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7 Print Marketing Trends on the Rise in 2021


Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "7 Print Marketing Trends on the Rise in 2021," brings to light several trends taking place in print marketing that is increasing and is set to become the go-to print marketing solutions for 2021.  Many commercial print houses understand that variable digital/data printing coupled with direct mail marketing has already risen in value over the last couple of years, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The unintended consequences of online consumer and commercial purchases experienced an increased reliance on digital communications and changed behavior.  In addition, this increase in digital communications has contributed to the overcrowding of internet speeds and access due to multiple lockdowns in 2020.  Most notably, consumer behavior has also changed, and it is unclear at this time whether or not consumer behavior will return to pre-pandemic levels.

Further, recent reports by many in retail, including the food and beverage sectors, indicate that consumers are now very comfortable ordering everything online, from retail goods to delivered groceries.  Many fear this behavior is here to stay.  When one considers that many brands report that a significant number of users that they target via digital marketing do not see or miss the content, brand marketers have no choice but to use alternative mediums to help them deliver their objectives.

Our Quote of the Day:  "It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change."
– Charles Darwin

Separating Your Brand from the Pack

Print media's rise in value is a testament of sorts to the technological advancements that elevate print to a digital-first creation process.  As a result, printed collateral elevates direct mail marketing recipient experiences to a much deeper level with engagement, ultimately triggering increased response rates.  Consumers that receive direct mail are awarded a truly visual and tactile experience, in that stunning visuals, creative textures, and the smell of ink make your printed piece rise above the one-dimensional experience of a digital monitor.


Direct Mail Campaigns

Direct mail campaigns represent one of the most effective methods to target new customers, if not the most effective tool in the marketing toolbox. Why?  Consumers enjoy being able to read and discern the messages and calls to action in the privacy of their own space, unencumbered by the distractions and clutter of the digital environment.  Direct mail marketing is an excellent choice for reaching both inactive customers and existing customers alike.  In addition, direct mail is both efficient and cost-effective, which can also provide customized, and personalized creative designs that raise your brand's value in the consumers' eye.  Direct mail marketing campaigns are forecast to continue the upward trend in 2021, highlighting its ability to deliver on its effectiveness.

Mailing Lists 

Mailing lists represent a considerable advantage when it comes to increasing brand exposure in any community.  With so many people displaced and experiencing economic and pandemic pressures, brands may need to update various mailing lists to ensure that they can still reach consumers and targets alike.  We know that many businesses, including healthcare, financial, retail, education, restaurants, and technology sectors, have consistently offered specialized coupon sales targeting residents for more than three decades.  The beauty of the mailing list is that a list makes it a breeze to create custom, personalized print collateral that can effectively target specific demographic groups based on age, education, ethnicity, income level, purchase history, and lifestyle.  Request for mailing lists will soar throughout 2021.

Shimmering Is Rising

You may have noticed some print collateral where parts of it appear to be rising off the page, while others highlight brilliant metallics.  In addition, new textures and finishes give new life to print collateral.  As well, print has been appearing in 3D treatments as of late.  This print process is known as shimmering.  Shimmering is one of two print production techniques that are forecasted to trend upward throughout 2021.  The shimmering technique is a multi-part process that can create a unique 3D effect, highlighting one or more areas of a print design, which is how the result enables the ink to rise and stand out from the rest of the printed page.  Shimmering is becoming a game-changer when it comes to garnering attention, regardless of the business sector.


The larger commercial printing organizations, more often than not, actually start with a single discipline.  Examples include a small printing facility, a printer with a copy focus, or a mailing company.  Initially, the startup may have a single direction, but given the opportunity, it will often venture into other areas.  These areas include MLOCR, automated presort, variable digital printing, secure data lifecycle management, digital scanning, marketing assistance, and additional print support and solutions, ultimately evolving into a fully functional commercial print and mail facility.

Further, when looking at the most successful commercial print shops, most have expanded their print services to include digital marketing.  Look for these commercial print organizations to increase their revenue goals and rise in competitiveness across the board.  This trend will continue throughout 2021, in part due to the pandemic that has many consumers still spending more time inside versus outside.

Print Ready Artwork 

Print-ready artwork has always been a challenge over the years.  In the absence of print-ready artwork, commercial printing can take longer to finalize and ultimately deliver.  Brands must allow for pre-print production if the artwork is not ready to print.  However, thanks to the invention and advancement of technology, print-ready artwork is now faster and easier to generate.

Too many instances over the years have placed designers in a position of having to wait because the artwork pixelated, was grainy, or was delivered with poor resolution.  Today, the most desired image sources are provided in high-resolution and work within the Adobe Software Suite, such as Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or Photoshop.  In addition, newer smartphone technology and advanced camera systems make it quicker and effortless for even novice designers to submit print-ready artwork for commercial printing, thereby shortening the overall design time.  The print-ready artwork initiative will also rise throughout 2021.

Laser Cutting & Die Cuts

Laser cutting is growing exponentially.  This technique offers an eye-catching effect similar to shimmering.  However, this process is far more intricate, which bodes well this year.  2021 could be a breakout year for laser cutting.  Laser cutting is growing in popularity across a wide range of print collateral demands. This printing process is a boon for creating invitations, new product launches, brochures, flyers, postcards, and special events.  Further, the laser cutting process provides printers a way to outline even the most challenging designs resulting in a unique textured effect.  When the laser cutting process is complete and finished with either gold or colored foil, laser cutting can deliver an upscale, elegant, stylish, and expertly finished product.

The Environmental Factor

Paper waste is a genuine concern for the printing industry and has been for years.  Environmentalists have been clamping down on waste and offensive materials that can cause harm to the environment. Paper waste is an area that all commercial printers have to deal with, and it does represent a cost to doing business in the print world.  Consider this; a single print job produced via a high-speed copier or digital print press can deliver up to 50 sheets of paper waste.  And we haven't mentioned the amount of wasted ink.

The process of ink mixing and setting the rollers or die sheets can typically demand multiple test runs. To meet environmentalists' demands for less waste, the commercial printing industry has taken a more concerted effort to address the issue.  As a result, several ingenious ideas about repurposed scrap paper have risen to the forefront.  Paper providers are now creating paper rolls that come in various sizes and shapes to reduce excess cutting.

Inks and toner cartridges are also culprits the environmental movement is looking to curtail or significantly reduce.  To meet these challenges, recycling inks, toner cartridges, and various print by-products are in the mix to further reduce waste.  A good number of commercial printing infrastructures are also set to invest in in-house recycling centers throughout 2021.

The Net-Net

Trends are what they are, and they arise out of conditions on the ground.  The trends discussed here will change, get updates and shutter as new ones appear and time marches onward. That said, marketing teams, brands, and business sectors can all benefit by looking ahead to adapt or adjust to burgeoning trends as they come to the fore.  Using these trends in unique, creative ways can make all the difference in sales numbers and ROI.  We hope you found value in this post. Thanks for reading "7 Print Marketing Trends on the Rise in 2021."

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Dove Direct, your Atlanta based print and mail solutions provider, offers organizations end-to-end data, printing, and mailing solutions:

  • Data Management
  • Variable Digital/Data Printing
  • LetterShop and Fulfillment
  • Digital Mail Scanning Services
  • Fully Automated MLOCR Presort Bureau
  • Marketing and Production Management Support
  • Secure Data Life Cycle Management

If you don't want to wait, you can reach Dove Direct today by calling 404-629-0122 or use the Contact Form for Dove Direct.​

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