The printing industry has gone through major bouts of transformation over the years. The digital boom has caused print leaders to reevaluate their tried-and-true methods of business. And while the print obituary may been written up years ago, the truth is the print industry is still alive and well. However, this does not mean there is not more transformation ahead.
As with any industry, change is key to growth. Advancements in print have led to some key shifts in the print market. Business Insider recently reported that 3D printing hardware is close to being capable of printing an entire human!
We like to stay a little more grounded in our ambitions. But even in the world of standard print products, technology is evolving fast. This rapidly changing landscape combined with increasingly demanding consumers and an intensely competitive field have all resulted in market disruption which will undoubtedly lead to significant change, explained Computer Weekly contributor Louella Fernandes.
Fernandes sees the future of the print industry lying heavily in consolidation. Acquisitions and restructuring will the pave the way for dealing with major issues and industry transformations. However, there are still ways to maintain or enhance your company's position in the print market. While Fernandes focused more on the hardware sector of the printing world, many of her suggestions can apply to print product salespeople. Here are Fernandes' three major projections regarding key business opportunities:
1. Market your print marketing: According to Fernandes, independent publishers launching print branding initiatives are doing so at the highest rate been in a full decade. As we've proven before, print is a valuable tool in customer engagement levels. Print businesses should seek out businesses looking for a fresh take on their marketing approach. Pair up with other media channels to offer both online and offline spaces for customer communication. In a world of digital information, printed materials can be a fresh way to highlight any business's offerings. Take advantage of this unique spin and make your print business shine.
2. Embrace the "as-a-Service economy": Customers are evolving into consumers with a preference for service subscriptions over products and purchases, explained Fernandes. What this boils down to is an inclination toward business loyalty. Instead of buying multiple products from multiple vendors, consumers want an all-encompassing provider. Print salespeople should target markets with high print demand and repeatable products. We have detailed a few of these sectors such as the automotive industry, educational institutions and financial establishments. These are the types of consumers print companies should create long-lasting business relationships with. Print sales tend to be sticky, in the sense that once a client finds a provider its business will stick. In order to persist and thrive in the current volatile market, print sales departments should seek out these forms of business.
3. Connect print and digital offerings: Businesses still need paper. It's a tried-and-true fact. Whether it be for HR forms, contracts, proposals etc., the demand is there. So, what is your company missing? If it is within your powers, try and combine print and digital offerings for your print products. This is undoubtedly the future for print business: a distinct combinations of print products offered in customizable forms via the internet with managed distribution. Print businesses should try to evolve with the times, according to Fernandes. Print isn't dead but that doesn't mean digital is not a threat. Combine the two powers for ultimate efficiency.
The print industry has arguably survived its worst hits. If the digital era hasn't eliminated your print business then it's safe to say that you are doing something right. Yet, this doesn't mean the fight is over. As with any company in a competitive industry, consistent innovation is what keeps a company thriving. Print executives and salespeople should be in constant communication about what ways to gain and maintain business. There are still plenty of industries and people out there in need of high-quality paper products. It is just a matter of finding them. Take these opportunities or find your own, just keep on approaching your sales with innovation and creativity.