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Digital presses can produce stunning special effects at affordable prices for marketers and brand owners. Enhancing print beyond CMYK is a growing opportunity, yet print providers struggle to sell it.
The addition of 5th Colour to digital cut-sheet printing devices has opened a new world of application possibilities, including:
 – The use of specialty inks, such as metallics, fluorescents, and white
 – In-line flood coating
 – Spot colours
 – An expanded colour gamut
 – Textured effects that capture attention
 – Added security with invisible inks
Embellishments enhance print’s value by improving its effectiveness at capturing a recipient’s attention. According to a 2019 NAPCO Research study, Adding Value to Digital Printing, 55% of 657 marketers surveyed prefer providers that offer printing enhancement options.
The prospect is there – a 2021 NAPCO Research survey shows that print buyers are using embellishments, and that there is opportunity to expand their use (Figure 1). The most-used enhancements are specialty and spot colours, and an expanded colour gamut beyond CMYK.
Figure 1: Print Customers’ Familiarity with Special Effects

Tips for Overcoming Sales Obstacles

Even though print customers are familiar with special effect techniques and prefer providers that offer them, obstacles to more widespread use persist. Key reasons marketers don’t use printing enhancements include beliefs that they are costly, take too much time to produce, or don’t improve results.
Overcoming those concerns is possible! Here’s how:

Highlight the value of print enhancements, rather than the features that produce them

Focus customer sales discussions on the benefits that enhanced print brings to customers (for example, a premium look supports branding, increased customer conversions, and better return on investment). Clients need to understand why they should invest in more colours, foils, or tactile effects. Base sales conversations on the specific results enhancements deliver relative to customer needs and expectations.
NAPCO Research’s Adding Value to Digital Printing study found that brand owners expect print enhancements and special effects to give their brand a premium look, capture attention, stand out from competitors, and enhance their image (Figure 2). This research finding identifies the value customers expect from print enhancements, serving as a guide to points to include in sales conversations.
Figure 2: Benefits Marketers Expect from Printing Enhancements

Identify and address all customer decision-makers

Identifying key decision-makers is critical in any sales situation. The difference in selling print enhancements is that there may be decision-makers beyond the core customer. NAPCO Research surveys indicate that the primary influencers in deciding to use special effects are often agency organizations serving the primary customer. Print providers participating in a NAPCO Research survey report that the key influencers of enhanced printing are marketing agencies, graphic design firms, creative directors, and advertising agencies (Figure 3). Since end customers are outsourcing decisions, this means printers must target, educate, and sell to both agencies and end customers.
Figure 3: Primary Customer Influencers

Educate and demonstrate the value of enhancements to prospects

When it comes to printing enhancements, seeing is believing! More than half (60%) of print providers participating in the Adding Value to Digital Printing report that samples are an excellent way to educate customers and sell enhancements to them.
Print providers interviewed for NAPCO Research’s study reported that showing customers samples of their jobs with embellishments was an effective sales tool.
Meanwhile, others let them try enhanced work first, without charging for it, to demonstrate its benefits.

Leverage available sales resources

Many vendors and suppliers offer educational programs and supportive services for production, sales and marketing employees.
Ricoh, for example, offers print samples to support owners of its RICOH Pro C7200X Series digital sheet-fed presses. The Art of the Blend booklet is designed to help printers sell the press’s enhanced print capabilities, and includes the following:
– Print application samples
– File preparation guide
– Sales tip guide
– Colour gamut chart
It’s clear that enhancing print with special effects offers providers substantial opportunities to increase sales, capture new customers, and strengthen relationships with their existing customers. Customer education and print samples play a leading role in demonstrating what is possible.
See what’s possible and make it a reality – learn more about our 5th Colour options and get ready to make an impact!