Printed marketing materials can be the neglected tools in a world where digital marketing has monopolized the attention of many small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) attempting to establish brand presence for their business or product. While digital marketing certainly can have a positive impact on a business’s market share, printed marketing materials play a significant role in consumer brand recognition, especially at the local level. This is doubly true if a company’s printed marketing materials are in color.
SMBs and color marketing
Developing brand recognition is critical for any business owner as they seek to ensure their brand is easily recognizable. As a business engages with new and existing customers, marketing with color, when done correctly, can assist businesses in standing out from the competition by evoking specific feelings in consumers.
According to the Entrepreneur article “The Psychology of Colors in Marketing and Branding,” focusing on individual color associations when marketing for your brand is far less important than choosing colors based on the personality of the brand itself. An example: If the goal of the business’s product or service is to elicit a sense of relaxation in the consumer, an ultra-bright neon or red logo to instill urgency or interest is probably not the best way to go. The subconscious and personalized association of colors can be changed, however, through brand recognition or familiarity. Firms must think about the colors they choose for marketing their brand, the article argues, for those colors will affect customer brand reaction, loyalty, reliability, and ultimately sales in the future.
The rise of inkjet technology
Historically, most SMBs would outsource color marketing projects because of the relatively high cost of in-house color printing. However, there are downsides to outsourcing materials.
Often, SMBs lose a bit of control over the messages they are communicating to consumers because they do not have ample time to perfect them. An SMB sending print materials to an outsourcer has virtually no room for error in design. Last-minute changes to graphics are not an option because a perfectly polished version of the print material needs to be sent by a deadline. For this reason, printing materials in-house offers numerous benefits. According to an IDC market overview, “Customers [of inkjet printers] understand the value of color, and they want to bring more of it in-house.” In-house color printing ultimately brings a sense of control back to SMBs.
In fact, IDC also expects incredible growth of $400+ inkjet multifunction printers (MFPs) within businesses through 2020. At approximately 16 billion inkjet MFPs currently being housed in businesses, this number is expected to grow to over 30 billion — nearly doubling it.
With the improved technology coupled with the affordability and cost benefits of multifunction inkjet printers, SMBs can inherit complete control over their own in-house color printing which can prove to be speedier than — and as reliable as — outsourcing.
Reliability, dynamicity and affordability
Speed, affordability, print quality and reliability of in-house inkjet printers is essential. These aspects of color printing, with suitable and improved inkjet technology, will remain effective for SMB marketing. The multifunction — or dynamicity — aspect of an inkjet printer is as necessary for these characteristics. Companies market through a variety of print media, and today’s inkjet devices are up to that challenge now, more than ever before.
A last-minute change to a graphic, or personalization of a printed piece is now a non-issue. Regardless of what the marketing platform may be, today’s business inkjet printers offer high-quality prints on a wide variety of media types, ensuring the brand is well represented. Since SMBs are essentially eliminating third-party outsourcing, changes can be made with virtually no impact on time, cost or quality of print.
SMB, meet dealer: A relationship built on color
In-house, high-quality inkjet technology is a win-win situation for both dealers and SMB owners. SMBs have a variety of options to choose from when picking inkjet MFPs, and dealers have a larger market with these small businesses no longer outsourcing.
Small to medium-sized business owners can now compete against larger enterprise market competitors. SMBs can dominate the arena of digital and online marketing, as well as utilize in-house printed collateral at a cost-effective rate.
For dealers looking to grow their business, SMBs purchasing in-house inkjets will do that. On top of no longer outsourcing work, an increase in SMBs’ printed colored pages will increase dealers’ revenue, too.
Businesses looking to bring printing in-house can incorporate inkjet machines into print management agreements for standard, cost-effective monthly payments. Cost effective aspects of print management agreements include eliminating the burden for IT, locking or unlocking access to color printing based on department, and the ability to track printing so managers can recover print costs for the business’ bottom line.
Advances in in-house inkjet technology, function and accessibility have created a sphere for SMBs to thrive. Competing with larger enterprises has been made easier for owners who are looking to gain market share through new and improved, high-quality color printing abilities.
is Director of Business Imaging at Epson America, and leads the marketing of Epson’s WorkForce products into North America, including the revolutionary new 100-page-a-minute WorkForce Enterprise WF-C20590 printer. He is an industry veteran with more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience.