In my line of work I am often asked if it is economically wise to incorporate ‘green’ practices into the printed communications that make up a company’s marketing efforts. The answer to that question is the main thrust of this month’s edition of Ferrante Speaks.
I trust that when you have finished reading, you will have the information necessary to do the right thing for your business as well as for the environment.
Ferrante & Associates, Inc.
While green programs have historically been more expensive, this is changing due to the growing acceptance of green mandates by organizations like the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and the United States Postal Service (USPS).
The fact that more commercial printers and paper manufacturers have become eco-certified is reducing the cost of using green materials and processes. And, thanks to variable digital printing (VDP), companies can now print a limited number of customized marketing communications aimed at specific target audiences.
Another change that is helping to bring costs down involves mailing list management. More mail houses are reducing waste by implementing National Change of Address (NCOA) rules. Moreover, mail houses and the USPS are working together to ensure that address data is clean, reducing waste and duplication. Now, when you do direct mail, you are required to run your list through the NCOA whether it is a first-class mailing or bulk mail.
So is it really worth it?
Printing green is worth it if you maintain a proper balance among economic, environmental and social needs. Printing on paper can meet those requirements because it is a great way to drive business in a renewable way. How? By incorporating environmental stewardship in your business, by encouraging your suppliers and customers to do likewise, and by using printed materials prudently. All of which shows the world that you really care. But what about your bottom line, you ask? Well, read on…
Going with green printed communications can help you earn more green.
The latest research on advertising verifies that printed communications have a positive impact on business. Here are some examples:
- Campaigns that combine direct mail and e-communications yield up to an additional 25% response rate.
- Approximately 80% of households either read or browse advertising mail sent to their homes.
- Roughly four out of five Internet users say they were directly influenced to purchase an item or service because of direct mail.
- A significant percentage (44% to be exact) of small and medium-sized businesses still rely on newspaper and magazine advertising, and on direct mail, including letters, postcards and catalogs to get their messages out and to get results.
Some smart ways to help make print pay off.
- Know which markets respond to which print media. Use print wisely and make it count.
- Know what mix of media gets higher responses. The best way to do this is to evaluate and measure returns in order to use the right mix for your target audience and message.
- Keep mail lists current, purged of duplicates or disinterested parties, and precisely targeted.
- Use the right printing method for the right job. Several worth considering are digital, variable data printing and print-on-demand. These allow you to target a smaller, more specific audience, giving you increased personalization and ROI.
- Take printing to the next level with finishes such as embossing and special varnishes that make the printed piece pop, and tough to forget.
Print not only pays off— it pays back to the environment, too.
Here is a fact that not too many people know: when you use paper, you are making a contribution to the environment by keeping forests growing and responsibly managed. You know the argument; using less paper saves trees? The fact is when the demand for paper goes down, tree farming goes down with it, taking all of the important ecological impacts like clean water and wildlife habitat with it. So the next time you consider decreasing your use of paper, think about those trees you will not be “saving.”
Email or paper. Which is better for you and the environment?
Those who think pixels are better for the environment than paper had better think again. The basic raw materials used to make paper are renewable. The paper and forest products industry replenishes more than it harvests, and ensures the sustainability of forests by planting 1.7 million new trees every single day. That number is more than three times what is harvested.
Now what about electronics? Making a computer requires the mining and refining of dozens of minerals and metals such as gold, silver and palladium, as well as the extensive use of plastics and hydrocarbon solvents. The lifespan of a computer is short, and electronics have become the fastest growing waste stream on the planet.
Do not let Google bamboozle you.
Here’s the link to a letter from Michael Makin, President and CEO of the Printing Industries of America to Larry Page, CEO and Eric Schmidt, Chairman of Google. It is in response to Google’s chant to consumers to “Go paperless!” I think you will find Mr. Makin’s arguments made in his letter quite enlightening.
Large format printing produces a small carbon footprint.
Did you know that large format printing solutions such as signs, banners, and posters are earth-friendly? They actually help to reduce waste because they are produced in an environmentally responsible manner using products that are sustainable, which helps to preserve our natural resources.
Here are some examples—
- Many of the fabrics used in large format printing are made from 100% recycled materials and printed with aqueous-based inks.
- The rigid substrates found in large format printing are often biodegradable and recyclable.
- Vinyl banners are commonly made from recycled materials.
- The inks used to print these materials are eco-friendly because many of them are UV curable and water-based
Want to get the most out of going green, helping Mother Earth plus your bottom line? Turn to a knowledgable firm like Ferrante & Associates. We have the skills, staff and solutions to help you get green printing done right, on time and at the least cost.
Thanks for reading this month’s Ferrante Speaks newsletter and learning about the importance of Going Green.
If you’d like to learn more about the thinking around here at Ferrante & Associates, subscribe to our blogs. You may also follow us on Twitter , Google+ and Facebook. And don’t forget, we’ll be expounding further on this very important subject in future issues of Ferrante Speaks!