Welcome to the Dove Direct Print and Marketing Blog. Today's post, "Printers Words of Wisdom - Embrace the New" reaffirms that print blends with alternative communication channels. Moving into the future, the idea that print will ultimately meet its demise as technological advancements continue to evolve is not only a misnomer but represents a short-sighted mentality. For one, technological breakthroughs also include print as part of the core of new AI and machine learning systems. Print's old die-hard habits must be set aside by printers looking to advance and take advantage of hew technologies. Commercial printers can no longer avoid shifting to digital printing, and for those that have already done so, the sky is the limit for the foreseeable future.
The head of a Parisian print service, Industria, Pierre Coquard recently stated: "There are fewer and fewer print experts within the customers we engage with," he says. "Our contacts are coming more often from higher up in their organizations, in marketing or communications, and they are facing broader challenges. They do not have a pure print problem but more a communications challenge.
Moreover, those with a print problem alone often don't know how to manage it. So, if a print service provider can offer relevant communication proposals, ensuring top quality within the required delivery schedule and with a positive communication result (outcome), then there is definitely business to be made!"
Mr. Coquard's statement speaks volumes about losing printing's old guard and their availability for problem-solving. The new print expert must be versed in digital printing and other communications strategies that integrate effectively with print products. Print's target market decision-makers now hold a much higher position within their respective organizations, as messaging, communications, and marketing strategies are rapidly evolving due to the onslaught of the digital landscape.
The Season of Transformative Print
The commercial printing industry is changing with the rise of digital technology. As a result, digital printing continues to expand, along with inkjet printing, as traditional print technologies advance in the digital space. Also, let's not move offset printing out of the realm just yet. Technological advances are in play here, transforming offset in several ways. Offset printing now enjoys an automated calibration process, waste reduction, higher printing speed (20,000 sheets per hour), a digital-offset hybrid workflow, and other considerations.
These new offset-digital amalgamations also provide labeling, packaging, and binding with finishing equipment (similar to digital). These developments are transforming workflows, not to mention they are visible in all areas inclusive of internet printing (web-to-print), which is also on the rise. As a result, the transformation of print now affords the capability of better customer experiences based on the customer's requirements, such as short-runs for flyers, postcards, brochures, or even a single book copy. As well, digital printing demands are achievable via local printers that deploy manufacturer capabilities from Xerox, Ricoh, Canon, HP, Fujifilm, Heidelberg, Koening & Bauer, Domino, and many other print equipment suppliers.
Print Only Being Redefined
Print pricing typically associated with "best or lowest price" is being upstaged in favor of what is the most effective customer service. Print only is being retrofitted as a communications universe where printing services are one element of the total. Naturally, the next question relates to the ROI of print investments. In short, that answer has many tentacles to consider. You can calculate the ROI for any print job by the project, size, materials, finishes, paper, types of vinyl, packaging, ink types, barcodes, presorts, and even data management, from purchased lists to in-house lists, and more. Other considerations include the range of goals that can be associated with the investment.
Print's Triumphant Return
There is a plethora of data in the form of surveys and reports assembled by a variety of data mining organizations that points to the effectiveness of print in the age of all things digital. With billions of websites and billions of videos viewed daily, and social media channels, it should come as no surprise that consumers and prospects are in communication overload. Print collateral is now able to differentiate marketing content in a visceral manner that alerts and heightens the senses. Any type of print collateral, from invitations, brochures, books, pictures, greeting cards, and even personalized transactional documents, are all capable of eliciting personal responses in a manner that digital simply cannot. In essence, print products are exceptionally personable.
Transforming Print Market Segmentation
The print industry is moving away from commodity printing and instead is creating new market segments. These new segments, for the most part, are being pushed by consumers. Customers desire human proximity and fast turnaround times. Vendors that can mix well-targeted print with other channels of communication demonstrate the ability to improve customer links.
The physical reality of print materials resurgence is similar to other industries whose criteria is the return to physical products. For example, musical artists and bands are now starting to return to vinyl albums, while Polaroid images are beginning to heat up.
Print's digital transformation covers both small and large format equipment. Digital printing can now provide interior decoration, textiles, vehicle wrapping, signage, POS/POP, and posters. Simultaneously, the environmental concerns manageable with LED dryers replacing infrared dryers are underway in all production printing systems. With new substrates coming to the fore, the market continues to change, thus offering new applications, while simultaneously decreasing environmental ramifications.
As a result of these new additions, the transformation of the print industry is producing more market segmentation. While it may be challenging to put a salient point on these new market segments, as they can overlap, it is crucial to be cognizant of them.
Multi-service printing organizations that assume customers will come through their doors at any time appear as small convenient (corner) copy shops.
Metropolitan centers housing print providers that provide quality and fast turnaround times serve key accounts for which they have access and can offer different print services.
Print providers that have multiple technologies can take on various size jobs. Typically, these providers have adequate storage space located in-house or nearby. Another factor is delivery and logistics. Printers that fail to have these services will be at a disadvantage.
Printing specialists that focus on books, magazines, packaging, et al., have optimized their production lines for these specific capabilities. These printing specialists typically focus on national and international clients, as well as local markets.
Printing facilities, typically located near communication centers such as airports and major cities, are thought to be able to efficiently handle commodity print jobs due to their proximity and optimized processes.
The new print game is transforming. To that end, printers will have to choose where they want to play, and moreover, determine how they can excel in this new world. The winning print strategy is for those who can provide real solutions and services, and who can identify new market segments, thus exiting commodity print offerings. Thanks for reading "Printers Words of Wisdom - Embrace the New."
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