Print industry: A view of the future | DMA

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Print industry: A view of the future


The print market has undergone tremendous change in the last 10 years to the point it is unrecognisable from where it was. The sector has undergone consolidation, reduction in supply and huge technology advancements. We have also seen the growth of data-driven communications spreading across all channels including print. Combine this with the competition for budget allocation now spanning all channels with digital in many cases being the default channel of choice as planners have grown up with this medium.

Print has had to battle through the last decade with a reputation of being inefficient, environmentally bad and unfashionable by the up and coming marketers and planners who have not always understood the full potential of this very effective channel to market.

Today we see a potential renaissance in paper-based communications as brands start to explore and analyse their customer behaviour in more detail. Digital has a massive part to play in client communications going forward but not on its own. Paper-based communications are now integrating with all other channels to provide better outcomes for brands when managing and communicating with their clients and acquisition targets. Email as a channel has previously been a quick, cheap and dynamic channel to push messages out to the market, it is now in danger of being exhausted as a delivery channel. Combine this with the increasing perception that printed media has a higher perceived value, and when done well really does drive exceptional return on investment for brands.

Print can be as dynamic as an email, triggered by data to deliver an automated personalised message in hours not days. Wrapped around the challenges of our sector also sits data compliance and governance, a top priority for all clients as we enter into the new GDPR regulations next year. The cost to manage, comply and deliver data-driven communications has become more defined and formal creating an environment where all parties are accountable for the management of data and the use of. Print companies that can deliver these services using the latest technology in a compliant environment will flourish as communication providers, integrating with other channels as a natural service offering.

What does this mean to users of print as the channel becomes more effective?

  • Print companies are now considered as a communication provider delivering solutions and services
  • These companies will manage your work to the highest quality, be fully compliant, financially secure and professional in their approach and ways of working
  • A more strategic partnership will be formed as both parties drive innovation to improve client communication in all channels
  • Leverage your spending power, delivering better commercials and efficiency in supplier management
  • The cost of ongoing compliance and management of data risk will demand scale from a business
  • Dedicated teams will be focused on all your requirements
  • Technology will be adapted to create better and more efficient ways of working
  • Reviews and innovation sessions will drive better performance from your print-based channels in all areas
  • Specialist teams will be available to manage client audits, DR planning and GDPR

What does the future look like for the industry?

As the industry transforms itself the profile of companies will change, large companies will be consolidated and grow as scalable solution providers with the capacity to invest and maintain strict governance and data security standards. Whilst medium-sized companies will either form part of further market consolidation or be forced to focus on more specialist areas for their business shrinking in size to a boutique player.

Written by: Nick Barbeary, Member of the Print Council and Client Development Director at Paragon Customer Communications

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