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As brand managers weigh moving to digital printing, one key consideration is financial impact. ROI won’t be the only factor to assess, but it’s obviously an important one. And some projects have a clearer ROI than others.
As you calculate which option is best for your line, it’s important to take the following actions.
Determine time saved. Although most individuals recognize there’s a difference between convention and digital print time, the actual determination can seem elusive.
Much will come down to knowing how many colors you’ll use and a few industry averages: With conventional printing, if you have a four-color or eight-color job, then you will need to run 200 sheets of paper. Each color will take about 15 minutes of preparation. At 15 minutes per color, that’s one hour of preparation for a fourcolor job and two hours for an eight-color job.
In contrast, digital printing requires just 5 to 10 sheets per color. So the amount of time saved for a multicolored project can easily be an hour or two per run.
Examine prior expense and labor associated with corrections. Projects that have traditionally been correction prone can expect savings in these areas.
Digital printing allows for 100 percent verification of printed material on the press itself, in regard to both color and graphics. If there is a defect in the printed material, a digital print process can catch it electronically— directly on the press—and automatically kick out the rejects and make the adjustment needed with no operator intervention required. An examination of expense and prior time lost to corrections due to plate changes using flexography can provide a comparison point for digital savings.
Review prior spend on “minimum runs.” The cost of the printing plates is the greatest drawback of using flexographic printing. These plates hold the images that are going to be printed on to the label, and there must be a plate purchased for each color. For a large run, with a large number of labels, the onetime cost of the plates is easily offset by the speed and production costs. For a short run, however, the cost of the plates outweighs any possible production savings.
Flexography typically carries “minimum run” charges that digital doesn’t, because the minimum order requirement is designed to cover the plate cost for each job.
Assess image distortion fees. Also factored in will be how much is typically spent on image distortion. With flexography, the act of wrapping an image around a cylinder for the press causes the image to become stretched and distorted when it is printed. Recognizing this, it is necessary to distort the image before the plates are created. The cost of distorting the image is, like the plates, a one-time fee. However, for short runs, this additional cost is a deterrent against using flexographic printing.
Additional factors affecting your ROI will include label size, number of SKUs, substrate costs and more.
Talk to a sales representative for a free ROI assessment at (contact information).