Let’s get past the “print is dead” misconception. The future of printing is embracing the exciting new waves of communication and media innovation more than anyone can expect.
With the evolution of many digital platforms, we can agree that the use of print has declined over the period, but over the last few years, this has changed. The printing industry is now great position to expand, especially with the privacy issues & over-saturation in many digital platforms that we are experiencing today.
We have reviewed the data & contents of many printing industry experts and it turns out there are exciting times for the printing industry and the future is bright.
1. Printing industry in next five years:
The entire major printing industry expert has the same consensus that major changes are coming up. Many printing companies have started embracing new technologies, innovations, more customization as per client’s specific needs & integrating with digital technology.
1.1 Innovation & New technology:
Due to the current situation companies are merging their operations & streamlining in record numbers, hence there will be fewer printers & manufacturers. However, the ones that are adopting new printing technologies will grow and sustain.
A well-positioned printing company is becoming a communications company, offering solutions that are well beyond traditional printing.
We are surrounded by printing, whenever you walk into a mall, shop, visit a restaurant, trains, buses, airports etc. everything you see around is printing, but people don’t connect that with the printing industry and do not understand the importance of printing in general.
Sooner people will start realizing this fact that we are surrounded by print & that’s the future. The future is yet to be written because whatever the demand will be right from label printing on medicine packs to printed wall covering, the printing industry is required and important. After all, without printing the world we live in won’t be the same.
1.2 Integrating printing with digital technology:
There is no doubt in regards to the rapid evolution and advancement of digital technology over a while due to the rapid growth of the Internet and other platforms.
There are numerous ways wherein you can now access any type of content like ebooks, kindle, images and more, and companies are trying everything to increase online traffic.
It is very important for printing to team up with digital media & use the advantages that digital technology offers.
Research proves that people like to have access to content through physical mediums and objects being in their hand. The physical printed materials create a deeper impact and long-lasting impression on your target audience.
Companies should consider printing as means to support their digital efforts, & when used effectively printing can increase the results of small business campaign.
One of the good examples of this is Louvre Abu Dhabi “Highway Gallery” project.
In November 2018, the Louvre in Abu Dhabi, UAE was the first universal museum to open in the Arab World.
In a country that was largely unfamiliar with such kind of museum culture, this campaign called “Highway Gallery” was launched by Louvre to spread awareness.
The Highway Gallery consisted of printed billboards that were placed regularly along the highway between Dubai & Abu Dhabi.
More than 12,000 people drive the Dubai-Abu Dhabi E11 highway every day. The journey on the highway is approximate 1 hour 30 mins and it’s the major highway with no scenery.
The museum’s top masterpiece like Mona Lisa, Vincent Van Gogh’s self-portrait and others were printed on giant frames and placed along the highway.
The museum took the experience one step further. They equipped each printed billboard with a solar-powered FM transmitter that synchronized with the area’s top three FM radio stations.
Upon approaching the printed billboards, drivers & passengers tuned in to radio frequency of 91.6 FM, 95.8FM & 100.5FM will find their music interrupted by a museum audio guide that introduced the artist and short story about the piece.
Each audio about the masterpiece would last for 30 seconds – “Welcome to the Louvre Abu Dhabi”, the audio would say. “Meet Vincent Van Gogh, one of the greatest artist of the 19th century. This masterpiece originally stood in the royal courts of Europe….”
This became the world’s first and only radio-guided highway gallery. This exhibition enabled Abu Dhabi on the map of global innovation.
The Louvre’s Highway Gallery project is a striking example of how printing can support digital & social media marketing & help increase visitors and brand awareness of the museum.
The printed billboards were displayed for one month, and it skyrocketed their online and in-person traffic.
As competition grows, marketers will continue to drill down to more finely customize jobs for the specific target audience. There will be smaller runs on print against the current large print runs and also the level of customization will be higher and in-depth.
In the digital world, you can select & choose your exact demographic, similarly, in printing the companies will want variable print run to target a specific audience & this would be a win-win situation for everyone.
Using different methods the companies will receive more relevant information about their target audience and this would result in companies not wasting money and resources on the larger print run.
The traditional printing way wherein blast-out-a-million-copies of something will not be there and this is something that is required and best suited for everyone.
Personalization in print doesn’t mean just slapping your brand’s logo and details on a print piece, it would mean that companies will need to expand their personalization capabilities by adding variable data printing, design & layout services in addition to only printing materials.
This would make the printer more time to complete a particular order, but in the end, the client will fully be satisfied and his goal of printing materials will be sufficed. This would help in building a good customer relationship which can drive the longevity of the print partnership.
4. Printing is Evolving:
Printing has been evolving with the help of new technology. The use of AR (Augmented Reality) and 3D printing are some of the future technologies that will help the printing industry to grow.
If you want to track ROI on your printed media use AR. Most of you will be familiar with QR codes, but QR codes are a bit ugly and very few people are using QR code except for making/receiving payments
There are many different AR apps like Houzz, GIPHY World, Google lens & more offer the same features but thanks to image recognition these AR apps enable you to use unique designs and stunning images instead of boring QR codes.
This kind of AR allows your target audience to unlock a whole world of digital engagement in the palm of their hand and this would help the printing industry as well.
You can enable AR-tag to do any number of things when scanned like send or receive an e-mail, open a website, open your business page and much more.
Printing will boost online sales regardless of the location. If you have perfect synergy between digital & print your marketing campaign will be a success and you will be able to drive a lot of visitors & traffics.
Your print marketing can work great alongside your digital initiatives. This would allow you to create cost-effective and highly powerful campaigns.
The best way is to tie your printing with your online presence. Leaflets, flyers, posters and all printed media should include links to your social media Ids, hashtag & website.
You should always consider your printing to be the physical arm of your digital campaign. When working side by side, your campaign will be unstoppable.
5. Benefits of Printing:
- Printing is tangible: Unlike digital ads, customers can hold printed marketing materials in their hands. Important qualities like designing, paper quality, colours & textures used plays psychological roles in customer decision making.
- Printing can be saved: Best use for discount coupons or your printed materials offers value, customers are very likely to save them and reach out later.
- Printing builds trust: As per one survey by MarketingSherpa 82% of internet users trust printed marketing ads for making a purchasing decision. Printing is still the most trusted mode for ads.
- Printing puts a spotlight on your business: With the latest technology and algorithms that most of leading social media and other online site has, customers are inundated with ads on website, your social medial profiles & even on emails.
This kind of tactics forces customers to use ad blockers and other tools to avoid seeing such ads. As with print, the focus is on your products and services, when the customers hold your printed material their focus is only on your content and they are not distracted by competing ads.
You can boost your awareness regarding your products & services using both Digital & Print marketing. Some of the example where you can use print to digital marketing ideas you can use are:
- A postcard that features a discount code to buy online.
- A catalogue that features a QR code and enables customers to view products & services.
- Retail packaging that encourages customers to subscribe to your email list and follow your social media and you can email them with for future offers and products and establishing a relationship with them.
The reverse works as well. The visitors can visit your website fill in the details and then the company can send you a catalogue via direct mail. In this manner, you can collect their physical address and help to build your customer database.
You can keep sending follow-up marketing materials and you get to put your promotional materials directly in hands of a potential customer which is also known as highly qualified leads.
As long as people need to communicate and build customer relations, printing will always remain a big, essential part of the marketing mix.
In future, we might see different technologies like 3D, AR, VR and more, or even other mediums that are still not there, print’s enduring power gives it a firm foothold in the communications marketplace.
This is an exciting time for the industry. And it’s just going to get better.