It's no secret that the business world is changing rapidly, and that printers will need to be innovative in order to best position themselves to compete within the market, while simultaneously fending off the assault of the digital fad. While paper products are still integral commodities for most businesses, some electronic devices and platforms are geared specifically at replacing traditional methods, which means print companies need to get creative in order to preserve their own viability. 

Print companies must embrace new sources of profit
Veteran industry journalist Gareth Ward wrote for Printing Impressions that printers will need to be smart if they are to remain profitable in the future. Ward argued that in order to position themselves to grow, industry businesses will have to embrace certain aspects of the digital realm – such as communications, data and logistics. Noting that certain mundane, simple functions like government forms have already made the jump to digitalization, he said that print is not going to suffer the loss for these relatively meaningless products. Instead, the industry is evolving into a more versatile and relevant version of its former self. 

For example, Ward advised that printers will need to embrace technology if they are going to survive. Instead of rejecting advancements that threaten their long-term sustainability, print companies should adopt some of these IT strategies so that they can use them to their advantage. The end goal, of course, is to personalize products and services for the customer, and the best way to achieve that is to offer a variety of platforms through which communication and transactions are possible. This means integrating digital marketing to connect with prospective clients via social media, or offering creative, provocative Web content that engages the audience and propels them to seek additional information. 

Ward said that while these digital solutions can be a benefit for in-house functions, printers should also not reject their origins. The market is changing, and quickly, but this does not mean that the services provided by the industry are irrelevant. In fact, he asserted that human nature has led consumers to embrace high-quality printed materials as a means to escape from the rampant consumerism that has devoured online marketing. In order to stand out from the masses, many marketers are turning back to traditional print media, and seeing strong results. 

By offering a quality product that cannot be matched digitally, printers have managed to carve out a healthy niche for themselves and increase their own value. 

Printers are adapting through the use of data and technology
Exchange 4 Media interviewed CVL Srinivas, CEO of GroupM in the South Asian region, who suggested that the print industry as a whole should devote more of its resources to products and research. If companies begin to more thoroughly analyze the market, they can best meet the demands of consumers and increase profitability. By enhancing current products, as well as introducing new ones to fit with the desires of potential customers, printers can continue to grow the industry as a whole and maintain its relevance in the face of the attempted takeover by digital companies. 

Srinivas noted that, like many other printing enterprises, GroupM recently invested in integration for its marketing and commerce channels. In order to best future-proof the organization, GroupM is now analyzing data, technology and content that can offer it insights to take advantage of potentially underserved areas of the market and maximize profitability. 

Today's print industry is adapting to become smarter, more versatile and technologically advanced – a reflection of the world that surrounds it. Those companies that have failed to embrace change have suffered, but as a whole, the industry appears poised to enjoy relative stability as it implements new strategies and products.