Digital Dexterity

From: Ameen Kamadia

The steady progress of technology over recent years has opened some really interesting marketing doors for small businesses. Besides providing a whole new potential sales channel in the form of the Internet, technology has spawned a whole range of new products and services at costs that are easily accessible to small and medium businesses.

First, there's digital printing. The cost of high quality, full color marketing collaterals has decreased in proportion to technological sophistication. Not only can national chains such as FedEx Kinko's and FastSigns turn out amazing stuff, now you can shop across the country to get the best services at the best price. Upload your artwork through the Internet, and the finished product can be on your doorstep within the week.

You don't even have to go outside the office to print high quality pieces. Color printers are available that can produce high-resolution materials worthy of being seen by customers and prospects. Going in-house for some or all of your marketing printing gives you unprecedented control over cost and quality--the money you spend on buying or leasing the equipment will come back to you in savings on third party services.

Another advantage of today's digital dexterity is the ability to personalize your pieces. Mail merge has gone beyond simply first name, last name, and zip code. You can now print a 4-color brochure with whole paragraphs personalized to each recipient - along with customized pictures and graphics. Imagine receiving a full color flyer from your auto mechanic offering specials specifically tailored to you, with a picture of your car! Would that get your attention??

Digital dexterity combines electronic and hard copy printed matter in a number of forms. One of the coolest is the "business card CD-ROM," literally a business-card-sized disc that runs on a computer CD-ROM drive. Your business card (or other information) can be printed on the face of the CD, and you can have as much as 100 megabytes of information burned onto the disk.

The files can be self-launching, and, among other things, you can:

  • Include an offline version of your website.
  • Link to your online website.
  • Provide PDF versions of useful documents, catalogs, and marketing collaterals.
  • Include questionnaires, subscription forms, or registrations and can be filled out and submitted to you online.
  • Provide animation or video sequences for promoting your company's products and services that can be accompanied by music, sound tracks, and/or voiceover commentary.

Then there is the whole "on demand" arena. Gone are the days when you had to order a whole box of coffee cups or t-shirts in order to get branded merchandise. There are now online services that allow you to upload your artwork and order whatever type and quantity of branded product you want from their catalog of items. These services will also print and bind one copy (or hundreds, if you want) of a book for you, or create as many audio CDs (from your digitally recorded files) as you want--branded with your company name and logo.

These are a few examples of the breakthrough marketing opportunities that digital dexterity is offering companies today. There are a lot more. Technology has allowed firms to really ramp up their creativity in terms of how they interact with their markets.

Happy Originating!




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