With the year half gone, most business owners are reviewing their profits and losses for the first six months of 2011. They are re-evaluating their plans for the remainder of the year and creating new strategies to make the most of their budgets, especially when it comes to marketing.
Does this sound like you? Are you currently looking for ways to get the best bang for your buck? If so, pay attention because I am going to share with you the latest trends in the printing industry and the best ways to get a return on your Print marketing investment!
In April, I did a featured article on “Print Strategy” and how to use some of the latest trends in the Printing Industry to expand your reach and improve the impact of your marketing. This month, I am going to focus more on those trends and what they can mean to your business.
The most important change in the Printing Industry in recent years is the emergence of new technology leading to Digital Printing becoming the norm. We have seen a very interesting trend among our clients when it comes to this change. It seems that our long-time clients are more likely to stick with the Offset Printing option and the newer customers are leaning more towards the Digital Printing. In order to understand the importance of this trend, you must first understand the differences between Offset and Digital:
- Offset generally produces a higher quality of printed materials
- Offset is usually the most cost effective solution for higher volume projects
- Offset is often much more expensive for low quantity projects
- Offset is perfect for printing on a variety of materials from paper and cloth to cardboard and plastic
- Offset generally takes longer so it isn’t the ideal solution for jobs which need a fast turnaround
- Digital provides a shorter turnaround time for most projects
- Digital is very cost effective for smaller volume projects
- Though Digital is generally considered to be of a lesser quality, advances in technology have improved by leaps and bounds and the quality has improved considerably over the last few years
- Digital allows the option of variable text or image printing – meaning that each printed item can have a unique or personalized element such as a different name or varying graphics
While in some respects, there is a world of difference between the two, there are also many similarities. Depending upon which option they offer, some printing companies will attempt to steer you to one or the other. However, because of our commitment to providing customers with the best in quality and options, we offer both Digital and Offset. This allows us to ensure that we are able to meet our clients Print needs in the best possible way.
Now, with the whole Offset vs. Digital argument out of the way, here are six of the most popular trends in print marketing today and how you can use them to make an impact on your bottom line:
1. Direct Mail – Even with e-mail marketing and the rising cost of postage, direct mail marketing isn’t dead. The benefits of direct mail have been proven time and again throughout the years and through new ways of identifying our target audience, it has become even more impactful. With the ability to specify demographics like marital status, age, income, interests and more, it is easier than ever to narrow your mailing list. Direct mail is no longer about shooting thousands of arrows into the sky and hoping that one hits your target. Now you can send out fewer pieces and get a better response.
2. Signs, Posters and Banners – With the growing world of trade shows and live events, companies are “getting out there” a lot more. Signs and banners are an absolute must in these situations in order to capture the attention of the hundreds of people wandering through any event.
3. Variable Data Print Materials – With digital technology, it is no longer a far fetched idea to be able to target your printed materials directly to your audience – one person at a time. The ability to merge names from a database and make direct mail pieces personalized or to incorporate personalized elements into images has been shown to improve response by almost double. And, with Digital Printing, not only is this possible, but it’s even affordable!
4. Creative Promotional Products – From custom shaped business cards and magnets to personalized stationary and stickers, businesses are finding more and more ways to put their brand on items that customers will be likely to use every day.
5. Short Run Publications – Thanks to the cost effectiveness of Digital Printing, anyone can publish their own books, guides, manuals, etc. While e-books are great, it’s sometimes necessary to be able to hand out a printed copy of your material and now getting just a few of these to have on hand is easy and doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!
6. Calendars – Even with the popularity of online and mobile device calendars, the printed calendar hasn’t fallen by the wayside. These fantastic promotional pieces are just as popular as ever. It’s a great way to showcase your business and ensure that clients think about you every day.
So, there are plenty of options and still plenty of time for you to plan for the last half of 2011 and make a big splash with your marketing materials. And we would love to help you do so!
Did you find a new hot Print item that worked well for you this year? We’d love to hear about it. Please leave us a comment!