Happy Holidays from directworx!

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Holiday Hours:

Open until noon on Dec 24th, and closed Dec 25th and 26th
Regular hours Dec 27th and Dec 28th
Open until noon on Dec 31st, and closed Jan 1st
Regular hours Jan 2nd onward

Have a wonderful holiday from all of us at directworx!

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BILLS, BILLS, BILLS! (and we love ’em)

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When describing the lines of business at directworx (Direct Mail Marketing, Bill Print and Distribution aka “billworx“, eGift fulfillment) I’m often asked how the billworx line of our business is performing now that everyone is going to eBilling. “Great question!” is my response, “we love that trend”. You see, the merit of our billworx product is not really in the commodity production and distribution of the bill but rather in the value of the bill image, thus making it “delivery-channel agnostic”. Let me explain…

Trust me, I’m (not) an expert

12 years ago we made the decision expand into the bill print & mail world as a natural next step for directworx. We’d already mastered variable printing, personalized messaging design, and certainly knew a thing or two about data programming for 1:1 marketing. So, armed with a strong IT team and encouraged by a certain enthusiastic customer we took the plunge into transactional mail. We’d been providing an array of direct mail services to this particular customer and had built strong bonds at numerous levels in the organization. But this would be different. There’s a whole other level of trust required for an organization to outsource such a critical aspect of its business…let’s face it, cash is king and an unhappy king usually means misery for the kingdom and nobody needs that!

After significant research and evaluation with an intentional focus on promotional messaging capabilities we selected a robust software language and platform on which to build our solution for this first billing customer. There were some notable complexities in our prospect’s billing data that in the beginning proved quite challenging (and a great testing ground – but that’s another story) so this platform needed to be flexible enough to handle some pretty ridiculous “spaghetti data”. Nevertheless, we worked closely with the software vendor and the customer to produce a proof of concept, met with VPs, presented to the CFO and finally won the contract. Soon after, we learned that the capabilities of the platform we’d settled on had been instrumental in our customer’s decision to go with us. They’d been as impressed as we were with the flexibility and capabilities of the package, including such features as dynamic messaging, eBilling and reporting.

Image is Everything

Although a steep learning curve, we were eventually able to generate timely, attractive bills that are user friendly, clear and contain relevant promotional images driven dynamically by the data and marketing rules. This, combined with the installation of enterprise-grade color inkjet printing technology that produces full color variable imaging, truly brought the documents to life.

eBilling was on our mind from the outset of this project as a Phase II that was soon rolled out. Calling upon the power and agility of our software, we built a process with a number of options ranging from attachment of the pdf image of our bill, to a simple link to an online “View My Bill” portal where that same image can be viewed, downloaded and paid online. Today, we send hundreds of thousands of eBills on behalf of our customers, the key being they all contain, or link to, a document image that clearly informs while tactfully promoting relevant offers.

A key to our success in this area was taking the time in the beginning to acquire the right technologies that would provide a high degree of branding flexibility thus producing effective bills. Our customer was thrilled at the branding exposure, a reduction of calls to their call center and noticeably quicker payment. In short they’d dramatically improved their subscribers’ bill/payment experience while improving cash-flow and sales!

The Lesson:

The true value of our billworx product lies in the bill image and how it improves the customer’s experience. How that image ends up in front of the consumer is simply a question of preference – a choice we’re pleased to offer!

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Tax Statements Made Easy

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Tax season is upon us again! If you’re currently working to send out your tax forms before the February 28th deadline, consider directworx. Our company processes invoices, payroll stubs and statements on a regular basis. During tax season we also process tax receipts, slips and statements (T4, T5, RSP, RIF, etc) for numerous clients. We have the expertise to get your mailing done securely, accurately, and on time.

From Data to Delivery

We have the technology and software to work with virtually all types of data, no matter where it’s generated. Whether your files are ready to print PDF, or raw data in need of a dynamic layout, we can work with you to ensure your job is created to your needs and specifications.

Accurate and Reliable Fulfillment

directworx can generate and print quality-control markings on every page of your document in the form of a 2D barcode, which ensures 100% output verification.

A sample T4 tax form layout, showcasing the two-dimensional barcode used for quality control.

The barcode on each piece is read by our machine upon insertion. This allows us to identify and fix any doubles or missing documents in a job, as well as mid-stream errors. Most importantly, each scanned piece is archived and tracked, so jobs can be audited at any time to confirm correct output.

A snapshot of directworx' DRS report, which records each barcode upon insertion, to ensure reliable, accurate mailings.

The Result

With our flexible data processing services and reliable insertion tracking, we can ensure your next statement job will go smoothly. Give us a call today to learn more!

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Bigger, Faster, Better Canada Post Neighbourhood Mail

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Coming January 2018:


Canada Post’s Smartmail Marketing delivers the brand experience directly to the mailbox, helping you reach and attract new customers like no other channel. Now they’re making they Neighbourhood Mail service even more attractive for brands who want to stand out and drive customer action.

Bigger, Faster, Better

Beginning in January 2018, Canada Post will increase the maximum size for Neighbourhood Mail pieces, to align with flyer industry standards. The new maximum for an Oversized piece is 12” x 11” (previously 9” x 11”) and the new thickness is 1” (previously 0.75”), up to 500g.

Canada Post is also getting Neighbourhood Mail to market faster, with a delivery cycle reduced to 3 days for urban and suburban addresses, 1 day to rural addresses.

Maximize Your Audience

Only Canada Post delivers to all 15.8 million addresses in Canada – including exclusive access to the four million apartments and condos in the country. That’s reach and coverage that’s 46% higher than community newspapers and 111% higher than daily newspapers. Neighbourhood Mail also reaches all 2 million addresses in rural Canada – often not served by other delivery methods. Grow your business by accessing all of these Canadian customers.

Stand Out From the Clutter

Protect your investment in seasonal and special events by ensuring your message is not lost in the clutter. With so many advertisers competing for share of attention in newspapers and flyer bags, it’s easy to get lost in the mix. Neighbourhood Mail gets noticed – in fact, nine in ten Canadians are most likely to read their mail the same day they receive it. What’s more, direct mail stays around the home longer; -advertising mail is kept for 17 days, on average.

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Build a Smarter Holiday Retail Marketing Plan

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Black Friday and Cyber Monday kick off the holiday shopping season each year, and attracts the most shoppers in stores and online. For consumers, the expectation is that retailers will have sales on these dates.

During the holiday season, consumers see double the amount of advertisements than any other time of year. It’s more important than ever to have a successful marketing plan and stand out from the competition. To create a smarter retail marketing plan:
– Creating Unique Content
– Engage Shoppers in Meaningful Ways
– Strengthen Relationships
– Maximize the Benefits of Peak Periods

Creating Unique Content

Consider something completely original that helps your brand stand out from the rest. The best campaigns will also articulate what you stand for as a company.

The outdoor clothing store REI wanted to create a campaign that separated themselves from the pack, and articulated what they stood for. Contrary to all other retail stores, they decided on Black Friday to give all their employees the day off. While losing sales on that one day, they also started a movement with social media integration, while creating awareness, interest and buzz.

Holt Renfrew launched a printed gift guide as part of a multi-channel campaign. The 16-page glossy book was sent to a select group of 5,000 “Icon Privilege” members. The tactile experience of the printed booklet is a favourite for their higher-end members, who often keep the book as a collectable.

IKEA created a hand-stitched direct mail piece for some of their more valued customers, encouraging them to sign up for their email list. The piece was incredibly engaging, a unique combination of digital and physical, and holds true to IKEA’s brand.

Engage Shoppers in Meaningful Ways

Utilizing Direct Mail, you can create a campaign that:

– Helps your brand stand out. Consumers notice, open and read direct mail.
– Triggers an emotional response. People respond to physical mail with an inspired mindset.
– Generates a lasting effect. Recipients keep, display and share direct mail marketing.
– Influences Consumer Behaviour. Direct Mail is proven to effectively drive action.

Social media can also help complement your Direct Marketing campaign. Consider creating a movement where everyone is involved. This will not only increase sales, but also pique interest and create a buzz. Sending specialized marketing to bloggers and influencers is another great way to drive brand awareness.

Strengthen Relationships

Understanding your customers is the first step in communicating effectively with them.

The customer journey begins with Awareness. These people are prospects, and the marketing objective is introductory in order to create awareness. A neighborhood targeted flyer or postcard will result in visibility and recognition, and drive traffic to websites and social media.

They then move to Interest and Consideration as prospects. The objective now is exploratory, and the customer is introduced to new products or sales. Catalogues and postal code targeting are a great way to create interest and encourage shopping.

Once the interest is converted to sales, they’ve entered the Purchase phase. Marketing messages should be geared towards promotions, such as coupons or flyers. Use offers to strengthen purchase decisions, re-engaging customers and inspire prospects.

Once Purchases have been made, campaigns should shift to Retention & Loyalty. These are your ideal customers. Marketing should be used to build loyalty, drive repeat business, and show your appreciation. Now that you know your customers, Personalized Targeted Mail can be utilized to deliver personalized messages and loyalty rewards.

Maximize the Benefits of Peak Periods

The Holiday Shopper:

A consideration for the holiday season is understanding the Average Shopper versus the Holiday Shopper:

Average shopper:
– most likely to begin as a casual browser
– makes multiple website visits before purchasing
– possesses affinity for particular brands

Holiday Shopper:
– more likely to search for particular items
– more likely to purchase on their first website visit
– are driven by inventory and price, and have low brand affinity

Holiday shoppers tend to make purchasing decisions quicker if the item is at a fair price. Campaigning to them requires marketing that grabs people’s attention immediately.

Segmentation Strategy:

It’s never too early to start thinking about your targeting strategy:
– Begin capturing postal codes of your current consumers
– Derive a new list of postal codes that look like your current audience
– Rank markets with higher customer penetration
– Target a radius or drive-time from your physical location

Also consider the Recency/Frequency/Monetary model:
Recency: The freshness of shopper activity
Frequency: The total number of recorded purchases
Monetary: The willingness to purchase, and total purchase value

Ready to get started? Contact directworx today!

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Design a Smarter End-of-Year Fundraising Plan

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October through December is always the busiest time of year for fundraising, with 50% of not-for-profits say they receiving a majority of their contributions in that time. Though it’s a great season to give, it’s also the most competitive. Canada Post processes 36% of its volume in Q4, and consumers view twice as many advertisement over the holiday season than any other time of the year.

This time of year, it’s more important than ever to stand out from the competition. To make the most of your holiday campaign, always begin with the Holy Grail of Marketing:
Right Audience, Right Message, and Right Time.

Right Audience:

Determining the ideal customers will let you know where to focus your marketing efforts. An important exercise to ensure greater donations, especially during the Holidays, is the RFM Model:

Recency: The freshness of the donor
Frequency: The total number of donations
Monetary: The total donation value

Other considerations include identifying high and low donation percentages in your database, or targeting postal codes that offer a high percentage of charitable donors. You can also leverage your donor’s characteristics to find similar audiences, based on the following information:

Demographic: Age, Annual Income
Geographic: Location
Psychographic: Lifestyle, Spending Habits
Behavioural: Connection to Your Cause, Previous Charitable Contributions

The more insight you have about your data, the easier it is to target “look-alike” donors with Postal Code Targeting.

Finally, don’t forget your top contributors. Typically, 90% of donations come from 10% of donors, so sending messages specifically for them will help keep them informed, engaged and feeling valued.

Right Message:

Direct marketing creates greater attention, heightened emotional engagement and strong brand recall. To ensure an effective end-of-year piece, consider utilizing the following words to prompt action and trigger an emotional response:
Special Reminder, Important, Official Issue
Immediately, Attention, Urgent, Requested
Please, Favour, Chance, Gift, Thank You

Different strategies can be utilized to engage your donors, including:
Giving Back: Thank your donors for their support through-out the year
Share Your Goals: Publicize your year-end goals and share it with supporters
Leverage Social Media: Feature your Social Media handle and utilize #GivingTuesday on campaign material. Also, showcase stories of fellow donors.

Right Time:

Giving Tuesday lands on the first Tuesday after Black Friday & Cyber Monday. It showcases the importance of not-for-profits, and the great work they do all year. It shifts the focus from getting to giving.

In 2017, Giving Tuesday falls on November 28. Engaging your donors in the fall will ensure you remain top of mind when they’re ready to give. 80% of donations generally occur within the first two to four weeks of a mail drop. Once you know your donation responses, timing your piece around Giving Tuesday can help maximize return.

Don’t forget to engage donors after Giving Tuesday as well. A thank you in the new year is a great way to follow-up with new donors. Recognition that people want to share via social media will also help create a new wave of engagement.

Why Donors Leave:

A big lesson for not-for-profits is understanding how vital communication is with their recipients. The following list adds up to 53% of why donors stop contributing:

Reasons Why Donors Leave


Create a Plan: Establish a clear objective, with your best target audience and a clear objective
Extend the Season: Start making your cause top-of-mind ahead of the holidays, and reinforce how they’ve helped post-season
Target: Ensure you have clean data, free from old and outdated addresses
Be Creative: Connect with your donors in a unique way. Make them feel good about supporting your cause

Ready to get started? Contact directworx today!

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Thunder Bay Case Study

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Thunder Bay Hydro is in charge of connecting the Thunder Bay area with electricity. They have also been a loyal customer for over 2 years.

We provide them with quick and secure services when it comes to printing and mailing their bills. With any questions, concerns or feedback, we are there as soon as possible to provide our assistance.

At directworx, we want to be known as a trustworthy print house that always meets our deadlines. On a regular occurrence, we meet our contract standards, and always tried to go above and beyond to help Thunder Bay get their bills out in the mail.

Linda Klukie, Supervisor – Billing & Settlement of Thunder Bay Hydro, says “Aside from meeting all contractual obligations we are very appreciative of their general expertise and knowledge of the printing business. They have time and time again been able to provide suggestions and guidance as changes have come into effect, assistance with creating notices and buck slips, and were instrumental in assisting us as we developed a back-up plan if a Canada Post strike was to occur.

“I would ask you to consider directworx for the bill print needs of your company and strongly recommend the services of this company, we look forward to working with directworx in the future.”

Contact us today to see what we can do for you!

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Buyatab Digital Gift Card Seminar

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On June 27th, our President Dan Schottlander, Product & Business Development Director Layne Gobeil, and developers Brian Lukas and Tony Mancini attended and participated in Buyatab‘s Digital Gift Card Seminar. They represented Directworx and were in a panel along with Roots Canada, Buyatab and the Gift Card Network.

For their presentation, they shared with everyone our eGift incentive fulfillment platform. This platform helps our customer offer rewards such as gift cards or coupons through an action such as loyalty programs and specials.

“The lively and relaxed settings made it a great opportunity to network and learn from great people. It was a great learning experience that can better us to benefit our customers,” said Dan. “eGift has been a success for our insurance, automotive and retail customers. We want to take our current knowledge and our new found knowledge to combine that to help further future business objectives customers have.”

Do you have an eGift mailing you would like to start? Contact us today and we would love to show you a demo of what we can do!

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RGB, CMYK, and Pantone Colours Explained

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RGB stands for “Red, Green, Blue”, and is the primary colours of light. Whenever you’re looking at an image on a screen (computer, smartphone, television, etc) you are viewing it in RGB.

When submitting artwork for print, it is okay to provide RGB images, as they will be converted to CMYK (see below) when printed. Please note however that the colours may shift between what you see on screen and was appears on paper.

The primary RGB colour wheel.

The red, green and blue primary light colours, combine to create white.

CMYK “Process” Colours:

CMYK stands for “Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black (or ‘Key’)”, and is the standard used on all offset and digital colour printers. Graphics are created by printing each colour over top of each other to create a composite colour image.

CMYK is generally used when dealing with full-colour images like photographs and colour layouts.

An image of a monarch butterfly, shown as CMYK separations, as well as a composite image.

The separate cyan, magenta, yellow and black colour plates (top) are combined to create a composite image.

Pantone “Spot” Colours:

Instead of combining colours via CMYK to create a composite image, a “spot” colour is a solid ink colour that is pre-mixed before printing. The press operator will match the colour to the Pantone Matching System, to ensure colour accuracy.

Pantone is an international standard, and this ensure that ANY printer using Pantone’s system can accurately recreate the colour required. Spot colours are generally used for things like logos and branding; solid colours that require consistency and accuracy. Spot colours can also be used in conjunction with CMYK colours when combining full colour images with branding/logo colours on a single layout.

Digital presses are unable to print pre-mixed spot colours, however most spots can be recreated almost exactly using CMYK.

Ink is being mixed to match a Pantone colour swatch.

The Pantone Matching System is being used to pre-mix the exact colour needed for an offset print job.

Colour Printing with directworx:

We utilizes digital press technology in-house, and we’ve also partnered with local offset printers, to offer a wide range of colour print technologies. Let us know if you have any questions; we’d be happy to meet with you and discuss the best approach for your next colour job.

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2017 Niagara Business Achievement Awards – Finalist

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Directworx is thrilled to announce that we are nominated for a Niagara Business Achievement Award through the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce!

The nomination is for their Technology and Innovation Award, along side, Clickback and The Violin Group.

Congratulations to all nominees! We are looking forward to celebrating with everyone tomorrow night.

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