How the print industry is embracing the digital age
July 21, 2013 by Sarah
As the oldest form of communicating with the masses, printing has come a long way in its thousands of years history, and still remains an integral part of society. For businesses too, it is an absolute essential to marketing and advertising. It has changed a great deal through the years though, with innovation and invention seeing the face of printing constantly change
Today, the print industry is facing up to one of the most exciting opportunities it has had in decades too, as digital printing really comes of age. A powerful marketing tool in its own right, it offers the industry a fantastic way to relate to their customers more effectively and deliver better and faster results than at any time previously.
With the digital age now very much the era of the World’s history in which we are living, printers have the chance to show how well print can not only carry a marketing message, but deliver content too. It is time for the industry to show their customers that digital print allows far more to be done than the simple printing process has ever been able to do before.
It is little surprise, therefore, that direct marketing is performing so well. Now more successful than ever before, getting a message well delivered into the hands of the customer is ever more essential. It is largely digital print that is delivering this.
Using less to do more
The best way to maximize space available too, you can do more things with less room with digital printing. This is exactly what customers need to see, and drives investment in newer tech. As the real estate in the media becomes ever more costly, being able to deliver a successful message in a small area is critical.
There has been a huge investment in digital tech by the industry too, as it remains eager to see just how much more digital can bring. These investments have gone on new machines, papers, inks, and processes; all with the aim of improving quality and speed in as economical a way as possible.
The personal touch
One attribute that modern print processes offer is that of messages being tailored and personalized. Whether this is to target a group of people, an organization, a business sector, or even an individual, digital delivers. Through exploiting data available and using the latest analytics, truly captivating, engaging, and actionable marketing strategies can be developed.
There is much to be said for more traditional print methods though. For example, traditional materials are far more tangible – a quality that many current digital methods cannot help with. This look and feel that traditional print media gives though is something that many companies are increasingly looking for too, particularly for smaller runs.
As has always been the case, smaller print runs have always been higher in quality, though technological advances have certainly narrowed the gap. Many more specialized jobs are always being increasingly asked for, such as coloring runs and die cutting, which are rarely manageable outside of a specialized print shop.
This more specialized approach, together with the more personalized approach that the digital age offers, is a stunning combination. It is little surprise that this more boutique-like offering from print shops is gaining a footing in the industry.
It may be boutique now, but in the future, it could revolutionize not just printing but retail as a whole, and much more besides.
The come-together of the virtual and the physical
Click and collect is becoming very popular in the U.S., as it is in most of the Western world. The ability to be able to shop online and collect something the next day is hugely popular. It retains that sense of excitement in a purchase that distance buying has always struggled to capture. For big box stores and supermarkets, it has been something of a revolution.
In a similar fashion, click and print could be on an upward slope. Now, customers will not only be able to select what they want to buy, but companies will be able to personalize the packaging in real time. Whether this is the customer’s name, a special message, or some other important information, it offers so much added value. For corporate customers too, digital package printing offers huge potential.
Cutting costs and going green
The digital industry is also a great way to lower costs. Streamlining a process for a company, and cutting out a lot of the waste, it is easy to see why there are reduced expenses. Longer runs will, of course, necessitate the cost savings related to traditional printing, but for those smaller runs, the digital age in printing is all primed and ready to go.
It’s also a lot greener, of course. As using the planet’s resources as ever more responsibly as possible is needed, digital print methods are a great option. Though advances throughout the industry have made it more environmentally friendly than it ever has been, the latest advances takes things even further forward. The industry recognizes this, which is why investment continues at such a pace.
The next step?
No mention of printing and the digital age would be complete without mention of 3D printing either, and here is the next greatest revolution in the World, not just printing. Already, the items that have been printed in 3D have been incredible and keep on coming.
Where this particular journey will go is so unclear, but there is so much potential for it. Printing companies are all set up to offer the service to their customers too. The industry is already investing in the technology, ensuring it is able to offer the very best aspects as it continues to enter the mainstream.
Through the years, through its 1,000 plus years of history, printing has changed form from one to the other with seamless ease. This is very much continuing for the digital age too. Showing how both complement one another and, more than this, how both processes rely on each other, it is clear that the future of print has still got a long way to go.