Industry Insights: Optimism on the Rise

I talk to printers every day and I believe there is a bright future ahead for print. FESPA’s World Wide Survey 4 preliminary results have underlined this by revealing that printers’ levels of optimism are on the rise. An indicator of health is investment in new technology, and according to the findings, two-thirds of printers expect to spend more on wide-format signage and graphic supplies in 2013 (compared to 2012).

I am very impressed with the enthusiasm and professionalism of printers across the industry. Always keen to learn new ways of doing things, their motivation and drive to succeed is an inspiration.

FESPA’s mission is to provide our global community with the materials and tools to enable them to present print’s value proposition to their customers more positively and with confidence. My only wish would be that the print industry had more confidence in itself.

Some printers concern themselves with process, articulating the minutiae of how the product was made instead of how it adds value to the customer. With my background in the food industry the emphasis is on the experience - the taste of the food and how it makes you feel, not how a dish is made. Printers need to ‘sell the sizzle’ and not just focus on the manufacturing process.

There is now more of a focus on printers as marketing service providers, offering more than just print. Printers will need to listen to clients to deliver effective solutions, offering new and creative ideas to strengthen their offering.

Printers heading across the pond to London to attend FESPA 2013 should make time in their show itinerary to visit some of our show features including the Jet Set Conference, Print Inspiration Runway, and Creative Corner. Here you will hear more about key trends, future innovations and gain some valuable information on how to drive business forward.

To date we have 550 confirmed exhibitors and 30,000 sqm of committed floor space equalling the final footprint of FESPA 2010 in Munich three years ago. This year’s show would be as large and comprehensive event as FESPA 2010 if it opened its doors today and we’ve still several weeks ahead of us until FESPA 2013 opens on June 25, 2013.

New to this year’s show is the European Sign Expo which will complement FESPA’s traditional focus on printed signage and graphics, offering visitors a focused sign event in which to explore innovations in architectural and informational signage, including channel lettering, signage systems, illuminated displays, and digital signage.

Sign makers are already part of FESPA’s global community; therefore it’s a natural progression for FESPA to develop a sign exhibition to serve the international market. As the convergence between the sign and print sectors continues, we want to guide graphic producers and their customers on how they can maximize the impact and effectiveness of signage.

Advances in digital screen technology will evolve, not as a replacement for traditional printing, but alongside it. The two will develop and complement each other; therefore the show fits well with the FESPA show.

In an ever changing industry, the next five to ten years will present a host of opportunities for printers, especially with the shift towards digital printing, which in the last ten or so years has grown enormously.

The preliminary findings of FESPA’s World Wide Survey 4 also report that approximately 40 percent of print shops whose main revenue stream is wide-format digital printing, expect this part of their business to increase by 51 percent over the next couple of years.

The industry’s love affair with digital has advantages in meeting the increasing demand from clients, including personalization, so the benefit for printers to invest further in digital wide-format printing for their business is substantial.

The mission for all printers over the next few years should be to listen to their clients and deliver an effective solution. Going forward, such a solution may need to integrate printed graphics and digital signage or AV elements. Management systems now allow for the full control and production of print and digital content for screens. This ease of control ensures that adding digital displays can be integrated within one marketing, production and logistic process.

Printers should look to embrace the opportunities and technology that’s available to meet these growing opportunities. As previously mentioned, this industry is ever changing, therefore constantly presenting new challenges. Printers should look at these as prospects to expand their offering and expertise.

We hope to see many of our American friends at FESPA 2013 to share learnings and knowledge, and hopefully pick up some new business ideas! See you in June.