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23 Jan 2019

Five drivers that will help print thrive in 2019

Charl Vogel Head of Commercial and Industrial Printing
Production Printing Services

An interesting recent statistic from Quocirca’s Global Print 2025 study found 64% of companies surveyed believe printing will remain important to their daily business even by 2025.

Print is valued and its role remains central thanks to legislative changes, innovation and a convergence of technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Augmented Reality (AR). At Ricoh, we have developed technologies that support impactful cross media capabilities including Clickable Paper that dynamically links print to online content.

We are confident that the value of print will continue to be recognised and here are five drivers that will contribute to this:

1) Direct mail and GDPR
When GDPR was implemented on May 25th 2018 it became clear that electronic mail’s loss was printed direct mail’s gain. With no opt in or consent required for direct mail any operation could create campaigns of legitimate interest to the recipient. The only exception are customer contact lists where customers can pro-actively ‘opt out’.

Artificial Intelligence can unlock the potential for direct mail as a crucial part of integrated campaigns by helping accurately personalise, automate and customise. At Ricoh we have lengthy experience in such data-driven campaigns due to our Precision Marketing practice. Augmented Reality can boost campaign performance, too, by creating a wide range of opportunities to make direct mail interactive.

Royal Mail findings confirm the consistently high return on marketing investment these campaigns achieve. They state 92% of direct mail is opened and prompt 48% of British adults to take action. We believe in direct mail too and use it extensively across Europe and South Africa.

2) Business growth
The Dentsu Aegis CMO Survey 2018 says Marketers are under increasing pressure to deliver business growth, ensure strong brand management and develop the overall customer experience. Print delivers against those objectives. It can measurably complement accurately targeted information with inspired imagery and variable content. Print in a tangible form, still poses as one the most attractive manner to display knowledge and continues to attain the attention of readers who prefer paper to digital. Marketers need to strategically pair print with campaigns/ brand management to enhance the impact made on consumers to ensure print volumes continue to grow.

3) The analogue to digital shift
The desire to create more impactful campaigns is strengthening digital print’s position among today’s multichannel offerings. Its cost-effectiveness and quality rivals offset while also enabling the use of personalisation for targeted campaigns based on data insights. As a result, responsive hardware and software solutions and services will continue to support the unremitting move from analogue to digital production.

4) The sensory dimension
Print has a critical role in helping brand owners and agencies produce creative and memorable results with personalisation delivering maximum effect. One way is with a sensory media experience using special (including textured) papers which can be combined with, for example, white and neon toner, spot UV, metallic and synthetic substrates. A sensory coater, for enhanced haptic effect, is another way to engage emotionally with consumers, add impact to campaigns and create competitive differentiation.

Advertisers are increasingly alive to the results that can be achieved through Digital Print Enhancement and Print Service Providers have a role in promoting these margin winning techniques. That is according to InfoTrends’ Beyond CMYK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing. It shows print buyers will pay premiums of up to 89% for digital print enhancements. This is fuelling adoption that I expect to gather pace throughout 2019.

5) Educational opportunities
Despite this positivity there is a mismatch in marketeers’ perception of print. According to Radiocenter, Ubiquity, 2017 figures, newspapers, magazines and direct mail, were placed third, fourth and sixth respectively among media channels for Return on Investment but some advertisers and agencies placed newspapers and direct mail seventh and magazines tenth. This misunderstanding over effectiveness presents exciting educational opportunities.

Continuing the good work
Helping drive the value of print is co-operation with industry organisations like Print Power and educational programmes. Last year we also held our Europe-wide The Art of The New 18 events. Curated and delivered to inform, educate and discuss, these collaborative approaches promote the power of print. Long may that continue in 2019!

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