A huge opportunity for printers, and marketeers combined; why could we be missing it?

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print marketing

We all know that is print one of the longest standing forms of media there is, we also know it can deliver pretty impressive results for engagement, recall and power to drive an action from the recipient.

Print, especially with modern print technologies has the capabilities to connect deep with consumers delivering an experience unique to any other media. But do Marketeers, media buyers and even designers understand the vast possibilities of their print campaigns?

What do marketeers currently know about print?

A recent NAPCO Research stated that many younger buyers are not familiar with print at all, and many older buyers don’t fully understand the benefits of digital printing. According to one marketer interviewed, “Younger designers are not familiar with print and need regular education.”

When asked how familiar they were with printing processes 28% of recipients answered very little or not familiar at all.

To add to this a little over one-third of respondents were not familiar with print enhancement technologies, this presents a huge opportunity for industry suppliers to educate the market on the benefits.

Where do opportunities lie? Packaging printers are most familiar with printing enhancement methods, followed by commercial printers. Packaging is a key area for printing enhancement, as brand owners showed enthusiasm to discover ways to have their labels and packaging stand out from the competition.

If these print opportunities are so widely available why is there such a knowledge gap?

Almost half of print providers offer enhancements to digital print, while another 23% were planning on introducing it.

Reasons for investing in technologies presented the following;

“What attracted us to investing in a digital enhancement press was that we could affordably enhance the value of the products we print without having to overinvest.”

“The ability to affordably add high-end features such as gold and silver metallics, along with iridescent gradients and clear spot embellishments, to any digital print project is a big differentiator for our print shop.”

“We can offer customers print enhancements with fast turnaround times and affordable prices.”

“Gone are the days of costly metallic inks and press washups to achieve high-end looks. We can do it all with fast turnaround times at affordable prices.”

However, marketers’ perceptions on print enhancement included the following;

“Marketers don’t know what is possible.”

“Many print buyers don’t understand the impact embellishments can have.”

“Buyers have a hard time comprehending the effects; you need to show them.”

“Customers believe they can’t afford print enhancements.”

Marketeers need to increase their knowledge of print to get one step ahead with their campaigns

Like marketeers keep up with the new trends for data collection and marketing atomisation, why should print be any different? As a marketer we constantly learn the new digital styles, mediums and techniques to advance in our online targeting, but why do we not want the same for our print campaigns?

If marketeers were to learn that the addition of touch to traditional print translates into a 24% increase in value (2), and that motivation from embellished direct mail outperformed digital media’s motivation score by 30%(3) I do not believe that many marketeers would pass by utilising this as part of their marketing campaigns.

We have learnt that 28% of Marketeers have not had experience in print, this number increases even higher when we look at digital print or print in the last 3 years. This leads to answer our question, there is huge likelihood that a larger proportion of marketers are unaware that they are able to highly personalise, directly target from their online data, and build a premium, innovative experience unique to any other media.

How us, the print industry can help media buyers and marketeers get a step ahead in their print marketing?

Several print providers cited lack of customer demand for print enhancement, a major factor hindering customer demand being that marketers did not understand the availability and value of digital enhancements, so do no request them.

Key challenges in selling printing enhancements centre on customer education, marketers are keen to enhance their print campaigns but are just unaware of the possibilities, and if they are aware, they don’t think they can afford them.

Printers need to know how to effectively sell and communicate the value in terms of ROI and it’s ability to help customers build their brands. The knowledge gaps need reducing by educating customers and staff in the types of special effects available, the value of print enhancements, how to price, and how to communicate ROI.

Marketers are willing to pay a premium for print enhancements as they understand the positive impact, printers need to not get bogged down on cost and focus on this. Marketers need education on print enhancement’s benefits, they have a strong desire for giving brands a premium look, capturing attention, differentiating from competitors, and enhancing corporate image, however, do not have all the knowledge for how this can be achieved.

Agencies are strong influencers on the look and feel of marketing materials, even though the corporate client is the final decision maker. It is important to target and educate print production specialists, creatives, and graphic designers within the agencies.

Education days in agencies, universities and other creative organisations will target the younger generations that lack the knowledge but have the understanding and enthusiasm for pushing campaigns harder to be more innovative, engaging and drive response.

Demonstrate the outcome, marketeers want to be shown samples of their jobs with embellishment before purchasing. Print providers can create a print sample of a customer’s job with special effects to show them the possibilities, or even let them try enhanced work first, without charging for it, to demonstrate how it works. The NAPCO study found showing customers samples of their jobs with embellishment as one of the most effective sales tools.

In summary marketers rely on printers to influence their best printing decisions, meaning there is a huge responsibility, but also immense opportunity sitting with printers to educate brands, agencies, and designers to understand the trends and technologies enhancing the value of print marketing in the communication mix.

Sources
NAPCO RESEARCH: Adding value to digital printing, January 2020
The Secret Life of Mail, Royal Mail, Market Reach report
The neuroscience behind the response-driving power of direct mail, August 2020