The road to digital success: being analogue
By Enrico Barboglio
The next decade may be marked by some tough conditions and asymmetric economic and demographic growth in Europe, resulting in weak demand together with high-cost raw materials. High sovereign debt will also drive changes in habits, behaviour and culture.
The consequences will be ‘global changes’ and the graphics industry will continue to see its structural model significantly challenged. The successful companies will be those that can address the needs of a “digital” nature (print/non print, long run/short run, paper/electronic) by adopting an “analogue” strategy. The printing service provider, as an entrepreneur in graphics and communication, must use its capabilities to satisfy its clients and also be prepared to respond to emerging requirements.
What is certain is a decrease in the market share of printed products. The importance of digital and mobile communication is growing daily. Integration of the communication channels is the challenge.
Initially, this process was more relevant to those in variable data digital management systems, but today it also involves print where variable data is not the main feature. Marketers are now challenged to segment their markets more efficiently and effectively, attract new customers with continuity campaigns. The world of photobooks is a clear example of this.
Whether printing service providers are aiming to create an offering for the business market or for consumers, they must ensure that they ‘open up’ their own production areas to clients. This is why adopting Web2Print (W2P) has become an important part of the company management process. Optimization and automation of pre-press is also key to being more competitive by reducing internal costs. Once the print provider is available 24/7, their next challenge is to become relevant to their clients. To provide this level of relevancy, a printer must implement the infrastructure (technical, sales, and consultative skills) to develop solutions for efficient communications.
Demand and the embracing of customized communications are being fueled by technology enhancements and market awareness. Print providers who act as marketing service providers remain competitive by differentiating their business with higher value products and services. They generate revenue opportunities from the services associated with delivering customized communications. Driving this cycle is the right path to take.