Window graphics—with 51.25 percent of respondents predicting growth—was the forth area of interest for 2012. This market niche really allows PSPs and creative agencies to put their best foot forward. Window graphics represent new media spaces that didn’t exist a few years ago, and also offer cost-effective ad placement for marketing messages. Few other media deliver as much impact as a mini-billboard-sized graphic positioned right next to the door of the retail store or company it is promoting.
The wide area of specialty graphics—with 46.25 of respondents indicating growth in 2012—was next in line, but in this segment, creativity and differentiation are essential. “To use a football analogy, a wide receiver has to get separation from his defender to get space and give himself an opportunity to catch the pass—to make something happen. That’s what will grow, so call it ‘specialty’ products,” said Moore. “What can you put together that your customer hasn’t thought of? What value can you bring? Can you listen carefully enough to hear the one thing that is an opportunity in disguise? Most of those will be unique, multi-faceted engagements that will also be profitable, and help you build deeper relationships.”
POP and retail graphics came in next with an equal percentage of respondents—46.25 percent—indicating it would grow and stay the same in 2012. HP’s David Murphy, director of marketing, Americas, Graphics Solutions Business, feels this market has one of the biggest opportunities for PSPs and gives strong reasons why this market especially should see growth in 2012. “HP believes the point-of-purchase and retail vertical is two times bigger than the opportunity for outdoor signage. This market started with outdoor signage, solvent, and billboards, which are currently 65 to 70 percent digitally printed, but the POP and retail vertical market is the opposite. Currently, it’s only 20 to 22 percent digitally printed, and the digital portion of the market is growing by double digits. For this reason, the wide-format graphics market should focus on this POP and retail vertical, which has a strong need for the personalization and on-demand printing capabilities provided by digital printing technologies.”
“As business owners and managers, we share the same concerns as business owners in all industries: a weak economy challenged by the looming debt crisis, burdensome government regulations, tax uncertainty, the unknown cost of government mandated health care coverage, etc. Concerns specific to our industry include lack of sales growth, margin pressure, and increased competition. The competitive landscape is blurred with different sectors (screen printers, offset printing, sign and graphic providers) vying for the same customer base. Because all of these sectors have excess capacity, maintaining margins is difficult,” said Monson. “To compete successfully, sign and graphics providers must transform their business from a traditional sign and graphics business to a cross-media solutions provider, using multiple technologies to meet their customers’ needs. The most successful in our industry are taking a more proactive sales approach, implementing smarter marketing, providing better customer service, and driving increased efficiency in the manufacturing process.”