Report reveals printer communications gap

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Printers need to get on the front foot and provide their clients with ideas, innovation, support and guidance they say they want – but only a few are doing it, according to the latest Insight report from Canon.

Chasm between printers and markets: Canon Insight Report
Chasm between printers and markets: Canon Insight Report

The research revealed that fewer than 20 per cent of print businesses are fulfilling the needs of their customers. At a time when brands are under more pressure than ever to achieve, due to static or declining marketing budgets, 80 per cent said they would welcome more creative input from their suppliers representing a clear opportunity for print.

The report says marketing managers are under pressure to provide instant justification for their spend, with companies wanting to prove the return on investment (ROI) of their campaigns with measurement, which print struggles to deliver, while digital marketing with its click throughs, likes, shares, and the like, gives the figures they increasingly crave. Print in contrast lacks the metrics that marketing increasingly needs. Anyone that has tried to sell print advertising or marketing will have come up against the ROI argument, usually within the first five minutes of a conversation

However, the reoprt says marketers can view print as slow and expensive, and not as targeted as digital can be. “The real Achilles’ heel is measurability,” says the report. “An ROI is virtually impossible to measure.”

So, brands are drifting to digital, and now investing 46 per cent of their budget in online marketing. Almost all, some 95 per cent, said that they had increased their digital presence in the two years leading up to the call from the researchers.

The report says this comes despite the fact that they are aware of the limitations in using digital-only campaigns, they know that consumers are suffering from digital fatigue, that bulk email fails to deliver, that digital engagement is low and that consumers are sceptical of brands on social media.

Almost all survey participants - 97 per cent - said they used print alongside other marketing modes and almost half - 47 per cent - frequently run integrated campaigns involving print. With 33 per cent of today’s marketing budget devoted to print, it’s seen as the bedrock of brand campaigns.

The Canon report says marketing departments want to use print. Overall, 33 per cent of budgets are spent of print, and 30 per cent of marketing heads says print remains at least as important of a channel as digital.

However, while the response to print gives hope, there is still a problem, according to the report. Canon has uncovered a chasm between, on one side, what marketing departments say they need in terms of innovative ideas, support and guidance on how to use print and how to use it in combination with digital, and how to deliver a greater impact with print, and on the other side, with what printers are delivering. According to the report few are offering what is needed.

Three-quarters of marketers say they want their print suppliers to be more consultative, but only 20 per cent of them act in this way. One-third of marketers says they would benefit from support and guidance they are not currently receiving.

Canon’s report says the solution is for printers to focus on this rather than be too concerned about price. It says few marketeers choose the cheapest printers. It says its research revealed in the report shows that, “Most providers of print services today are missing opportunities to give marketing decision makers more of what they want,” the report concludes.

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