In the most recent print edition of Blueline Magazine Joanne Gore, Director of Marketing for Avanti Systems, outlined ideas that successful printers embrace. During my career, I’ve interacted with many printers in the Midwest and over the last few months have met others from around North America. Here are the top trends I’ve witnessed taking hold in the commercial printing industry:

 

Offer Services Besides Ink on Paper

Printers who have structured services that come from outside the traditional function of manufacturing print collateral have more to offer their clients. Some of these streams include data management, mail services, and fulfillment services. It’s a mentality transition from “we manufacture this custom printed piece” to “we manage delivery of your marketing content”, digital or physical.

 

Have Large-Format Capacity

Wide-format digital printing is projected to continue to grow at a rate of 6% – 10% over the next five years. Printers who have installed this equipment can offer their customers indoor and outdoor displays, banners, point-of-purchase signage, retail advertising, vehicle graphics, floor graphics and scaffold wraps. It adds convenience for a client who needs a one-stop-shop for their comprehensive marketing collateral needs. The printer can now offer to mix the product brochures, catalogs, financial documents, and business cards with the wide format production to potentially combine shipments. It also allows for better understanding of the end user’s need for color match, logo usage and appearance of the brand.

 

Online Ordering

The trend of online ordering is only going to grow. If you consider your personal buying habits over the last five years, what percentage of your purchases now come with the tap of the enter button? In our household, Amazon Prime is saved as a favorite. Printers who offer a storefront or online portal to allow online ordering have an advantage and the demand for this service grows with each graduating class entering the workforce.

 

The Leaders Serve

It could be the owner, president, general manager, sales manager or a combination of any or all of them, but some combination of this group serve in their community. And when the leaders serve, it often extends through the organization.  They are involved in organizing and helping in associations that promote the industry such as the local PIA branch or AIGA. They volunteer time to help educate the next generation of craftsmen and print executives at trade schools or universities. The successful companies often contribute time and effort to local service organizations beyond the industry chapters.

 

Rethinking your offering can be a daunting task, but it can also be very rewarding. What are the top trends you’ve seen successful printers embrace?

 

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