02.04.2024 / Frank Baier

Aspects for Print Successes

The consulting company Simio has conducted a study examining the opinion that industry and trade have of printing.
The authors of the study are Jürgen Burger and Thomas Wehlmann of the independent Simio consulting and analysis team, who have extensive expertise in product communications and also come from printers’ families. The company behind the study is ideell Werk II/priint Group, which produces multi-channel publishing software. Other initiators of the study are the media company Laudert, the data leadership/IT company Parsionate, and the data management specialist SDZeCOM.
A focus on trade and industry
The study is based on personal interviews and an extensive online survey, which focuses on managing directors, marketing directors, and product managers in trade and industry. The study examines print products – for example catalogs, brochures, product flyers, price lists, data sheets, direct mailings, labels, and packaging – but not printed consumer goods such as books, newspapers, periodicals, or postcards. It also examines developments in the perception of print media today and determines that many people responsible for communications regard the print medium as outdated. According to Simio’s research, companies’ current strategic decisions, for example in the furniture/home goods and food industries, clearly reflect this opinion. Finally, however, the study suggests that this perception stems not from the print products themselves, but rather from the changed requirement that information should be tailored individually to the customer’s needs.
Look and feel, smell and sound
According to the authors, “customer data is the key to success for print products in the media mix. A print message placed at the right time can trigger a purchasing decision or turn into a new customer relationship.” Especially the multi-sensory dimensions of print, such as look and feel, smell and sound – and here we’re thinking about the feel of the material, the smell of the print finishing, the sound of paper – can amplify the brand and product image on an emotional level. Upgrades of print products with QR codes, softlinks, and AR applications offer additional information and multimedia content including animations, videos, and interactive applications.
“Print offers an oasis of calm”
Nevertheless, the study highlights the significance of the customer journey and emphasizes that the assessment of a single media channel in the context of the customer journey is not sufficient. Instead, the concern should be to examine the effect of individual touchpoints in interplay with other media channels in order to optimize the overall impression from the customer’s point of view. Digital content passes through the visual field quickly since people remove it spontaneously with a mouse-click. By contrast, printed materials linger longer thanks to their physical presence. As a result, a catalog might be put on the coffee table, or a mailing pinned to the refrigerator. Jürgen Burger and Thomas Wehlmann say: “Repeated perception reminds the reader continuously of the content and message of the printed publication.” In their opinion, print products offer “an oasis of calm and sustainability; they enable deeper, conscious processing of the content and create a reminder that endures beyond volatile scrolling on screens”.
Digitalization as the prerequisite
The results of the online survey also reveal several interesting trends. 90% of those surveyed believe there is potential in process automation for creating print publications. Acceptance of PDF publications depends on the target group and sales platform. Digitalization is a prerequisite for economical print production: One solution is database publishing-linked layout templates with structured data sources, so that ideally, whole print documents can be created completely automatically. Programmatic printing allows automated creation of individual print products (direct mailings, catalogs, etc.) and their postal delivery according to a geomarketing strategy.
Point in time on the customer journey
Clearly only 54% of those surveyed are familiar with their target group’s information needs. Only 33% use cluster brochures to address customers more specifically. The study makes it clear that print is still relevant in today’s communication environment; however, adaptation to the target group’s individual needs and integration into a holistic customer journey are necessary. It is also important to select the right point in time on the customer journey. In the authors’ opinion, touchpoints can be a special brochure for the acquisition of a new customer, a personalized catalog during the purchase process, or even a high-quality print advertisement after a high-value transaction is completed. Jürgen Burger and Thomas Wehlmann conclude that “the opportunities for print in the communication mix are underestimated and used far too infrequently”. If these challenges are confronted, print can be an effective messenger in brand and product communication.
Frank Baier
Editor-in-chief bindereport
02.04.2024 Frank Baier Editor-in-Chief «Bindereport»