Mail Still Matters


Well-known member
Mail Still Matters
Actually, mail has always mattered!

By Noel Ward, Editor@Large

What do you do when perusing the day’s stack of mail? You probably flip through it, toss the junk addressed to resident or occupant, and put the rest aside for closer inspection, even when you know some of it is not important. Chances are the stuff you kept—other than obvious bills and statements—was in some way compelling. The difference might have been color or size or thickness or some other feature that seized your attention.

Marketers have found that envelopes with a personalized or at least colorful messages are more likely to be opened than ones that bear only a basic name and address. This boosts response rates, not a bad thing. Eye-catching and compelling, color alone can get people in the door even when recipients know an envelope contains only a solicitation or marketing offer. One of the tricks is doing this with volumes that make sense for print providers, especially small to mid-size shops.

Color matters
One of the big changes in mail over the past few years is the addition of color on the outside of the envelope, usually to promote an offer or add a higher level of personalization. This can be more difficult for high-volume mail operations due to the speeds and volumes they run, but for smaller and lower volume operations adding color on the outside of envelopes can be a key differentiator. Adding color or a message to the outside on a plain envelope reduces the cost of pre-printing and inventory management. This is important because many print shops catering to local and regional customers have added direct mail to their repertoire of offerings and economically adding color on the envelopes can be a deal maker. It can also be challenging.

Several vendors offer the option of full color envelope printing, but few offer the speed and quality needed for moderate speed production. I’ve looked at several of these over the past few months but the one that made the most practical sense hailed from Quadient, a company that focuses on business process automation, enhancing customer experiences, parcel locker systems, and mail-related solutions. Quadient, by the way, is the rebrand of Neopost, which was already a serious player in the mail business.

Good things come in small packages
While the company has a variety of offerings, the one that caught my eye was a small 4-color printer designed with the mail in mind. I talked with Bill Longua, senior director of digital print at Quadient who told me about the Mach 6 a machine launched in 2018. Like an earlier device called the Mach 5, the Mach 6 brings a lot to the table for small and mid-size print providers who are looking to offer more than pre-printed #10 envelopes. It builds on the foundation of the MACH 5 and improves the customer experience with added functionality and up to 25 percent more throughput.

The Mach 6 uses Memjet® inkjet technology to print on envelopes and paper. The color is fine, as is its 1600 x 1600 dpi resolution. But being a fan of mail more compelling than a #10 envelope what sets this little device apart to me is that it can handle materials up to 3/8” thick. This can be a game-changer for direct mail marketing and packaging. For commercial printers, the Mach 6 can help them say “yes” to more jobs, expanding their short-run color printing options while increasing profitability and productivity.

To get a ground-level view I connected with Jack Ellis at Poste Haste Mailing in Annapolis, Maryland. Ellis had a Mach 5, the pre-courser to the Mach 6 but wanted the ability to run items of different thicknesses. He now uses the Mach 6 as a differentiator for his business.

“I take in jobs and have to find a way to do them, and this machine makes more things possible” says Ellis. “The Mach 6 lets me do things that I couldn’t otherwise do and take on business I’d have to refuse if I didn’t have this machine,” Being able to print with four colors on the outside of the envelope, he told me blank and often padded envelopes arrive and are printed with any exterior design required along with the name, address and postage indica, all in one pass through the Mach 6.

What makes this little machine a good fit for many small to mid-size shops—where space can be a premium commodity—is its compact size, just 33 x 22 x 22-inches, so it can fit on a worktable and also be connected to a conveyor-stacker. I was expecting mediocre speed, but it can run up to 8,000 #10 envelopes per hour. Ellis points out that speed can vary depending on media size and orientation. Although the Mach 6 can print 8,000 envelopes an hour in landscape and normal print quality modes, Bill Longua noted that running in portrait mode can make it easier to feed envelopes straight and allows printing to bleed off all four edges when needed.

I can think of several commercial shops as well as direct mail operations that should be looking at this small printer. All print in color on some rather pricey machines and this table-top device would give them one more arrow in the quiver and maybe even let some drop their minimum order size. And these days a few extra jobs makes sense for just about any business.
I have a Mach 6- and its great. I don't think its as ink efficient as it could be. The ink is expensive. $1200 for a full kit. Have you guys thought about making the ink more reasonable in price? You would sell more units. I would even buy a 2nd unit if the ink was about 45% less expensive. I will say my Mach 6 is considerably better than the 2 Mach 5's I had previous.

The ink is priced like a printer you buy at Office Depot. The printer is not real expensive but the ink is the "gotcha".


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