“For many, the mixed reality has become the norm.”
Fabian Nissen, responsible for corporate communications, in conversation with Joachim Glowalla, Key-Account Manager Digital Solution Eversfrank Group, and Axel Polei, Managing Director of Eversfrank Meldorf.
FN: Mr Polei, how significant is the digital transformation for the Eversfrank Group?
AP: It’s hugely significant. Before the rest of the world was even talking about digital transformation, the Eversfrank Group was already headed towards combining its core print business with digital communications. We transformed ourselves from what had previously been a traditional company with over 100 years of experience as a print service provider into an international media service provider. Our portfolio demonstrates the kind of media networking a modern print and media company is able to operate with - and ultimately also must operate with - today. For many people, the fusion between the real and digital world has become the norm. We are building on these new realities of life and incorporating all communication channels in our core print business. All companies in the Eversfrank Group work together across disciplines in this respect.
FN: And those companies would be?
AP: In 2011, our cross-media development began with the holding in the Comosoft company, a provider of PIM and media production systems. We expanded this area of expertise further with ppi Media, the IT specialists for publishers. The addition of Novadex this year represents an ideal step for us into one-to-one marketing and enables us to offer our customers individualised, cross-media marketing solutions exclusively from our own resources. This interplay between all the companies in the Eversfrank Group means our print products and digital IT innovations interact seamlessly. Starting with print media, this allows us to offer our customers a complete range of omnichannel communication. We call it ‘Omniprint’.
FN: Mr Glowalla, how do you manage this great potential in the group?
JG: As a media company, we look at the communication behaviour of the market, identify trends and consider how we can respond with our own services. This has resulted in a genuine corporate culture for us and one in which we also allow our customers to participate through our consulting expertise. While classic printers often simply specify an Excel file for their customers, for example in the case of variable data – we advise our customers extensively on the wide-ranging communication options available to them with our solutions. We invite customers to pilot projects and carry out innovative campaigns together with them.
FN: Can you provide us with an example?
JG: Sure. Let's just think about Internet advertising. Here, we recognised in recent years that online users have to contend with a veritable flood of advertising due to the low price of web advertisements. As a consequence, adblockers and spam filters are installed to shield them from this ‘information overkill’. We can close this gap between advertisers and ad recipients using our real-time printing solutions. Here, digital print makes it possible to retain the individuality of digital advertising and, in doing so, optimally combines print and one-to-one marketing. A specific example of this are our Drookies®. Highly developed systems gather data from online shopping basket dropouts and we print personalised, fully addressed web reaction postcards that are sent to the shopping basket dropouts by post within 48 hours. This can help increase order rates by up to four times.
FN: Mr Polei, in the new environmental statement, Eversfrank takes a clever line with print and digital content. How does it work in practice?
AP: Our new environmental statement is the best example of an efficient fusion between print and web media. Our readers can find all the editorially prepared content to browse through in the familiar print product. For all the hard facts, such as the exact ecological balance sheet, we direct readers to a landing page via our Eversfrank app. Here the reader is able to look up all the detailed facts and figures - all clearly presented. They simply need to scan the relevant image with their smartphone and they will be instantly sent to the requested content online.
FN: That sounds like expensive technology.
AP: Image recognition is actually one of the most elegant ways to move from print to the web. And we have even managed to implement this process at an affordable, industrial scale with the help of technology partners. This makes it possible, for example to interact with any one of many thousands of products presented in catalogues. Each product image in a printed catalogue thus directs smartphones and tablets straight to the relevant page in the online shop.
FN: Mr Glowalla, there are already two digital printing machines at the site in Preetz. I heard that they provide a further degree of cross-media fusion. How does this work?
JG: That’s right – digital and offset printing. This hybrid printing method enables solutions, for instance, that can make the local market presence even more specific to a given region. For example, using our global/local portal solutions, 10,000 travel agencies or 3,900 pharmacies can localise all catalogue covers to the respective region and, in doing so, place their own logos, addresses and photos of the local team. The aggregated cover pages of all local sales partners are then prepared using the hybrid printing method. The individual covers are prepared using digital printing and the static internal pages using web offset printing. We thus combine the variability of digital printing with the cost efficiency of web offset printing.
FN: In a few words, what role do you believe print will have in the future?
JG: Print will be a classic medium, tuned for the digital age.