Gary Wilson joined Expense Reduction Analysts in 1997 and has since worked on over 100 projects for clients around Australia. Gary specialises in reprographics, mail house and business process outsourcing, and is passionate about print.
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the digital era, but many companies are recognising that print is still a highly effective communication channel. Companies such as Google, LinkedIn, Amazon, and Apple are all using print as part of their marketing strategies.
It is even being said that print is having a renaissance. It is undoubtedly true that a large number of companies are switching some of their marketing budgets from digital to print. Each day 20 million Australians receive printed direct mail marketing material in their letterbox.
Print trends for 2018
The revival of direct mail
Direct mail is having a resurgence with companies focusing on smaller runs with more personalisation. Driving this trend is an opening rate of 92% and a customer preference of 73% for direct mail marketing.
Direct mail’s performance has proven to be enhanced when it is part of an integrated multi-channel programme. Printers continue to take advantage of changes in technology to drive their businesses to provide quality products at cost-effective prices.
Source: Blue Star Direct Group
New inkjet printer technology
A game changer is well on the way for the industry. New age inkjet machines have begun to arrive in Australia. They will create a new production and cost platform that marketers will be attracted to. This is not the inkjet printer that we remember from the past which was low cost and low quality.
These machines operate at half the cost for web press work, such as books, direct mail and transactional documents. The potential is there for this new technology to also meet the demand for medium length high-quality print. As their speeds increase, the potential is also there for inkjet machines to replace offset printers, the ‘holy grail’ of the longstanding highest print quality.
This technology will also make it possible to eliminate the current two-pass print process through direct mail and other personalised applications. It will combine the printing of high-quality base images, currently printed by offset machines, and personalised variable data in one print pass. A huge game changer for the industry and its customers.
Changes to the supplier pool
Print company acquisitions and mergers will continue, resulting in fewer but more substantial printers. The goal is to gain greater efficiencies and higher technical resources. For print buyers, there will be a broader range of options, increased personalisation, more extensive range of high-quality options and strong market pressure to provide highly competitive pricing.
The pressure to respond to rapidly changing communication trends requires significant innovation, flexibility, highly skilled staff, latest technology, and money. Many small to medium-sized printers find meeting these challenges a ‘bridge too far’.