What does the year 2018 hold for the community of printers? Here are five of our bold predictions for what will separate successful printers from struggling printers in 2018.
Let’s face it; there’s not as much mail being sent these days. In the U.S. mail volume dropped from a recent high of 212.2 billion mail pieces in 2007 down to 154.2 billion mail pieces in 2016. Same thing in Canada: The volume of transactional mail in Canada dropped from a high of 5.5 billion mail pieces in 2006 down to 3.4 billion in 2016.
Successful printers will realize there’s less competition in the mailbox and see this as an opportunity to make an appearance in that empty mailbox and rise above the noise. They’ll allocate resources towards the execution of a regular monthly direct mail marketing campaign.
Struggling printers will view the decline in mailpieces as a trend, and decide to participate in that trend rather than take advantage of the opportunity it offers.
The comfort of shopping without leaving your desk usually trumps the need to gas up the car and make a trip to the mall. Bumping into someone at the mall still happens, but let’s face it, if you and your customers are anything like the people in these stats, you’re doing a lot of your shopping online these days.
Successful printers will make sure their website has an easy-to-use online ordering system that makes it easy for their customers to shop without ever having to leave the office.
Struggling printers will procrastinate and build their eCommerce website “some day.” Their customers, however, will recognize that places like Amazon.com are the rule now and not the exception and will find a printer that’s already onboard online.
Uneducated voices will continue to spout, “Print is dead!” By their count, though, print has died several times over, even though it hasn’t even died once yet! In fact, print will continue its renaissance as a medium of choice to deliver impactful messages.
Successful printers will be able to show that print is still relevant. It may not be the only game in town for delivering a message (and let’s face it, it has never been the only game in town!), but when there’s an important message that needs to be delivered, there’s a good chance it’s going to be printed.
Struggling printers will notice that there are fewer traditional printed newsletters, and overlook the fact that many businesses print their website address on sheets of paper. They’ll bury their head in their hands and lament that printing isn’t what it used to be.
Here’s a question that always stirs up a conversation in the print community: Should I publish my pricing on my website?
Successful printers don’t worry about a competitor reverse-engineering “their secret pricing formula.” Instead, they worry about customers and prospects abandoning their website when they can’t readily find the information they need to be able to make a purchase. Often the information they need is something as simple as a price.
Struggling printers will not publish their prices online, and prospects will wonder why this information that’s such an important part of making a purchase decision is being relegated to a game of hide-and-seek.
In a day from an era long ago, specialized software like QuarkXpress or Adobe PageMaker (remember those days?!?) was required to create a document intended for print production successfully. These days, print buyers can design just about anything online with no software other than a web browser!
Successful printers will provide their customers with the technology that powers the creation of online design, and they’ll remove resistance from their customers and prospects by providing ongoing education on the benefits of using this technology.
Struggling printers will look at online tools and say, “No way, I can’t get my customers to use that.” (Meanwhile, their best customers are heading to another printer that does offer the tools that enable online design.)
Do you agree or disagree with these observations? How will you approach printing in 2018? Share your thoughts below.