We’re taking carbon reduction seriously

Let’s reduce!

We’re excited to announce that Excel Digital has joined the Toitu carbon reduce programme to measure, manage and reduce our carbon emissions. Our goal is to become a carbon neutral business by the end of 2022. The Toitu carbon reduce programme is a structured programme that will provide us a framework for managing carbon and help us align our activities to ISO-140064. Our carbon journey is just beginning, and we are looking forward to sharing the value of this process with our customers and community.

Why carbon reduction?

At Excel Digital we understand that our individual decisions have a larger impact on those around us. In a fast-changing, warming globe we each have a role to play in reducing carbon emissions to contain global warming to 1.5 degrees. Not only is carbon reduction the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. Our aspiration is to be the most sustainable digital printing brand in New Zealand: carbon reduction forms a key part of our sustainability journey moving forward.

What this means

Carbon can be an allusive thing to measure. What actually is carbon reduction and what is it not? We are beginning our reduction journey by first measuring our current footprint and then creating a plan to actively reduce our impact. For our customers this means we’ll be able to provide a clear picture about the impact of working with us and work towards shared sustainability goals.

Get in touch

If you want more information on our carbon reduction programme and what this means for you then please do reach out! We’d love to talk to you about our sustainability journey.

Email: info@exceldigital.co.nz

Phone: 04 499 0912

Achieving a 91% open rate with direct packaging and email marketing


Supercharging direct mail for tangible marketing results

Late in 2020 the team at Excel Digital set about to prepare a new business campaign. We wanted to target business owners of highly successful real estate franchises to book a first meeting. We’ve known for a while that combining direct mail with email marketing is a powerful strategy for generating marketing cut-through. But even we were surprised with the success of this one!

The concept

The concept was to create a personalised appraisal package for real estate business owners. In doing so we used what they do to describe what we offer. Everything was personalised from the appraisal box itself down to the appraisal letter, marketing flyers and notepad inside the box. We chose to start with physical media, as email marketing alone was never going to achieve the cut-through that we needed.

The objectives

  • Get noticed
  • Book multiple meetings
  • Have fun and be cheeky

The campaign

The personalised appraisal boxes were delivered via courier to recipients. One week after the packages were sent, each recipient received a personal phonecall from a salesperson following up if they received the box. The package provided a great reason to communicate. One week after the phone calls were made, we followed up with an email marketing campaign from the salesperson to each recipient.

The results

  • 91% open rate on email marketing campaign
  • 75% click-through rate
  • 18% of recipients booked a first meeting
  • We were noticed – every recipient had kept the box


  • Humour is great – be cheeky and you’ll get noticed
  • Speak to your audience in their own language – it builds empathy and shows you’re interested in them
  • Combining marketing channels in the right way can get phenomenal cut-through

Direct packaging – a new marketing channel

The biggest outtake for us was that print is a fantastic way of achieving marketing cut-through in a cluttered, digital world. Beginning with print provided a great reason to follow up and have a conversation: “did you get the box?” While ‘direct mail’ is an age-old concept, ‘personalised direct packaging’ is relatively unexplored. While more expensive to execute, recipients are more likely to engage when they have a personalised package delivered to them via courier rather than a stuffed envelope arriving in a crowded mailbox. ‘Personalised direct packaging’ is much more likely to end up in the hands of right person and achieve the cut-through that marketers are chasing.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in knowing more then please reach out and get in touch. Digital printing allows for small runs of personalised direct packaging. It’s a new channel well worth exploring.

Phone: 04 499 0912

Email: info@exceldigital.co.nz

Launching the Iridesse!

We’re excited to announce that we’ve recently installed Wellington’s first Iridesse Digital Printing Machine. The Iridesse is a gamechanger for Excel Digital customers as it is a single-pass production machine enabling the production of fluorescent and spot colours. This includes silver metallics as well as a stunning toner-based ‘white ink.’ The Iridesse is perfect for high-end design jobs that just need that extra ‘ping factor’ or your elusive pantone colours that have been hard to match.

Why we’re investing in digital print

Digital print is a major growth area in the printing industry and provides maximum flexibility for customers. We’re continuing to invest in digital print so we can bring the latest technology and capability to our customer base. The Iridesse further increases Excel Digital’s production capacity as one of New Zealand’s largest ‘cut-sheet’ digital printing companies.

Here are the top 5 things about the Iridesse that we love about the Iridesse:

  1. Printing white
  2. Metallic colours
  3. Higher resolution print (up to 2,400 x 2,4000 DPI)
  4. Larger sheet size (up to 1200mm long)
  5. Thicker stock types

Unlocking the power of colour

These five areas create a world of possibility for Excel Digital customers. Here are some things that customers can now do with the new capability the Iridesse brings:

The power of white

Traditionally printing white inks or toner has been hard to achieve. Not many production machines have had this capability. White can be an effective shade to use, particularly on a dark coloured stock or a craft-looking paper.

Achieving new spot colours

Spot colours are specific colours with a designated ‘Pantone’ number. The increase in tcolour options that can be used in a single print run now unlocks Pantone colours that have previously been difficult to get right.

Unleashing metallics

Metallics are generally extra colours like silver or gold that are added at the end of the production process once paper has been printed. This requires an extra finishing process such as foiling to add the colour. Excel Digital customers can now print metallic colours as part of the single-pass production process providing a quick, cost-effective way of reaching these colours. With the combination of white toner, metallic silver and CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow and Black) Excel Digital customers can now print fluorescent colours across a huge colour range.


Here are some of the applications of this new technology to get you thinking:

  • Personalised packaging
  • Thicker business cards
  • Banners up to 1200mm
  • Labels
  • Wedding invites
  • Corporate gifting
  • Event invites
  • Calendars
  • Booklets
  • Flyers

Get in touch

If you want to know more feel free to get in touch with us. We’d love to talk through what you can achieve using the Iridesse and plan your next project together.

Email: info@exceldigital.co.nz

Phone: 04 499 0912

Welcome to the family Courier Post

We’re excited to share that today (1st October 2020) Excel Digital is moving courier delivery to CourierPost. This is a change which we believe will deliver significant extra benefits to our customers. These benefits include:

  • Increased ability for system integration and automation for our customers
  • Increase in system and technology options across the supply chain
  • Increased reach and scale using New Zealand’s largest delivery network delivering to over 1.94 million delivery points. This means:
    • The ability to deliver to Post Office Boxes
    • The ability to deliver to Private Bags
    • The ability to deliver to 220,000 rural addresses using the CourierPost network rather than rural delivery through a third-party provider
  • Ability to track rural parcel deliveries with 24/7 access to online parcel tracking for all parcels
  • Removal of penalty charges for unmarked rural deliveries
  • Removal of all residential delivery surcharges
  • A commitment by our courier provider to sustainability including a commitment to being carbon neutral from 2030 and on-going investment in their electric vehicle (EV) delivery fleet

We look forward to bringing these increased benefits to our customers. Please let us know if you have any questions.

Phone: 04 499 0912

Email: info@exceldigital.co.nz

Highlights from the Excel Digital – Perception Group Merger

Celebrating Excel Digital’s First Birthday

On the 2nd of September we celebrate our ‘first birthday’ – it will be one year since the Excel Digital and Perception Group merger. As the saying goes ‘time flies when you are having fun!’ We want to take this moment to thank all of our customers for being with us on our journey so far. Here are some of the highlights from the last 12 months, some thoughts on what the COVID-19 process has taught us and some insights into what is coming next.

The highlights

There have been two standout highlights over the last 12 months: the first highlight has been offering our customers so much more as a combined business, and the second has been the shared energy we’ve experienced as a larger team. Many of our customers are now benefiting from system improvements or making use of a wider range of printing services. We’re now a much larger team, in fact we are now one of the largest ‘cut sheet’ digital printing companies in New Zealand. For a list of our services please check out this link. 

What the COVID-19 process has taught us

It’s an understatement to say this year has brought a lot of changes to the way we all work. One of the learnings from the COVID-19 process has been to re-assess how we stay in touch with our customers. Our tagline as a business is ‘together, let’s excel’ and we really want to live up to that through the way that we communicate with our customers. As well as the value of communication, COVID-19 has emphasised for us:

  1. We should value each day and not take things for granted
  2. The value of family
  3. We can get through things together

Where we are heading

Over the coming months Excel Digital customers can expect to hear from us more often as we commit to improving the way we service our customers and communicate. You can also expect to see further improvements to our customer-facing systems. As always, we would love to receive feedback if you have any suggestions for how we can improve things for you or your organisation.

Feel free to reach out to us in whatever way is easiest, whether that is through an account manager you work with or through the following means:

Email: info@exceldigital.co.nz

Phone: 04 499 0912

Paper is a sustainable choice

Paper is a true renewable resource and can be a sustainable choice for those wanting to ‘go green’ or reduce their environmental impact.

Paper is a true renewable resource and can be a sustainable choice for those wanting to ‘go green’ or reduce their environmental impact. Around New Zealand many companies have joined the paperless office trend. There is an implicit assumption that digital media is more environmentally friendly than print. At Excel Digital we see paper as being part of the environmental solution rather than the problem. Here are some pointers that will help you disseminate fact from fiction and enable you to make informed choices about your paper use.

Paper pointers

Here are a few facts showing how using paper can be an environmentally friendly choice:

  • Paper is one of the most recycled products in the world
  • Paper is made from wood, a truly renewable resource
  • Forest certification ensures we can make informed choices about the paper we use
  • The paper products and printing industry is one of the lowest industrial greenhouse gas emitters

The impact of choice on our environment

As consumers and businesses, we have the power of choice. Choice means that it is us who have the power to influence outcomes around us. Businesses can choose to adopt sustainable practices, and consumers can choose to make environmentally conscious purchasing decisions. Choice becomes the key to answering whether we should adopt digital media over paper. Rather than favour one above the other, the answer lies in choosing a product or provider who has a sustainable mindset and is focused on reducing their environmental impact. Like any industry the printing industry is conscious of the impact its practices can have on the environment.

Checklist for choosing a sustainable print provider

Here are some questions to ask when choosing a print provider:

  • Do they have an environmental policy?
  • Do they actively engage in practices designed to reduce their environmental impact?
  • Do they have environmental accreditation?
  • Do you know where their paper comes from and does their paper have environmental accreditation?

Excel Digital and sustainability

At Excel Digital we only select paper from suppliers who demonstrate their paper is from renewable resources. We are committed to reducing our environmental impact through waste reduction and through adopting sustainable practices. Our production facility engages in large scale recycling of production materials and products. Excel Digital is also an Environmark Gold Certified Partner.

Further information

For further reading on the positive impact of paper on the environment please consider the following article:


National fundraising – A changing landscape

Nonprofit fundraising in New Zealand.

Recent discussions I’ve had with nonprofit organisations across New Zealand show that the fundraising landscape in New Zealand is changing dramatically. The landscape is changing but the principles of fundraising are not. Donors are still willing to give time and money to make an impact in the lives of others and society in general. What is changing is the way donors expect nonprofits to communicate and interact with them.The strategic challenges facing nonprofit organisations include:

  • Rising costs of postage in a world where posted direct mail has been the backbone of fundraising success
  • Financial institutions ceasing to offer and process cheque payments which have traditionally been a major channel for fundraising donations 
  • General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) impacting how nonprofit organisations gather, store and use donor data and information 
  • Rising ages of donors revealing that nonprofits have a majority donor base of older donors and struggle to attract younger donors 
  • Capturing all interactions with contacts to convert them into donors 
  • Conversion of current one-off donors into regular givers using direct debit processes 
  • Communicating with donors in the right way using the right channels in a multi-channel, physical and digital environment 

Nonprofit organisations must align their marketing and fundraising strategies with donor expectations. Donors expect to:

  • Know how their personal contribution is connected to the impact an organisation has 
  • Be thanked and acknowledged for their personal contributions
  • Understand how to make payments in the most convenient and secure way possible 
  • Be assured that their personal information is kept secure and safe 

Nonprofit organisations require strong marketing and fundraising strategies to deliver these outcomes for donors. While the landscape can look confusing and challenging, attention to the fundamentals of marketing communication will stand nonprofit organisations in good stead to deal with these challenges. Here are some pointers to ensure fundraising success:

  1. Be inquisitive – know your donors, understand who your donors are, how and why they donate and what their donation patterns are 
  2. Be human – address each donor individually in the right channel in the right way and let them dictate their own fundraising journey 
  3. Be engaging – communicate with your donors on an ongoing basis and don’t make it all about fundraising 
  4. Be thankful – thank each donor personally for their individual contributions 
  5. Be transparent – show donors how their personal contributions are creating impact

To deliver these for donors nonprofit organisations must leverage technology and automation. An automated approach allows nonprofits to deliver, track and measure fundraising communication activity.

For strategic advice on national fundraising please feel free to get in touch:

Jono O’Grady

+64 27 811 8286

Case Study – Helping Dementia Wellington drive donation revenues

Perception Group helps Dementia Wellington increase their donations by 14% through a personalised cross-media campaign.

The Challenge

Dementia Wellington is a not-for-profit organisation that supports people affected by dementia in the Wellington Region, along with their family and friends. It also offers education on brain health and the effects of dementia to community groups, businesses and the wider public.

A large portion of Dementia Wellington’s funding is raised through donations and public appeals. To support this, Dementia Wellington posts quarterly newsletters containing donation requests to previous donors.

Dementia Wellington wanted to bolster their donation efforts from traditional marketing strategies by adding a new element to their campaign. However, they also needed to ensure that any changes to the campaign were cost effective as well as maximising returns. Additionally, they wanted to track true results, which is something they struggled to do in the past with their standard methods.

How we solved it

Perception Group partnered with Dementia Wellington to create, build and execute a multi-channel campaign to increase the number of donations received, increase the average amount of donations received and increase campaign return on investment. The campaign was a multi-channel communications campaign with e-mails, Personalised URL (PURL) landing pages, a payment gateway and personalised, printed direct mailers.

The campaign had two elements: one group of donors received the traditional direct mailer. For the second group, a personalised, targeted email was sent with a message that directed respondents to a Personalised URL (PURL) that displayed personalised copy and imagery.

The results

The number of donations received from people who were recipients of the digital campaign was 14% higher than for a traditional direct mail campaign. Additionally, the average donation value per donor was 48% higher.

To read a complete case study of this campaign, go to: perceptiongroup.co.nz/case-study-dementia-wellington.pdf

A marketer’s most valuable tool – a printable whiteboard

Gather together a whiteboard, plenty of coffee, a group of people with open minds and some free time and you have the ingredients for so

Yes, I know. The image that’s accompanying this post has absolutely nothing to do with the title of the post. But if you read my previous post, you’ll see that I have recently taken a dislike for stock photos and have made a decision to only ever use photos that I’ve taken. As I can’t find any photos in my collection that relate to whiteboards, I thought that I would use this instead. I took this photo whilst cycling in Palmerston North recently. It tickled my fancy.

Anyway, back to the topic…..

Any marketing professional worth their salt will always present their clients with fresh new campaigns, not cookie cutters from previous marketing activities. Yes, you must always learn from your past experiences – what worked and what didn’t – but it would be a huge mistake to assume that a campaign strategy that worked for one client will work for another.

Even slight differences can ensure that a campaign that has previously been wildly successful at one moment in time, turns out to be an embarrassing flop when it is regurgitated to be used elsewhere.

However, it is an arrogant marketer who believes that at the click of their fingers they can come up with marketing campaigns by themselves without assistance. An effective marketer will draw on the expertise and inspiration of others So, go ahead and gather together a whiteboard, plenty of coffee, a group of people with open minds and some free time and you have the ingredients for some impressive creativity. You have a workshop!

A workshop is truly an ideal way to come up with the spark of an idea for a marketing campaign.

Putting it simply, a workshop is an opportunity to harness the power and creativity of a group of people in an environment where there is no hierarchy and minimal control. In a perfectly run workshop there are no egos, no agendas and no cliques. Of course, reality can get in the way of perfection, but that doesn’t mean that you cannot strive for it.

There are rules around how to run a workshop, but this post is not about that. There are plenty of blogs that will help you with this.

You should not seek to walk away from the workshop with a fully crafted and scripted campaign; you’ll just be setting yourself up to fail. All you should try to achieve is a theme, maybe some key-words, some imagery, some challenging thoughts and possibly a rough map of how a journey may look. If you can achieve all or some of these, you should consider your workshop a success.

Who should you invite to join you in a marketing campaign workshop? The simple answer is anyone. They could be a colleague, your client, a designer, a techie or even someone from the shop next door. What you are seeking are ideas and ideas can come from anyone.

Who shouldn’t you invite to join you in a marketing campaign workshop? Again, this answer is simple. Anyone who is negative, anyone who is likely to belittle people and anyone who is not open to listening. In other words, anyone who will likely sabotage your workshop. There is no room for them.

We always workshop ideas for our clients, regardless of how straightforward a campaign may appear. You are always seeking that extra spark of creativity and something unique and a workshop is an ideal way to get this.

And the printable whiteboard? This is an absolutely invaluable tool to ensure that all the gems that you have captured do not disappear when you leave the room and go back to your daily routines.

Our Changing World – isn’t technology great?

The impact of technology on the way we communicate, collaborate, learn and think has been nothing short of game-changing to the world of marketing

I’ve spent the last couple of days at the 2018 Industry Training Federation (ITF) Conference. The theme for this year’s conference is “Skills in a Changing World” and the focus is on how learning and education in New Zealand is changing and will continue to change and that educators and the government need to embrace this change.

The conference has several big-hitter presenters, including Chris Hipkins, the Minister for Education and MPs Paula Bennett and Shane Jones. I have to congratulate Josh Williams, the CEO of the ITF, for bringing together so many inspiring speakers, including a key-note speaker, Dr Soon Joo Gog from Singapore, who has the wonderful job title of Chief Futurist.

It has been fascinating listening to the panel of experts discuss how the world of education has changed so rapidly over the past 20 years and how the rate of change is accelerating at an ever-increasing speed.  And it has been heartening to hear how people in the room are welcoming the changes to come.

Having time to do nothing but listen and learn is very rare for me, so it has got the creative juices flowing. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how marketing has changed over the years and the influence of technology on this change. When I did my degree many years ago, the marketing bible was Kotler & Armstrong’s ‘Principles of Marketing’ which preached about breaking down the barriers towards reaching your target audience. (It’s interesting to see that this book is still going strong and is now in its 15th edition).

I believe that this basic premise of marketing has not changed over the years. At its core, marketing is about placing your product or service in front of your target audience in a way that they welcome it. It’s also about removing any barriers, physical or otherwise, that could prevent them from viewing your product in a positive light. This is the same today as it always has been.

However, although the fundamentals of marketing are unchanged, there has been a revolution in marketing over the past 20 years or so. The impact of technology on the way that we communicate, collaborate, learn and think has been nothing short of game-changing to the world of marketing.

For me, one of the most notable impacts is the ability to aim marketing messages directly towards specific groups of people and to adapt the marketing content to suit each unique person. This marks a turning point in marketing. No longer do you need to waste your marketing budget on the spray-and-pray techniques of the past and hope that something will stick. You can now design your marketing message directly for those  you know are more likely to buy your product, with a unique message that resonates with them.

And once you have developed that connection with a person, todays technology enables you to strengthen that relationship and even leverage off it to connect with their friends and peer groups. You know that you have done a good job when your marketing messages go viral.

What am I, a marketing professional, doing at a conference on education? Perception Group is a supplier and partner to most of the Industry Training Organisations at the conference and we are a conference sponsor. So, I’ve had the privilege of representing our company at it. It has been a real treat for me.

BTW – Lately I’ve developed a dislike for stock photos, so from now on will always use my own photos in my blog posts whether they are relevant to the topic or not (far more interesting). The feet in this photo are my own. At the time the photo was taken I was having a rest after having cycled into the Tararua Ranges near where I live.