Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 651-255-1225
Fax: 651-457-7040
Cell: 612-760-3700

Sheila Stai
Customer Service
Direct: 651-255-1222
250 East Lothenbach Ave.
Saint Paul, MN 55118
Phone: (651) 457-9255
Fax: (651) 457-7040
Toll Free: (800) 388-2914

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Creative Coatings Techniques
Desktop Techniques
Digital / Variable Printing
Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
FSC Certification
For Direct Marketers
In House Mailing Capabilities
Ink Tour
Paper Mill Tour - Coated
Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated
Picking the Right Paper
PDF Formats
PDF Info & Quark vs. InDesign
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Postal Increases & Requirement Changes
Post it to the Web vs. Print
Press Check Tips
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Save Disk Space
Social Media -- The Basics
Social Media vs. Print
Top File Issues
UV Burn
Ways to Save Money
What Sets Sexton Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?

October 2012 TK's Korner

Digital Printing-Variable Data or Business Development



How Would You Like To:

RAISE Response Rates
INCREASE Total Purchase Dollars Per Customer or Order
LOWER Costs per Response
LOWER Costs per Sale
     GATHER pertinent information on each of your customers
to market more effectively


Announcing Our NEW state of the art digital press Xerox 800 Press!

(in case you want to jump right to the big announcement to read more
about our
new digital press,
click here

Built from the ground up to maximize print quality. (Compared with old-technology
printers with added enhancements.) It utilizes new digital ink with chemically grown particles for
finer quality and in-line clear dry ink is the key element for special effects.

Very few of these digital presses have yet to be even put into production ---
Sexton has one that offers virtually unmatched quality in the Twin Cities.

revolutionizing the way businesses reach out to customers, as well as
how they develop their business or marketing strategies.

How does digital printing differ from conventional offset printing and
why is it fueling the growth of
One-to One Marketing using Variable
Data Printing


I CAN HELP, Sexton can help, Digital Printing can help,
One to One Marketing can help! –
Implement engaging 1:1 promotions, provide cross-media campaign measurement, and even streamlines your entire marketing supply chain.

"Sexton Printing has been providing Digital,
VDP printing for many years now"

(This issue won't make you an expert on the subject overnight, but it will show you the potential of digital technology using VDP, and how it can help you reach your communications objectives.)

See research results and comparisons in charts below, of how to lower costs per response, as well as per sale and increasing ROI, not customized vs customized programs.Description: sappiSlide10

Description: sappiSlide11


Description: picture1

Description: picture2

DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY is changing the face of printing.
It makes printing
faster and easier to produce, more flexible and reduces the need to
produce and hold huge inventories. It is transforming from a mass medium that is a
'spray and pray',
into a customized marketing One-to-One.

Blending digital printing technology with electronic customer databases, VDP allows you to
personalized promotions that not only call each member of your audience by name,
but also reflects their personal characteristics, lifestyles and tastes.

VARIABLE DATA PRINTING provides a powerful new tool
to win the attention of your audience, one person at a time,
and frequently captures higher sales, lowers cost per sale/response and increases your ROI.

VDP is a form of on-demand printing in which elements such as text, graphics and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the press, using information from a database.

What's behind the change is the marriage of reliable, high-speed digital printing and sophisticated database software, which combine to produce One-to-One Marketing using VDP for full color documents that look and
feel comparable to conventional offset printing.

In one methodology,
the document template and the variable information are both sent to the
press, and the raster image processor (RIP) combines the two to produce each unique document.

The other methodology is to combine the static and variable elements prior to printing using specialized VDP software applications. These applications produce an optimized print stream,
such as PostScript, which organize the print stream efficiently so that the static elements are
only processed once by the RIP.

Digital Defined:
With most types of digital printing, there's no film, color proofing, stripping or plate making, no press make-readies, no time consuming changeovers, and less waste. Because the images that appear are generated digitally,
they can most often be changed 'on the fly'.

Digital technology permits quick turnaround, immediate finishing, and no wait-time for drying and allows
for low-quantity print runs. Books and brochures can be printed on-demand as they are ordered – eliminating the need to print large quantities of materials and then holding them in inventory.

Digital Goes Personal:
Communicators now have the ability to target messages more precisely than ever before, and they're going
to town with it. Like hearing your name across a crowded room, personalized communications cut through
the clutter
and help establish a different relationship; you're not just selling -
you're speaking with prospects person-to-person.

The Returns:
While some claims seem inflated, research and experience indicate that personalized communications
increase customer retention, the size of the order and response rates 6 times over.
Others say, variable printing varies from double the normal return
on the first level to 10 to 15 times on fully variable. It depends on the data and the relevancy, but it is a very effective tool to increase ROI on your mailings. Even with higher per-page costs, variable data printing can make
for a lower cost per response, and higher returns from your communications investments.

HOW TO INCREASE RESPONSE: Description: sappiSlide09

NOTE: +600%, this equates up to 16% total
Full variable data, personalization, customization, database segmentation. ie; specific targets, smaller
quantity, more opportunities to respond.

Use what you know about your customer/prospect

Send them a relevant message

Ask them to act or take action in a specific manner

+20% when utilizing a Dimensional Mailer

ODD SHAPES - Have been found to give higher customer satisfaction via non-traditional, die cut mailers.
Some claim that shaped mail can increase response rates over regular direct mail by at least
2 to 3 times.
ie. Basketballs, buses, beer mugs, movie tickets, guitars, etc. New Postal regulations
that allow for custom shaped mail in sizes as large as 2x15 to be delivered to mailboxes without envelopes.


Description: sappiSlide07

NOTE: when BRC is "pre-completed" with recipients name and address, return rate increases 13%.


1%=response rate for broadcast black and white, no personal info

+1.5%=response rate to black and white, with personalization

+1.5%=response rate with 4cp, no personalization

+2%=response rate with 4cp, with personalization

+6.5%=response rate with 4cp, and deeper personalization in form of purchase history

NOTE: It's not the quantity that is sent out, but the number of responses you get back that matters.

(Since this is the follow up piece to the September 2012 column, Direct Mail – Raising Response, Lowering Costs, I just want to remind you of some important facts from that issue, in case you missed it), or click here to read the entire piece ), they are:

      While the brand perception should be identical, the objectives per target group will be differentiated, and therefore the investment level, media, messaging and offer. Consumers
can expect offers and messaging to become more comprehensive... and over a period of time
each receives a variety of direct mail communications about their particular objectives, offer and messaging.


      First off, Sexton's data technologies can help provide you with the fuel to propel promotions that go well beyond traditional spray-and-pray approaches. Beginning with existing or freshly acquired data, we can help you build a true marketing database by... enhancing it with demographic or even psychographic information. This greatly improves the usability of the database and gives us a foundation from which to provide value analyses and segmentation.


      And beyond that, we can then develop a profile of each audience to help tailor marketing messages for them. I think we'll all agree that the more targeted we can make your messages, the better the results will be.


      Using Integrated Marketing or Multiple Channels and Touch Points, you can also keep the audience interested. Synchronizing campaigns, utilizing 'if this, then that occurs' etc.


      Advertisers and consumers prefer a tangible object, something that can be held or touched. People prefer paper to something that exists only electronically. How many of us read an entire document on the computer screen?


      "Mail is essential to the multichannel mix. Many believe mail is uniquely positioned to play a major role in a National economical resurgence in 2012" Modern Mail quote.


And most IMPORTANTLY by tracking the results, you can easily calculate the cost per response, inquiry or sale.


      Measurability is a Major Advantage for marketing compared to other communication tools.


      Using Alerts in Real Time of when a site has been visited, and what responses have been given, gives the ability to follow up in a timely manner. This is critical for marketing managers, as well as sales reps and others to gather info quickly and accurately and respond as needed.


      Utilizing Dashboard Technology-data being generated, gathered and formulated into track able, measurable and informative formats in real time. Each opportunity, what products or services they are interested in, as well as giving you the ability to monitor your sales teams efforts, follow-up and sales. Integration of online tools is inclined to make your direct mail stronger than ever.


      In the dashboard, you'll be able to Monitor Up-to-the-Minute Results by campaign and itemize: reports of visitors, actions while on landing pages, downloads initiated, data collected, A/B test results, and activities from sources like direct mail, email, telephone number tracking, and text messaging.


Response Rates of Direct Mail depend on:

Integrity of List - Are you marketing to your target audience, and has the list been run through an address updating software?

Profiling - How to quickly and accurately profile clients that can dramatically improve response rate

When client or prospects responds to surveys, PURL, QR codes, offer etc. through a direct link to a micro site-landing page of some sort, it gives you a demographic breakdown about who used the promotional item, which offer they used, plus the response spend rates and each individuals demographics.

Timing - What's going on with world events, business cycles, marketing cycles, sales cycles, etc?

Offer - Is it something of value or interest to your target audience?

Incentive - Is it worthwhile to them?  Will it make them act?

Call To Action - Are you telling them what you want them to do, when you want them to do it by, and how you want them to do it?

Creative Execution - Design, copy, layout, vehicle, etc?


You must understand and know your Target Market


The more SPECIFIC YOUR TARGET, the better the use of your
marketing dollars, and hopefully the bigger ROI will be.
Sexton can assist you in enhancing your target data.

6 Important Items for Direct Mail:


Integrity of Mail List - if not geared towards your target audience, will not matter

Timing - what is going on in marketplace, your industry, purchasing cycles, world events, etc?

Offer - what you are offering them and why they should act

Incentive - reward for acting in the manner you wish them to

Call to Action - is it clear on what you want them to do, how, and when by

Creative - marketing vehicle you use, creative concepts, visuals, copy etc.


NOTE: It is not the cost of the piece, but the RETURN it brings in. This could be: increased interest,
responses, activations, dollars per sale, sales, total revenue or information gained in order to make
better decisions in the future.


Description: sappiSlide05

NOTE: One factor that has been left out is timing. It is critical that you time your programs based on what
is going on with your business, cycles of purchasing, world events, etc.

Data Base is the most important lever

NOTE: 18% of Americans relocate annually, and 2% of your list moves monthly


Mail List Hygiene

Sexton Printing has been assisting our customers with
their mail list needs
for over 14 years.

There are actually 4 levels of Variable Printing -



STATIC Conventional printing with no variable data, salutation or name changes on each copy.
(Fairly simple, but doesn't increase your level of return greatly from a mass direct mail.)



A number of different versions of documents are prepared to appeal to different groups, determined by demographics, income, location, interests or other characteristics. (You might have different levels of variability for different markets, can involve text and picture changes based upon segment).



FULL VARIABILITY Text and pictures can change totally from copy to copy.



VERSIONING HYBRID Combines both static and personalization. ie. a web run for the guts, plus
personalized covers or center spreads to appeal to many, along with one-to-one marketing


(These are each done by having a base design programmed showing what will change, and
then a database that actually drives the fields that will change).

And 5 levels of complexity -



VERSION Builds pages that change easily without significant database work. ie. sale sheets.



PERSONALIZED Materials with a common design having a basic name or other simple database change.



CUSTOMIZED Page layout that requires higher-level database support. Individual page elements are determined by logic that is used to access the database. ie. more complex direct mail and newsletters.



TRANSACTIONAL Financial transactions that incorporate personalized and customized content with financial data. ie. mutual fund and billing statements.



FULLY CUSTOMIZED Involves use of a sophisticated database that contains specific detailed information about an individual. The data is used to generate completely unique text, graphics, images and template content.

While VDP opens new options in communications, it's best to proceed carefully. The printing equipment available needs to meet the demands of the job and each type of equipment has its own weakness and strengths. Working with Sexton, you'll be assured that we are experienced in handling both the printing technology and the information systems needed to drive it.

When starting out, it's best to keep things both simple and subtle. While it's possible to personalize
virtually every aspect of a publication, large numbers of permutations become more difficult to manage,
simply assembling all the images and reviewing all the options can be challenging. It also appears that the
days of boldly calling attention to personalized information are coming to an end. Today, many of the best examples seamlessly weave personalization into the project without flaunting it. The goal is to reach
customers, not to showcase your technical prowess.

Before you decide to go Variable it's good to keep a few things in mind -

       Not all commercial printers are equipped to handle VDP, which requires a broader range of skills.

       Software is easier to use, yet, graphic arts professionals are likely to need the help of information technology specialists to acquire and manage the data required. At most printers that offer digital
printing IT experts are full members of the production team.

       Of course, the data must be good. Nothing blunts the impact of a personalized publication more than
a mangled name or title.

       VDP requires a new way of looking at costs. Both production times and costs are likely to be higher,
but so are the responses and purchases
, which can make VDP more cost effective.

       No need to print and store large quantities of copies that may never be used or quickly become out-of-date.

      In the long run, it might actually be less expensive to pay as you go and only print the number of publications that are required at the moment, without tying up capital in brochures stacked on a warehouse floor.

Announcing Our NEW state of the art digital press Xerox 800 Press!
Built from the ground up to maximize print quality. (Compared with old-technology
printers with added enhancements.) It utilizes new digital ink with chemically
grown particles for finer quality and in-line clear dry ink is the key element for special effects.

Very few of these digital presses have yet to be even put into production ---
Sexton has one that offers virtually unmatched quality in the Twin Cities.


Description: 800-2

Description: 800


Clear Dry Ink adds creative effects that bring your prints to life and get your messages noticed.

You can create dazzling effects that deliver vibrant, high-definition image quality and a wide color gamut that makes images come to life.

Clear dry ink enables you to -

  • Use it as a spot treatment over an image or text to create a tactile dimension that catches the eye, creates an emotion and spurs actions for the visual effect of popping off the page. Draws attention to a headline or variable text.

  • Enhance varied textures on a single printed surface, giving the piece a more high-end polished look. 

  • Highlight a certain area of a photo to reach out and grab the reader's attention or highlight just a few of its features. 

  • Add a texture over a photo giving the illusion of dimension, over one word or several, will draw attention to your messages.  Even apply in different levels of intensity to give a layered look and feel.

  • Tinted varnish effects can increase the depth and overall sheen of a color making it seem to be lifted off the page.

  • Simulate pearlescent or metallic appearance, a metallic effect can be accomplished now on our state of the art digital press with this technique which adds richness, sheen and elegance to your piece.

  • Use it as a watermark and it disappears when the document is copied. Clear watermarks can also be a powerful yet subtle design element to elegantly help you make your point.


(Highlighted areas in blue below indicate areas where clear dry ink was applied in this example.)

       Make sure to let me know if you'd like to see some of the awesome samples I have of this technique.

Here is some further information on Digital Printing Machines
Some types of Digital Printing Machines

Biggest difference - most systems rely on toners, not inks.

After they are applied, toners are typically baked onto the surface of the paper at a high temperature. This is only a problem when using conventional shells. ie. running a large conventional shell program and then coming back with a digital imprint over a conventionally printed area having color such as a tinted background. The conventional inks could liquefy causing a smeared type look. A test run would be a good idea. Best case, imprint onto a conventional shell on the white paper surface only.


Many experts recommend against using toner-based printing systems to print letterhead stationery, feeding it through a high heat laser printer might cause your name or logo to lose definition.


Compared to conventional inks, toner is also somewhat more likely to crack when folded. It's important to avoid large floods of color or heavy toner coverage on the folds. Using perfect binding rather than saddle stitching will also help reduce cracking.


Dry toner-based systems typically cannot print at the high resolutions available with the best offset printing, so the use of extremely fine screens should be avoided.


The electrostatic charge used to attract the toner often varies in strength across the sheet, which make it difficult to control gradations.


Since few systems allow for the use of spot colors, it can be difficult to match corporate colors or to print metallic inks.


Keep in mind that what you see on the monitor is NOT what you'll see on press. The colors on screen are inherently more vibrant and encompass more of the entire spectrum.


Toner Based Digital Printing Systems:

Most toner-based systems rely on some type of electro photographic printing technology. Electro statically charged particles of toner are attracted to areas of the paper that have received an electrical charge. Then the toner is fused to the paper to form the image.


Xerographic Systems:

A light source scans the image and reflects it onto an electro statically charged photoreceptive drum. The drum passes over a toner roller, and dry or liquid toners are attracted to the charged image areas of the drum. The drum deposits the toners on an electro statically charged piece of paper or other substrate, and the toner is fixed to the substrate by heat and pressure. The image and any remaining toner particles are then erased from the drum, which is ready for its next image.


Laser Printing Systems:

Also rely on electro photographic technology. The artwork is scanned, converted into digital data and then transferred onto an electrically charged drum using either a laser or a light emitting diode. Toners are attracted to the image areas on the drum, which then transfers them to the substrate.


Ink Jet Based:

Rather than relying on electro photographic technology, these systems use drops of ink applied to the substrate to create the image. Drops leave the nozzle at a rate of up to one million per second, producing a glossy image with a look that comes close to that of a continuous tone photograph. They use electrical charges to guide the placement of the drops on the substrate. Drop-on-demand inkjet printing applies drops of specially formulated liquid or solid inks in response to a digital signal.


Hybrid Technologies:

Combine digital and conventional offset technology. One type (DI), Direct Imaging, work like a standard sheetfed offset press, but the plates are imaged and prepared right on the machine. DI presses can match the performance of high quality conventional offset presses, but they do not allow for variable data, because once the plates have been prepared, they can only print identical copies of the same image.


(if you jumped right here from pg 1 to read all about the new press,
click here to go back, so you don't miss anything!)

Some information on Digital Papers:


Having the right paper is important –
Papers used with digital printing should be engineered to work well with toners and stand up to the heat that can be generated during the image fusion process. A strong surface helps to protect against the picking sometimes caused by tackier waterless inks. A smooth surface helps to hold the toner evenly.


It's especially important to control the moisture content of the paper before and during printing. Digital paper typically contains less moisture than conventional offset papers, so there's less moisture to evaporate through the printed image when the toners are fused by heat. Both temperature and moisture content are critical for the paper to receive the correct electrostatic charge during digital printing.


Generally it is best to avoid papers with heavy textures, since the toner may not adhere evenly or might rub off on the high spots. Always make sure that the paper's basis weight matches the specifications of the equipment that will be used to print the project.


Xerox & Xerox Pre Templated stock for Unique & Cool vehicles that Sexton offers

We have some really COOL and UNIQUE pre template vehicles that you might want to consider for some of your offerings.


What makes them different –

They are pre template sheets that all you need to do is drop your artwork into

You don't need to have dies made and paid for

Nor do you need to run tens of thousands of them

They are ideal for small qty runs, in 4-color process and can even be personalized

Xerox Polyester Paper is a synthetic paper option available designed to take plenty of abuse and still look great.
Consider this for wet weather - chemicals and tearing don't mean a thing to this tough paper!
Perfect for manuals, catalogs, airline tray inserts, maps, menus, luggage tags, garden plant tags and much more.
Has high opacity and whiteness for excellent brightness and shade.

Neenah's Digital Papers—



I do have some ideas that you might want to consider and would love
an opportunity to come in and show them to you. Let me know if you are interested and we'll set up a date and time to do this.


Food for Thought:

Repetition-is the mother of recognition and learning.
The more often you hit the target market with
different and creative pieces, the better chance of having
them recognize and purchase or act on your offer



You also might find of interest:


More info listed below that you may find of interest:

Case Studies

Stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You just might be surprised!

Please refer back and visit often the entire library of TK's Korners where you will find information on subjects that may be of interest to you like:

Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
Avoid Dog House
Creative Coatings Techniques
For Direct Marketers
In-House Mailing Capabilities
Picking the Right Paper
PODI case study
Post it to Web vs Print
QR Codes
Social Media vs Print plus Integrated Marketing
What Sets Sexton Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work with TK?


Hope this helps and stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You never know what might be covered!

If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email. I will do whatever it takes to ensure you get the best value for every marketing dollar invested.

You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:

Referrals are greatly appreciated, if you know someone I could help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.

Take care and have a great day!

Tom Kubinski, Printing Consultant

Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
Direct: (651) 255-1225
Cell: (612) 760-3700

Selected portions reprinted in Print & Media Buyer, a national magazine for the print industry. (Search for Tom Kubinski)

Print & Media Buyer Magazine, Winter issue 2007

Below, please find a PODi case study of nationally recognized campaign plus 3 issues that have been published in a National magazine.

* PODi - Digital Print Success Story .pdf 2.9 mb
* Kubinski to Contribute to Print and Media Buyer Magazine .pdf 144 kb
* "Press Check/A Step by Step Process" SPRING 2008 .pdf 536 kb
* "File Prep" APRIL 2008 .pdf 704 kb
* "How to Plan Your Print Project/Nice Price" JULY 2008 .pdf 320 kb

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