Saving the planet…with personalised print?!

Over the past decade, I have spent time with one of the world’s largest trading groups, traditional and challenger media organisations and global manufacturers. With each company, we have worked together to personalise communications internally and externally. A stat we often used at Salesforce Marketing Cloud was “personalized email messages improve click-through rates by an average of 14% and conversions by 10%.” (Aberdeen, 2015).

People demand authenticity and straightforward communication from the companies they engage with. Instagram learned this in 2012 when it updated its terms of service after joining Facebook and received backlash via increased account deletions. It promptly apologised. That simple act reversed the account deletions and helped Instagram on its path to becoming a #SignificantBrand in my opinion. Significant Brands is a book by my former colleague Jeremy Waite. He explains his view on companies moving up the #SignificantBrands scale, starting from the bottom level: survival. I believe authentic, personalised and purposeful communications should be key to that evolution.

I often ask myself questions. After spending over a decade at technology giants, digitising day-to-day activities and communications, why move to a software company whose output is print? Well, I am now at a company where I can mesh together my desire to have a positive impact on the world and use the professional experiences described above.

Another question I often ask myself (thanks Peter Thiel) is “what important truths do very few people agree with you on?” Two of mine are that print is an effective method of communication, and we can help to save the planet with personalised printed materials. On the surface of things, most people wouldn’t think that saving the planet and personalising printed materials have anything to do with each other. Read on and allow me to explain…

We are the first generation that has the tools and data to understand the impact we’re having on the planet. Last year the United Nations stated Carbon dioxide levels in Earth's atmosphere reached the 'highest level in 800,000 years'. That’s why sustainability and reducing our impact on the environment is more important than ever. An increasing number of companies are aware of this and have integrated the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals into their own day-to-day goals. Not convinced by the CO2 stat? How about another. World consumption of paper has grown 400 percent in the last 40 years. Each year between 3.5 and 7 billion trees are cut down.

There is an increased focus on omnichannel campaigns and being where your customer is. With ever improving tools, marketers have new ways to merge print and digital. Each year double is spent on the print industry ($980bn) than the total software industry. In a world where we are constantly bombarded by multiple screens, the human attention span is now less than a goldfish - with only 9% of digital ads being viewed for more than a second. Merging offline and online is sensible.

If we can close the gap between the personalised but overcrowded online world and provide an offline experience that is personalised by printing locally and on demand, it will benefit us all. By reducing the amount of printed materials we’re shipping across the globe and the amount of paper in landfill because of overprinting, we’ll help to build a better future for the generations to come. Oh, and by doing so, companies around the world will in return get higher rates of engagement - so surely it’s a no brainer right?

For the sake of our planet, I hope a few more people will come to agree with my important truth.

About the Author
Leon is the Sales Director at Gelato Globe responsible for the DACH region. Before joining Gelato, Leon spent time in different sales and specialist roles at Microsoft and Salesforce. He has experience of working with global companies on digital transformation projects.