Business service industry professionals share their favorite ways in which print has evolved over the past 16 years.
In the centuries since Guttenberg gave us the printing press, we have fully indulged the need to communicate and expand our reach via print on paper. Print has proven itself to be a medium so beloved that it has a track record connects us to our wisest ancestors and modern studies tell us that it will endure to connect us to our bright-eyed descendants. Just one example can be found in a study conducted by Xerox recently which indicated that more than 3/4 of respondents to a survey about the future of print say that print will “always exist in some form.”
Print continues to evolve and wrap its irreplaceable effects around emerging digital needs. Through techniques such as augmented reality a printed page can be overlaid with digital content, allowing it to bring consumers into a new world when scanned by a smart phone, opening up connections with brands that include how-to-videos, slides, audio clips, surveys, email and web links, phone numbers and more.
Only print can survive “hacking” and its proven ability to weave itself through multi-media with expanding capabilities such as digital printing and augmented reality continues to make it vital for precise, targeted communication. It is singular in its ability to branch out into multiple channels while retaining that highly-desired, physical, printed “touch”. That is simply invaluable in this cramped, overwhelmingly spammed-out, online advertising climate. Through marketing campaigns that can produce targeted direct mail and complete, personalized marketing campaigns, modern print is becoming even more specific to the interests and needs of people on the receiving end, essentially making it of greater worth than ever before.
Nelson Anderson, owner of Minuteman Press in Glen Burnie, MD kicks us off as we explore the ways that printing has developed since the year 2000. He includes digital printing, marketing and diversification in his list and below, he explains how it all ties together:
“Digital Printing, Marketing, & Diversification: Digital printing (especially color digital printing) has grown from its infancy since 2000 until now, changing the print world forever. It has required all printers to adapt and stay current with the latest technology and has pushed buying habits towards shorter runs with multiple versions – which is great for the quick print industry. We have found the majority (60%) of what we print is for the use of marketing and 40% of it gets mailed.
This is why we have found it crucial to be diverse in our product offering because the same user that is purchasing print is also aligning the company’s marketing which means acquiring promotional products and continuing that theme to produce their signs and displays for their physical location.”
The endurance of print communication is proof of its continued evolution
“We should note the force, effect, and consequences of inventions which are nowhere more conspicuous than in those three which were unknown to the ancients, namely, printing, gunpowder, and the compass. For these three have changed the appearance and state of the world.” – Francis Bacon, author of philosophy (Novum Organum…)
A new study conducted by Publishing Technology casts aside notions that newer generations, even those known as millennials, will ever abandon print. In fact, the study said people currently between the ages of 18 and 34 are nearly two times as inclined to read a printed book over an ebook. The important thing to remember as we all adopt more digital habits is that the role of print on paper remains steadfast, both because it remains most trustworthy and print professionals on the cutting-edge continue to find innovative ways to infuse our modern needs with the traditional, proven efficacy the printed medium provides.
Jeff Robey, Florida Regional Vice President for Minuteman Press International names 3 trusted avenues in which his number-one rated digital, print, design and marketing franchise owners are experiencing expanding abilities to apply print in a way he considers augmented from 16 years ago. Jeff notes, “Digital printing capabilities, bindery equipment capabilities and the ability to develop a marketing strategy and engage potential and current clients most effectively are my top 3 picks for how the industry has evolved since 2000.”
2 Minuteman Press franchise owners share 3 of their favorite ways print has evolved since 2000
Rita Siprak-Weill, owner of Minuteman Press in Annapolis, MD:
1. The growth of digital printing: Clients want their output faster and faster and have moved away from 1, 2, 3 spot colors to full color. The digital equipment has gotten better over time, duplexing heavier stocks, able to even handle heavy stocks when previously they couldn’t, and color has become more consistent over time. All in all it’s been a good thing for the print industry because digital is less hands on, all the work is really at the front end doing the set up correctly. This reduces personnel costs and allows owners to work in other areas of the business (bindery).
2. Greater need and ability to accommodate large format: Clients are using banners and posters more than they had in the past. I think this is due to the equipment being available to produce these items in a cost efficient manner. Like digital printing, when the costs get lowered the usage increases and the public accepts the new norm of the price ranges. This is a growing niche.
3. People realizing (more than ever) the value of their local print professional: People are getting used to printing in color. Because they have the capability to print small quantities at home and can finally understand how quickly they run out of ink they are more likely to come to us to print larger amounts. Once they see the quality of our products, they use us more and more.
Stephen Edman, owner of Minuteman Press in Bellaire, Houston, TX:
1. Pricing: Better accounting and quoting software
2. Speed: Bigger, faster, affordable digital printers that produce good quality printed material.
3. Relevance: Printed material is still very relevant in the market place even in the digital world of smart phones, e-mail, websites with fast and inexpensive printing. AND our own website presence expands our reach.
Science sheds light on the unrelenting need for print (and thus its continued evolution)
A recent study conducted by True Impact Marketing (via Toronto Star), evaluated the effects of print media on viewers. By keeping track of eye movements, pupil dilation and brain activity of 270 people as they reviewed mock ads in digital and print versions. After they viewed the ads, participants were then tested for retention of the advertised message to see if the different mediums impacted how well the messages were remembered. The results illustrated that people retained the printed messages more easily than the digital ads. Apparently, it took 21% additional effort from the brain to process the digital ads. Brand retention was 70% higher for the printed media messages than the digital media ads. Also, participating subjects indicated that they would be “more motivated to act on the print ads than the digital ads” – with motivation scores at 20% higher for print.
George Fair, Minuteman Press International Area Manager for the Pittsburgh Region, could give a multitude of ways that printing has developed since the year 2000, but narrowed his points down to his own top 3:
1. Digital printing: The greater portion of your business is now digital, short run variable data, which are all more cost effective than 16 years ago. It has been a major change incorporating digital printing, which complements your offset printing capabilities.
2. EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail): You are able to reach customers by carrier routes with various sizes and a much reduced postal rate, which has made mass advertising for a customer very attractive – as opposed to pricing 16 years ago.
3. The Internet! Augmented reality is the bridge between printed media and the digital world. This has allowed print to become interactive. Also, SEO and SEM programs enable us to connect with customers in new ways, and the ability to reach out and advertise using QR codes where print drives web traffic is huge. You can invest in SEO and SEM and get towards the top of Google search results, bringing customers in that way. And thanks to the printing industry’s ability to adapt with the times, augmented reality, for example, allows us to create a link between a flyer, a brochure (or any other printed collateral) and more online information. Perhaps a video on the product or service is provided on the printed piece itself.
Continued power of print as it evolves
Printed media will continue to evolve and adapt as certainly as will the needs of humanity to communicate in a meaningful way. The developments within the printing industry since 2000 have allowed us to merge with the advances of digital technology while retaining our essential need to connect with each other via print – without losing any ground. In fact, studies have shown us, repeatedly, that print serves to strengthen our digital communication efforts when applied to marketing strategy and that younger generations will cling to print as surely as our ancestors did, ensuring its continued development and adaptation to the times.