duomedia conducted a survey in the fourth quarter of 2012 to gain insight from key consultants in the graphic arts industry. The results of this international survey make it absolutely clear that print must adapt in order to continue to play a crucial role in the communications mix. Print professionals and influencers from 10 countries shared their expert opinions on how print will evolve in the digital age, in this study conducted by pan-European communications agency, duomedia.
Lutt Willems, partner at duomedia, comments: “The duomedia end-of-year survey provides an accurate snapshot of the status of the print industry. By soliciting the opinions of professionals and influencers from around the globe, we can help print houses identify the most important areas of focus to drive revenue and to ensure that print remains a highly effective component of the cross-media communication mix.”
Moving from a manufacturing to a service industry
Many survey respondents identified the need for print houses to adopt a new strategy. They urged printers to go beyond being just a supplier, and to work more closely with customers and brands to establish themselves as value-addedservice providers in the marketing and communication supply chain.
Eddy Hagen, Director and Trendwatcher at VIGC (Flemish organisation for Graphic Communication), comments: “Print houses need to change their mindset and focus on offering solutions and services rather than selling products. A marketing manager doesn't need a printed brochure, he needs a solution to convey his message to his (potential) customers. Identifying the real needs of their customers, will lead to new and interesting offerings. I recently spotted a simple but very effective example of this solutions-oriented mindset: a printer solved the number one issue of a small winery - missed sales - by simply changing the layout of the label. A small change with a big impact. Of course, a change in mindset means investing time and resource. But it’s well worth the effort if it means your company is seen as a high-value link in the marketing and product development chain rather than as just a supplier of printed paper or of printed packaging. This industry will evolve from a product industry to a solutions and services industry.”
Print on-demand is in demand
Many survey respondents flagged the growing trend for short-run, on-demand work, which is being facilitated by advances in digital printing technology. High volume printing will decrease over time as more print is produced on demand.
A perfect example of why short-run, on-demand work is proving so popular are school books. It doesn’t make economic sense to hold on to thousands of copies when it’s highly likely they’ll need updating before too long. With digital, the school can print as many copies as they need, when they need them, and be able to update content as needed to keep educational materials as relevant as possible.
A market for print products with added value
Respondents highlighted that there are growth opportunities in producing products to which people attach a new function, an added value or an emotional value, such as photos.
Ed Boogaard, freelance journalist in the printing industry, believes some people will always value print over digital: “For example, for many people, printed photos hold a special place. Looking back at pictures on a laptop just isn’t the same as seeing them in an album or photo book. Also magazines will become more and more functional for people, especially with the trend towards short run printing.”