Light Production Technology Removes Need for Print Shop

Do you currently outsource the printing of some or all corporate marketing materials? If so, it might be worth considering the alternative: printing these documents yourself. Today’s light production technology lets organizations affordably and efficiently print professional-looking marketing collateral.

This insight piece will discuss several key reasons why producing marketing materials in house might make the most sense for your company.

Light production technology is optimized for high-quality output

In the past, organizations may have outsourced printing to ensure top-notch quality. But today, affordable light production devices are available that can print attractive brochures, mailers, and other marketing material.

Premium output is enabled through color matching, calibration, and control technology (e.g., color control and matching systems such as Pantone) that goes beyond the capability of most office print devices. In addition, finishing options such as booklet makers let organizations create more complex, visually interesting, and informative material.

These capabilities are driving the types of applications being used on light production devices. Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends research shows that promotional material is most likely to be printed on a color light production printer.

Figure 1: Print volume share by application group for U.S. digital production color devices with 101K-300K duty cycle, 2017

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends

Source: Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends U.S. Digital Production Printing Application Forecast: 2015-2020

Light production technology gives organizations more control, confidentiality

When an organization outsources a project, it becomes highly dependent on the service provider to adequately complete the work. In other words, it is at the mercy of the provider to perform jobs in a timely, affordable, and high-quality manner. While many providers are up to the task, there’s always the chance they won’t be able to meet expectations.

By bringing the project in-house, companies have complete control over what is done, when it’s done, and how it’s done. They don’t have to balance jobs from multiple clients as is the case with print service providers. Instead, they can focus on their individual marketing materials.

In addition to controlling the project, organizations can help protect the confidentiality of their material. While much of it may eventually be made public, there’s likely a specific schedule for launching the marketing campaign. By letting a third party access materials ahead of time, the risk of this information getting released prematurely increases.

Light production technology becoming more affordable

Similar to office-class printers and multifunction printers (MFPs), light production devices have seen their prices drop over time. While this technology may have previously been too costly for some organizations (and small businesses in particular), it can now be purchased for not much more than a high-end office print device.

Keypoint Intelligence-InfoTrends estimates the average selling price of a 70 to 90 page per minute office color print device to be less than $25,000. This compares with $27,000 in 2017. The decline in prices helps explain why the installed base of these devices is projected to grow at a 43% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) through 2020.

Of course, the device purchase price is not the only cost involved with light production printing. In order to determine the total cost of in-house light production printing, an organization would also need to consider costs like ink and paper. It would then be wise to compare these costs with the cost of outsourcing print over time.

Key takeaways

  • By acquiring light production print technology, organizations do not need to rely on third-party print shops for the production of marketing materials.
  • In-house printing of marketing materials gives organizations more control while also improving the confidentiality of corporate information.
  • Light production technology provides print quality benefits over office-class printers, and acquisition cost benefits over higher-end production printers.

How In-House Light Production Technology Enables Personalized Marketing

Want to really catch the eye of prospective customers? Consider personalized marketing using in-house light production print technology. In other words, having a light production printer in your business gives you the ability to deliver unique messages to each potential customer. This blog post will discuss how that works.

Example of personalized marketing output


First, what is a light production printer?

Light production printers go beyond the capabilities of office-class printers to deliver faster speeds, higher duty cycles, wider media support, and more finishing options.

Common characteristics of these devices include print speeds of 70 pages per minute or higher, a duty cycle of between 101,000 and 300,000 impressions per month (for a color light production system), and support for heavier paper stocks as well as coated and uncoated stock.

How can light production printers create personalized output?

Light production print technology is capable of variable data printing (VDP), or the ability for visual elements (e.g., text, graphics, images) to be changed from one printed piece to the next without stopping or slowing down the printing process.

With variable data printing, a separate file is created as a text file, database file, or spreadsheet—depending on the particular variable data printing software being used. This file could contain a title, name, address, individualized graphics, prices, and any other specifically targeted message or text that will be inserted into a specified part of the printout.

In most cases, most of the output appears the same (called static elements), but the locations (or fields) slated for variable data differ in appearance.

What are the benefits of personalized marketing material?

Variable data printing provides a number of benefits over completely static marketing material. Individualized and targeted media gives customers the impression that a product or service is specifically aimed at their needs; response rates are generally higher with personalized marketing pieces.

What’s one challenge associated with variable data printing?

One challenge is that businesses must know something about the customer to really take advantage of deep personalization. That data could come from a customer relationship management (CRM) system, or third-party commercial database.

That said, just being able to put a name and address on a mailing piece is still a step ahead of just sticking an address label on a boilerplate mailing piece, brochure, or catalog.


By acquiring light production technology, your organization can create personalized brochures, mailers, and other marketing content via variable data printing. This type of printing can really capture the attention of the customer, helping you boost chances for increasing product awareness and/or generating a sale.