Modern marketers are challenged to deliver materials “better, faster, cheaper, now!” When printing marketing collateral that equates to: high quality production, specialty papers, distinctive finishes, personalized messages, lesser budgets and tight (e.g. “we needed it yesterday”) timelines.

As early as five-years ago, offset printing, gang printing, black plate changes, generic messages and large print runs to inventory were the strategies to meet these demands.

Today, you can have it all with two steps. First, leverage advances in digital multi-functional printing devices. Second, employ marketing asset management software (AKA a web-to-print solution or Digital Storefront). These two things combined make high quality, on-demand printing and fulfillment of custom marketing materials possible.

Digital Printing Advancements

The first step to achieving it all is selecting in-house equipment or a printing partner with advanced digital production printing devices. Advanced digital printing technology allows for high quality printing, traditionally only achieved through offset printing. This includes accommodating specialty media, custom binding and advanced finishes such as aqueous coatings, color matching inks and even white ink. The equipment is also capable of executing variable data output for customized pieces.

These advancements make short runs of high quality, custom collateral affordable, or less expensive than traditional methods as you can print on demand with no large inventories and little to no waste.

Marketing Asset Management Software

The second step to having it all is selecting a marketing asset management tool, also referred to as web-to-print software or a Digital Storefront solution. This online software provides online intranets/portals to help organizations centralize, customize and distribute marketing assets and collateral.  If you are looking for a solution to control your printing budget,  this tool is the perfect solution, allowing  you to set individual budgets or entire facility budgets with no ability to exceed without approval.

This empowers pre-approved sales teams, field marketers, and partners to create custom pieces that adhere to all corporate brand standards by selecting from pre-approved templates and variable data. Creative files are auto-generated, eliminating the need for graphic designers to version materials and for brand managers to approve materials.

These online portals are also act as a storefront for promotional and wearable items, so your complete marketing store is in one centralized portal. User log ins can also be linked to budgets to assist in budget management.

Combining Technologies

Once you leverage an online portal for creating custom collateral, this can be sent to digital production printing shops or equipment in-house and printed on demand, quickly and seamlessly.

Simply put, you can have it all with digital printing on demand and online marketing asset management software. No creative bottlenecks and with high quality outputs. For a truly seamless experience you can also seek a partner to source and warehouse promotional items for a complete end-to-end on-demand solution.


Scott manages the digital print sales team and provides valuable service to our clients requiring outsourced printing and promotional items. He joined RJ Young in 2012 and has been in the industry for 16 yrs. Scott is originally from Fairview, TN and works out of our Nashville, TN office. In his spare time he volunteers for multiple charitable organizations in the Nashville area. 

The advent of the digital age created a complete change for the office equipment industry.  Up until the digital era it was not uncommon to find an office work area that included multiple analog devices that worked independent of the network.  As the roll out of digital products became available companies began to acquire separate copiers, facsimiles, scanners, and printers. This transition of new digital products began to open up the opportunity for the network to become the hub for all devices.

Products could now be connected to the network and all devices became integrated and were no longer just single function.  At the same time this transition was taking place, manufacturers began to produce devices that were termed all-in-one or Multi-Functional Devices (MFD).  These MFDs allow the office user to have one machine that would copy, print, scan, and fax.  This increased efficiency, reduced costs, and most importantly took less space.

Since the network was considered the hub, it was easy to see how with these devices now connected, other efficiencies became possible.  These MFDs now became more than just an output device but also became the on ramp for the network.  The end user in addition to copying and printing could now began to scan hardcopy files and transmit them through the network. This ability also increased the need for digital information management and a system to file, sort, and locate these digital documents.

With the total integration of products, the ability to move documents around the network, and software to manage the digital documents, we have seen business processes and workflow become very efficient.  Today’s office is experiencing less of a need to rely on hard copy output but more on digital output.  There has also been a shift to move documents to the Cloud which provides increased security and the ability to collaborate on projects.  All of this would not be possible if it were not for digital. Evaluate the use of the MFDs in your office. Are these MFDs being used as ramps to productivity and efficiency in the digital age or still only output devices.

Hunter McCarty – COO