The Changing Direction of the Print Industry

Print has arguably been disrupted by digital technology more than any other industry. There has been an unprecedented shift from printed publications and marketing materials to digital and online mediums. Both individuals and organisations now have a desire and a need to consume content through digital platforms more than their traditional counterparts. But what does all this mean for the printing industry, and how can it develop strategies to work in conjunction with the requirements of online marketing? How will web offset printing be impacted, and what can you do to ensure that you keep up with industry trends?

How the printing industry is changing

It’s of no surprise to many that the rise of mobile, and online media has caused an influx of changes throughout the global printing industry. Newspapers, magazines, brochures and other print materials have gone from most to least consumed. Businesses have shifted from primarily print media by introducing digital subscriptions, reducing the amount of print media created, and using more targeted marketing strategies for their offline content. However, as research has shown, it’s still clear that consumers of print media are more engaged than digital consumers. With that in mind, organisations who are primarily focused in online marketing are now looking to use printing services once again.

Advantages of using print

It’s clear that there are benefits to using print and it’s also fair to suggest that printing companies won’t exactly disappear. In summary, some of the key advantage of print media are as follows:

• Loyalty – readers who engage more will generally be considered loyal and have an attachment to, or interest in, your brand and work • Trust and Credibility – Offline media still carries with it more respect and a greater sense of authority than its online versions. • Longevity – Your printed materials and will not disappear, they could literally be read and used 20+ years later. It’s clear that there are benefits to using print and it’s also fair to suggest that printing companies won’t exactly disappear. However, it’s clear that recent times have been hard on the industry…

How has web offset printing been impacted?

Web offset printing has historically been used for high-volume printing, such as brochure printing, catalogue printing, magazines, and newspapers. Naturally, despite the above listed advantages of print media, the industry has been negatively affected by the increase in demand for digital content over offline content. Recently, we’ve seen a number of printing companies struggle to meet expectations. Garnett Dickinson Holdings, Garnett Dickinson Print and GD Direct Solutions were placed into administration with KPMG on the 24th January 2017, and long-established family-owned magazine printer Headley Brothers has been put up for sale and has filed for protection from its creditors while the sale process is executed. With some long-established firms feeling the effects of rapidly growing online media is there any place for printing services in an already competitive market? The solution is to work with online platforms, rather than compete against them.

How to effectively use print in alignment with online marketing strategies

Rather than perceiving digital and print media as rivals, it’s important to consider how they can be used in conjunction with one another. This is what many organisations and online entrepreneurs have realised over the last ten years. In essence, what we’re referring to is a multi-channel marketing strategy, and it’s never been more important to have a wide-ranging approach to ensure you’re reaching all your clients or potential customers. This multi-channel approach should enable organisations to use print alongside other marketing channels as part of a bigger picture approach. Each marketing channel will have it’s own benefits, and as mentioned above, print is no different.

How to use print and online media as a multi-channel strategy

As we mentioned, one of the big advantages of print media is the engagement and loyalty factor. Digitally savvy publications and organisations are offering print media to their most engaged users. For example, say an online user is subscribing to your blog, newsletter, and regularly downloads online reports that you create. You may find that they’re also interested in receiving a print version of a report, or would be interested in engaging in a monthly magazine, or even a one-off paperback book.

Here are our top ways that you can use print alongside your online marketing strategy…

Leverage online advertising to promote your offline print materials.

It’s no lie that you can reach millions of users online much easier than you can offline. That’s why it can be incredibly powerful to use some digital services like online advertising to generate interest in your book, report, magazine or paper. PPC (pay-per-click) is the most common form of online advertising and it does exactly what it says on the tin. You pay a set amount of money for every time someone clicks on your ad. You set a budget, an amount or each click, and create your online ad. Once all that is done you’ll select your desired target audience. For example, if you wanted to target males between 25-40 who lived in London, that is perfectly achievable.

Optimise your online content to promote offline content

SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is your bread and butter content marketing strategy by which you optimise your online blogs or articles to rank highly on search engines for keywords. For example, if you sell strawberry jam in London, UK, you’ll probably want to be ranking quite highly for ‘strawberry jam london’.

Use printed materials to direct attention to your online content

Conversely to the above two points, it’s also important to direct users to online resources from your offline material. Advertisements in your printed materials are effective at raising brand awareness and introducing new products or services that users can purchase or gain access to online.

Conclusion: The print industry has changed, but it’s not going anywhere

The print industry has been shaken by digital growth over the last decade, but it still is an important aspect of any multi-channel marketing strategy. Printed materials will not be used in the same fashion they were historically, but rather in ways that complement the online efforts of organisations. If you’d like to find out more about printing services, or how to manage and sustain a robust online and offline marketing strategy you should check out our site for more information.