Not Your Dad’s Print Shop’s Printer: How New Marketing Tactics Are Leading to a Rise in Unique Printing Solutions

During an age when digital is king, there is now a growing appetite for printed marketing materials to satisfy shorter digital attention spans and overwhelmed inboxes. 

It’s not an easy task for marketing professionals. They need to stay on top of the latest technology developments such as artificial intelligence and social media applications. It can be overwhelming to stay current and differentiate a brand from the noise online, which is why it’s crucial to have a robust strategy for complementing digital with print.  

The modern challenge of digital marketing

Companies are widely using online platforms to reach their target audience. However, most are failing to recognize that their audience is receiving an influx of ads, emails or pop-up banners throughout their digital journey. This causes them to feel just as overwhelmed as the marketers themselves, with 69% of consumers reporting being inundated by email brand communications and 61% by social media. 

So, what is the solution? While digital marketing is typically inexpensive and effective, the aforementioned limitations should drive companies to look for other options. One example is the use of digital production presses to craft thoughtful, vibrant marketing materials that can stand out amongst other brands competing for consumers’ attention.

Back to the future

Printing is back, but it is not your dad’s printer. Long gone are the days of stagnant, dull printed materials that lack depth and vibrancy. Printing has advanced and taken on a variety of new jobs in the marketing world. This includes cool embellishments that make traditional jobs like packaging for a new product, developing a pamphlet to mail to customers, or creating an innovative booklet highlighting a company’s unique business offerings, pop. Further, printed marketing collateral feels more thoughtful, authentic and trustworthy as opposed to online content, and can drive a call to action such as completing a survey or making a purchase. 

While printing will never replace digital marketing, the two can work together to amplify a brand’s message and increase recognition. Having an omnichannel approach for a marketing campaign that includes a mix of mediums, both online and hard copy, can be an effective way to attract customers and offer them a unique, personalized experience. 

Consumers today want to feel special and are looking for an individualized element to feel involved with the companies they are interacting with. This allows them to better connect with a brand or product and can create a sense of community. Nearly 46% of customers are willing to purchase more when they experience a level of personalization in their purchasing journey, and nowadays consumers have come to expect personalization in digital marketing. What is becoming more and more prevalent, moreover, is personalization in print. By printing personalized materials that go together with digital marketing activities whether on email, social media or the brand’s website, companies can deliver a much more effective buying journey for their target audience.  

Get them hot off the press

Digital production printing is the ideal choice for companies seeking solutions to enhance their marketing materials. Production presses offer superior imaging with high-quality performance to bring print jobs to life. Advanced color imaging, razor-sharp print resolution and media handling enables businesses to produce beautiful color output like never before. Color options on presses are far more advanced than traditional printers, providing the ability to match a company’s specific brand hues to physical marketing materials. This creates a professional look, offering cohesion and brand unity across all marketing collateral. 

In addition to specialty colors, brands can add unique, eye-catching elements to print jobs to pop off the page and catch a customer’s attention. This includes vivid metallic colors and dazzling neon to add a new dimension to digital printing. Further, clear ink printing, which is the process of adding a UV clear varnish to the print process as an extra color, can be utilized for specialty jobs to showcase compelling details and increase viewer engagement. 

Beyond visual elements, production presses can now support other sensory elements for unique customer experiences. Modern printers have the capability to incorporate a sense of touch that can be activated by adding an overlay toner of texture for an enhanced feel. We can clearly see the impact touch has when we think of a traditional book. There are a variety of ways to read books now whether it is on a mobile phone or tablet, yet most people prefer the crisp and nostalgic feeling of flipping through the pages of a new read. In short, adding unique sensory features to a printing job can increase retention and make a brand or product experience more memorable. 

Apart from visual elements, one of the top benefits of digital production printing is that it is cost effective. The economy has been unpredictable as of late, causing businesses to be more conscious of where they’re investing their money. By investing in digital production print, businesses have the ability to embellish projects in a streamlined, direct way. Things like micro-fine toner technology in modern printers can produce razor-sharp images with solid color fill and balanced density. The low melting temperature involved requires less energy and helps lower operating costs and increase profitability. Additionally, digital printing allows for short-run packaging rather than a large, bulk order which can increase costs. This strategy is especially ideal for those rolling out new printed materials as users can test and learn by printing a small batch of a few options and seeing which resonates best with customers. For businesses looking to be more sustainable in their practices, small batch printing can reduce their waste and allow them to have excess materials on hand as they print only what they need.

Big data from big projects 

I mentioned personalization is important, and digital production presses can offer that further through their ability to integrate with data management systems. This can be extremely helpful in gathering information on customers’ preferences or interactions with the business or product. This data can be useful for a variety of business needs to better understand their target audience and, in printing, add a level of personalization to materials. For example, a company selling dog supplies can look at its customer data and add a personal element to the exterior packaging such as a customer’s pet name or imagery resembling the breed of dog they own. This can create a more intimate customer experience, developing deeper connections, differentiation in the market and customer retention. 

Bringing in the right partner 

While the color rich, embellished end products will gain customer attention reliably, cost effectively and quickly, getting to these deliverables requires an ecosystem of solutions that all support the goal of the print project. Dealers need great production printers and partners that offer technology that works together to streamline production, make deliverables that pop and are dependable for heavy, consistent use.

It is also important for dealers to educate themselves on the printer of choice as well as similar, competitive products in the field to compare benefits and features. Training and teaching their employees about the printers’ features will be beneficial and will ultimately result in future revenue. Production printers are reliable, produce consistent image quality page after page, are high-speed and can be flexible in their configurations for any print environment. Dealers can communicate these technical features to prospects in addition to the business or marketing capabilities such as enhancing brand awareness, improving cost efficiency or creating a more personal experience with their target audience. Additionally, providing access to a network of highly trained and educated service professionals that a client can rely on will help ensure that there is minimal downtime for any client – a feature that is important for clients to consistently keep their businesses running optimally and bringing in revenue.  

Overall, digital production printing presses can benefit a variety of organizations, amplifying their goals and improving their customers’ experience with their brand or product. Production printers offer high-speed results for a range of needs, providing physical marketing collateral to work in tandem with digital marketing strategies. Unique embellishments like texture, smell or bold neon colors can ensure that content stands out amongst competitors and break through the marketing noise. Printing is here to stay – now is the time to dive in and explore its potential. 

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Dino Pagliarello is Vice President of Product Management and Production Print for Sharp. He leads Sharp's product management team responsible for the full range of multifunction products (MFPs) for the U.S. market. He also leads Sharp's production print business unit. Pagliarello joined Sharp after working for Konica Minolta Business Solutions U.S.A. where his roles increased in responsibility, culminating as the Senior Vice President of Portfolio Management and Planning.