Perhaps before you clicked “buy,” you’d see a preview of expected output.
A Step Forward in Technology
This represented a serious step forward in technology. But more advanced systems would even let you create or edit the document via an online interface.
You might do something simple, like enter a name and address into fields to produce your own postcard. Or, at the other extreme, you could edit a “data-driven” document template, and manage the flow of data through it. This template type would ingest a database of recipients, and magically produce personalized content.
Pioneers in this field, such as Modern Postcard, would let users choose a template, edit it, and upload a data source (containing perhaps 100,000 targeted postcard recipients), then proof the dynamically-generated, template-driven output. This final step involved ordering a large print/mail job targeted to thousands, or even millions, of recipients.
Eventually, the industry converged on a typical workflow with two initial paths.
- Upload a print-ready file and order print and fulfillment, or:
- Edit a document from a template, then have it printed and fulfilled.
If you played roulette, loved steak, and liked jazz music, the targeted, one-to-one postcard you received would show exactly that…..
Response rates to such personalized content could be stunning—if everything aligned.
Web-to-print continues to evolve to this day, with the “web” side changing more than the print side. “Multi-channel” publishing was envisioned early on, but only now do we see solutions such as Canva and Figma that span both web and print output. Recent technological advances such as robust visualization of 3D products and publishing into Augmented and Virtual Reality are just a few of the exciting new frontiers.