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Ink or Toner: Does It Really Matter?

Quick quiz: which method of printing, color inkjet or color toner, produced the best response rate on a test of 10,000+ post-card direct-mail pieces? Doc knows what you’re thinking: “Who dreams up these studies anyway?”
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Written by Doc on

Quick quiz: which method of printing, color inkjet or color toner, produced the best response rate on a test of 10,000+ post-card direct-mail pieces? Doc knows what you’re thinking: “Who dreams up these studies anyway?”

Nonetheless, it is interesting to consider how a printing technique might affect response to a marketing piece. So that’s what the folks over at Interquest set out to discover in their recent free report.

The results are noteworthy, if not conclusive. The test was against an unknown toner-based printer and one from the inkjet company Riso (who sponsored the research), so we don’t know how applicable these results would be to other machines from other manufacturers.

But aside from the comparison between techniques, there’s some good info about color vs. black and white and some other broader bits of info, including cost comparisons. Here are a few highlights and yes, the answer to my first question:

  • More than 40% of the respondents believe that printing is the most effective media for business communications, and nearly 90% of all respondents prefer to receive full-color direct marketing materials.

  • Above and beyond response rate, two-thirds of the respondents indicate that the cost of printing is the most important criteria of a direct marketing campaign.

  • Inkjet produced cards generated about 4% fewer responses than cards printed with color laser equipment.

So there you go. Toner is the winner by a hair, and it’s a pretty thin hair. Lesson learned: color is the way to go no matter how you produce it.

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