Inkjet Summit 2023: XMPie and the Growth Opportunity of Commercial Inkjet ApplicationsRESOURCES

Inkjet Summit 2023: XMPie and the Growth Opportunity of Commercial Inkjet Applications


By Katie Fisher, Regional Sales Executive at XMPie and Scott Houck, Director of Business Development CXM Initiatives at XMPie

“Research shows that inkjet pages will have ‘the inherent benefits of digital printing’ – convenient, value, variable data, versioning, and just-in-time,”

– Marco Boer, Vice President of IT Strategies, speaking at Inkjet Summit 2023.

At last week’s Inkjet Summit, the message was loud and clear: Direct Mail and other commercial applications are transforming the world of inkjet, and there has never been a better time to jump on the bandwagon. As analyst Marco Boer reports, “Direct mailers are finding a resurgence in print, as social media advertising is being constrained in its effectiveness by tightening communication privacy laws. While also faced with higher paper and postage costs, the ability to better target prospects through versioning and more relevant (and sometimes personalized) offers is increasing the return on investment compared to static offset-printed direct mail.”

Right now, the ever-increasing quality of inkjet technology is converging with a global demand for shorter, personalized print runs. This beneficial ‘perfect storm’ represents a considerable growth opportunity for those commercial Inkjet printers that can differentiate their businesses to take advantage of this growing market.

On the demand side, the rising cost of paper, postage, and labor, along with sustainability considerations, are driving customer preference towards higher-value print in smaller runs with faster turnarounds. Since inkjet presses can print on similar substrates to offset but with attractive page costs, more pages than ever before are making their way from offset to digital and achieving a high return on marketing investment for each page is critical. Looking at the figures reported at the Summit, inkjet pages are set to grow from 5% to 35% in the next five years, but page value is set to rise from 25% to as high as 55%!

On the press side, inkjet technology is catching up with offset year after year. Inkjet presses are more productive and can print on a broader range of substrates. Even the cut-sheet inkjet presses, though not as productive as the continuous-feed models, are fast enough for commercial print with the bonus that many different applications can be printed on a single device.

If you have a modern inkjet press in your shop, you can only take advantage of this lucrative opportunity if your software stack and workflow can support the high print quality available from your machine. Many of the legacy/transactional composition solutions do not support this high-value graphic-centric work, but that is the sweet point where XMPie shines because it automates the production of high-volume data-driven print – one of the highest-value print applications – by extending the creative power of Adobe Creative Cloud – the global leader in creative design software.

XMPie retains the quality of the design in the variable data print stream and harnesses Adobe’s technology, including full graphic support and color management, as part of the composition process. It is as if each page was printed manually straight from the Adobe application precisely to the layout and quality the designer intended.

The world of print is a creative industry, not just a technical one, and in the XMPie-Adobe workflow, the designer leads the process instead of the programmer. Along with their design skills, they’ll use their understanding of how to drive the design with data and logic to treat every person in the campaign as an individual. This reliance on designers, rather than programmers, to operate XMPie is an essential evolution as Direct Mail and other commercial applications rely heavily on achieving impact with a measurable return on investment. Creative skills and personalization strategies are called for, and any designer familiar with the Adobe suite can be onboarded fast to manage the personalization workflow.

Yet in the world of inkjet, even exceptional design quality cannot come at the expense of speed and speed-to-correct. To process any high-volume job at high speed, XMPie leverages a high degree of concurrent parallel processing across all cores of a given server and, if required, can automatically scale up to use other extension servers within the processing cluster. Moreover, the resulting output stream (the PDF/VT file) is highly compact and efficient, saving time in communicating to the RIP. Again, since XMPie harnesses data and user behavior in real-time from within the Adobe application, post-design corrections to personalized documents can be made until the last minute, with no additional pre-processing requirements or conversion process.

In addition to maximizing performance during the creative workflow with an XMPie-Adobe combination, an efficient fulfillment process from order to delivery should be considered. Manual order fulfillment processes are unscalable, and print buyers’ needs, feature requests, and integration capabilities will continually change. XMPie’s eCommerce Web-to-Print solution, also integrated with Adobe design software, automates many costly day-to-day processes that bog down a print operation. These processes, including manual job submission, preparation, and production optimization, make it easier to take on more work and keep the presses fed and productive, even when staff is not on-site, to maximize the investment.

With an advanced web-to-print system, printers have choices and flexibility. They can grow at their own pace, add new stores, add capabilities, offer new products, and protect their investment. Rather than wasting staff talent on manual, repetitive chores, they can be reassigned to concentrate on higher-value creative tasks like complex design work, improving customer relationships, and selling more profitable services.

Across the globe, XMPie’s unrivaled personalization capabilities and end-to-end Adobe workflow are already helping inkjet-powered businesses automate their workflow, take advantage of data-driven commercial applications, and drive volume to their presses. If you want to diversify your revenue streams and grow your inkjet business, request a demo from your local XMPie rep using the form below.