Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "2020 Print Industry Trends In the Age of COVID-19," reexamines print industry trends in the age of the coronavirus. The directives can help marketers and brands continue to get their messages out while cutting through the double-digit increases in online traffic amid the coronavirus lockdown.
Our Quote of the Day:
"Before printing was discovered, a century was equal to a thousand years."
-Henry David Thoreau.
We've presented many trend reports over the course of this blog, from digital to social media to print, human behavior traits, and more. However, we began this year by identifying technological advancements manifested in ways that can make an enduring difference in terms of the consumer and industry sectors.
That said, these are the trends driving marketing tactics and strategies in 2020, despite COVID-19.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
We have covered the Internet of Things (IoT) and what the future may hold in previous posts. The print industry has dramatically transformed as a direct result of IoT. Printing technology has become smarter. The advances have enabled commercial printing service providers to save resources and paper. Note: According to recent reporting, digital is holding its own, while other marketing mediums are facing a slowing of ad dollars.
IoT is responsible for bringing AI (artificial intelligence) to the game. It is the combination of AI and IoT that is changing the game. This double technology punch makes it possible for better personalization, increased breach warnings, and the ability to predict paper usage. These advances have changed the game and enable print to be competitive in a digital world.
Speaking of changing the game, the AI and IoT are reminiscent of football quarterbacks. Mike Vick was the first quarterback that could run, pass, and throw on the run. This years' Super Bowl has a quarterback in Patrick Mahomes of the Kansas City Chiefs, who represents the upgraded version of Mike Vick. Mahomes can run, pass, and throw on the run, and is already setting records in just his second season. Mahomes has changed the quarterback position, being more effective than his counterparts.
While coronavirus has increased internet usage, the FBI recently issued a warning regarding the use of Zoom, a video conference app that allows users to conduct online meetups. According to Wired Magazine, "Dennis Johnson fell victim last week to a new form of harassment known as "Zoombombing," in which intruders hijack video calls and post hate speech and offensive images such as pornography. It's a phenomenon so alarming and prevalent that the FBI issued a press release warning people of the threat.
Cyber criminality continues to rise and can attack anyone and everyone. The printing industry, like others, is not exempt from cyber malfeasance. Cybersecurity is a must-have for print providers who protect their print services and products. Securing sensitive data for customers is of paramount importance, and therefore care must be taken to implement cyber-secure programs to guard against tampering or hacking.
Document security needs to be front and center as the primary focus for the print industry, now and in the future. Commercial printers will benefit by ensuring a robust data security infrastructure. Printers who promote a secure data component as part of their offerings can extend to customers a higher level of security for critical/confidential documents such as HIPPA, ID cards, exam reports, and other sensitive information.
As the discussion heats up regarding climate change, the idea of a sustainable planet is generating a need for businesses to adopt an Eco-friendly mission. The print industry is also under pressure by consumer demands to incorporate Eco-friendly printing methods. One could assert that the 800-pound gorilla in the printing industry room is the acknowledgment of an environment that is becoming more unlivable by the day.
No longer are print sustainability methodologies viewed as optional. The Millennials and younger generations are keenly aware of the challenges earth's sustainability presents, albeit put forth in part by Greta Thunberg.
The good news, low-carbon printing capabilities are already underway. To that end, HP has taken the challenge of initiating low-carbon printing. The goal of HP's project is to reduce environmental impact. We will have to wait and see if other companies take up this initiative.
Consumer Eco-friendly conscious concerns will play a considerable role in mandating a boycott of the companies that fail to initiate Eco-friendly policies. As Australia burns with 2019 being the hottest year ever recorded, the planet's near term sustainability is set to increase consumer awareness, and thus will impact companies that fail to adopt an Eco-friendly policy.
The E-commerce Affect
E-commerce has been on the rise for several years, and now is a global trend in and of itself. You may be wondering why E-commerce is even on the radar as it relates to the printing industry. Believe it or not, print vendors can forge opportunistic growth in the E-commerce stratus sphere. Print companies that invest in and set up or partner with an e-store can offer consumers the opportunity to purchase print products online. A combined offer extended online, in print, and at brick and mortar can unlock a new base of customers. The larger the consumer pool, the higher the potential for sales growth. Therefore, any print provider who takes the E-commerce plunge will rise above competitors that fail to do so.
Print on Demand
Print-on-Demand has a trend of its own, and to that end, print on demand is rising more and more as each year passes. More importantly, more and more e-commerce store owners are partnering with print suppliers, investing in the E-commerce trend. What does this mean? The ability to print custom orders from your e-store will result in more profits from a new revenue stream. In addition, by offering print-on-demand services for e-stores, printers will increase the revenue stream.
If you notice, the iconic players in e-commerce are now inviting print-on-demand services as part of their e-stores offerings. Commercial printers should be frothing at the mouth to nail down a successful e-store that offers an installed base of customers.
Digitization has been on the scene for several years and is increasing in every industry. That said, the print industry as a whole lag embracing digitization as a competitive offering. Digitization provides methods that can streamline how customers access a print vendor and how they can perform certain functions, such as scanning and storing documents, using their smart devices.
Further, these customers can send their documents to print suppliers for print jobs whenever they need to initiate a job request. This process serves as a more efficient method that reduces waste while simultaneously providing the ability to print what's essential. More importantly, this digital method reduces the requirement for inventory management.
Immediate Reach In the Age of COVID-19
Under the coronavirus umbrella, emails and internet usage is spiking. With millions more now quarantined at home for more extended periods, the idea of being able to cut through digital clutter is much more challenging.
Brands and marketers alike should take advantage of print's direct mail capability. This form of marketing ensures that customers and prospects not only receive the messages but also sees and reads the marketing messages. On that premise alone, print's direct mail marketing is rapidly becoming more valuable.
These print industry trends are continuing to evolve. However, printers and marketers that are willing to step out of their comfort zone will find that these trends can make all the difference in 2020. Digitalization, AI, IoT, Print on Demand, eCommerce Integration, Print Security, and Print Sustainability, are all methods that commercial printing vendors can utilize to garner more revenue and increase brand equity.
Now, in the age of COVID-19, print becomes a highly valuable asset when it comes to delivering messaging content to physical mailboxes where those communications will be seen and read. We hope you enjoyed this article, and thanks for reading "2020 Print Industry Trends In the Age of COVID-19!"
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