seemed to like my approach and here I am in my first week at Integrity. Although my sentiment was genuine, I thought I should dig deeper and offer some insight into why I was prepared to make my bold statement. I took the time, did the research and asked myself the question “Is print dead?”.

In a word, no. Now, we could address the elephant in the room – this is a blog, it’s digital, and for the next 400 words or so, will proceed to explain why print hasn’t been killed off by digital media. However, for the sake of progression, let’s just sidestep the irony, shall we?

It’s true, we live in a digital age; millennials raised on pixels driving the social media machine ever forward; gigabytes of information being shared at the tap of a mousepad; and mobile phones and tablets basically running our lives. So, where does that leave the humble print industry? Alive and Thriving! Not convinced? Let’s explore . . .

The digital detox

This is something that one in five people surveyed admitted they needed, with 70% of people looking to reduce their overall consumption of digital media. True – digital technologies have transformed nearly every aspect of our lives, and will probably continue to do so, however, it seems digital fatigue is creeping in. And when it comes to brand awareness, 70% of people are more likely to remember a brand that they see in print versus online advertising.

The personal touch

Let’s face it, we’d all rather get an actual birthday card than an e-card; a letter rather than an email; and a gift voucher rather than a discount code.  We tend to have a stronger emotional connection with print; touch, feel and smell all playing their part. Brands are recognising that services like direct mail are connecting with recipients in a way that provokes action. According to the latest DMA Direct Mail Response Rate Report, the average response rate for direct mail is around 9%. Compare that with email which comes in at less than 1% and you can see why direct mail is a popular marketing channel for businesses who are looking to grow their brands.

Credibility and trustworthiness

Books, newspapers and magazines have been a part of our lives for decades, even centuries. As a result, we tend to place a great deal of trust in printed materials and the content we read within them. UK statistics show that printed media such as newspapers were the second most trusted source of advertising after television, with digital sources such as websites and social media falling behind. #fakenews

Digital is easier to abandon

Print, not so much. Once we’ve finished with a website, we’re likely to ignore it – all that digital detail competing for our attention: “Buy this”; “Subscribe here”; “Read our blog (!)”. But print occupies a physical space – reminding us of its presence even when we’ve put it down. As a result, we’re far more likely to pick it up again.

So . . .

Printing has been with us for over 500 years but far from being dead in a world of automated processing and artificial intelligence, print is not only alive but continues to connect with us in a way that can never really be replaced.