The print service industry is changing rapidly. Print service providers used to be able to simply take requests from customers, print them their materials, and thank them for their business. But if you take a look at the materials being printed, you’ll realize that this simple model is quickly becoming outdated.
Print service providers are printing out marketing items the majority of the time. And marketing is one of the fastest evolving and changing industries because it flows with our trends as a society. As such, because not all customers are as savvy as they should be about such opportunities, print service providers need to come up with new ways to innovate for their customers and provide new value. Being able to provide more value to your customers, is the surest way to maintain their business, and the least expensive way to gain additional work.
There a number of different ways print service providers can go about doing this. The smartest and most lucrative opportunities seem to be centered around the efforts marketers are making to create new ways of engaging and interacting with prospects and customers. There are new markets for application of new printing technology and opportunities right at home created by strengthening the fundamentals of your workflow, educational, and staffing structure. Within these 3 overarching themes are 5 specific trends that print service providers can look to understand and implement in their own businesses.
1. Improved micro-targeting and data analytics
2. Mobile Technology
4. Interactive experiences for customers
5. Automated marketing
Improved Micro-targeting and Data Analytics
Once you get into this trend, you might as well accept that you are now a print service provider AND a marketer, or at least you have to think like one. Print service providers need to be able to provide data to their clients on what marketing tactics are effective, as well as who the best people are to target. Effective micro-targeting can be a crucial element to reeling in customers, and you need to analyze the data of your campaigns to discern where the best demographics are to micro-target. The best ways for print service providers to improve their micro-targeting and data analyzing abilities is through partnerships, hiring, and acquisitions of employees who are well versed in this field and can draw better insights from customers.
Almost everybody you know nowadays has a smartphone. This is one of the most obvious trends that you can tap into. The opportunities for print service providers in this field tend to take the form of different tools that they can use to convert their customers’ PDF files in mobile compatible versions for a variety of different formats and purposes.
This is one of the trends with the most potential right now. The wearable technology industry is still in its infancy, but even in this stage there are opportunities for print service providers to capitalize on regarding marketing. Products like Google Glass and the Apple watch are going to change the game in terms of collecting new marketing data and improving marketers’ abilities to micro-target their prospective audience. The best time to get into this market is now, as it is still relatively untapped.
Interactive Experiences for Customers
On the topic of emerging technologies, customer interaction is another untapped market with endless opportunities. QR codes, NFC tags, text messaging, and even augmented reality all have their applications within the print service marketing world. Just like wearable technology, these interactive technologies are in their infancy for the most part, and that’s always the best time to jump on board with new trends.
The fastest growing area of the management of customer relationships is in automation of the marketing process. The opportunities for print service providers to apply this to their multi-channel marketing campaigns are increasing every day.
Improving workflow processes and using different initiatives for business development are some other key ways print service providers can get ahead. Making the workflow process more efficient and bringing on people who are well versed in performance marketing will save time and money. New printing (and finishing) technology also has to be embraced. For print service providers who embrace all these new changes to the game, profit potential can be unlimited.
New trends and technologies are the path to the future of print service providing. Now that customers are expecting print service providers to help them on the marketing side of things as well; providers need to step their game up and be willing to bring on new experienced employees in the fields of wearable technology, micro-targeting, data analytics, automated marketing, and mobile technology. New printing technology also has to be embraced. For print service providers who embrace all these new changes to the game, profits will be coming in by the truckload.