Historically, it hasn't been the industry's strong suit. Does that need to change?
We asked six digital print specialists to respond to the current state of the industry and reveal what we should expect in 2017.
Big Picture: Do you think shops in the industry are taking advantage of digital marketing? What do you think is the best way for PSPs to utilize this?
Mark Hanley, President, I.T. Strategies: Well, maybe and maybe not. There’s a lot of diversity in response, but more important than print providers are print users and brand owners. These are the people who need to leverage digital communications to enhance their sales of goods and their market shares. These people are far from fully aware of the benefits of digital marketing and its key developing component of customized print. Most print providers are poorly equipped to change this mentality, and indeed are often trapped in the vicious buying circle, which looks to the print provider only to provide better and better things at a lower and lower cost. That is not really a realistic approach to utilizing and adopting new technology.
Marco Boer, VP, I.T. Strategies: No, we as the print industry have done a terrible job marketing print. We are generally speaking, with some exceptions, order takers. This means we compete on price, not value creation.
Sean Smyth, Print Consultant, Smithers Pira: Understanding how customers and prospective customers prefer to be communicated with is critical. This may be traditional sales contacts or through social media platforms, depending on the target audience. Whichever way, make sure that the company profile is positive, and measure the efficacy of any channels – number of inquiries, conversion rate, and profitability – then concentrate on the highest returns.
Tim Greene, Research Director of Hardcopy Solutions, IDC: I think there are some of the large-format shops that do a great job of digital marketing, but it’s pretty limited. It seems like everyone does the “portfolio” thing, showing examples of how they help their customers grow their business, fix marketing supply chain issues, and reduce costs, which is great, but “targeted, measurable, interactive marketing” is a pretty high standard, so I don’t think there are a ton of shops getting that done.
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