Canon Europe has launched the results of its latest Insight Report, ‘Creating Customer Value’, which revealed the changing demands of the print buyer and the untapped opportunities for print service providers (PSPs) and in-house print rooms.

The research uncovered that fewer than 20% are fulfilling the needs of their customers. At a time when brands are under more pressure than ever to achieve due to static or declining marketing budgets, 80% said they would welcome more creative input from their PSPs – representing a clear opportunity for print.

Insight Report highlights:

– Fewer than 20% of print service providers (PSPs) are fulfilling their customers’ needs.
– 80% of print buyers express the need for more creative input from their print providers.
– 86% said they would welcome advice on combining print with digital elements.
– 75% of brand marketers interviewed want their PSPs to be more consultative.

With a focus on measurement to prove the return on investment (ROI) of their campaigns, brands have drifted to digital, investing 46% of their budget in online marketing. But they are aware of the limitations in using digital-only campaigns and that consumers are suffering from digital fatigue. The good news is that almost all survey participants (97%) said they used print alongside other marketing modes and that almost half (47%) frequently run integrated campaigns involving print. With over 33% of today’s marketing budget devoted to print, it is seen as the bedrock of brand campaigns. What is more, 30% of communication buyers believe that print will continue to remain as important, or become even more so, in the next few years.

Brands need to be able to justify their investment in chosen marketing tactics, and when they can see the effectiveness of print, they are happy to increase its share in their communications mix. In fact, 40% of brand marketers surveyed said they would invest more in print if their budgets were doubled. However, one in three revealed that they have no way of measuring their print campaigns.

In response to this, 86% said they would welcome advice on combining print with digital elements for a more integrated approach. The research also reveals that 80% of brands are looking to their print providers for fresh and innovative ideas that will enable their campaigns to cut through to their target audiences. In fact, 75% of brand marketers interviewed want their PSPs to be more consultative.

Considering this positive news for print, the commercial print professionals that succeed will be the ones that change the way they interact with their customers by sharing their expertise and re-framing themselves as consultants. There is a clear, untapped business opportunity here: to extend their value beyond print and change the dynamics of the relationship with their customers to achieve growth.

Speaking about the Insight Report’s findings, Mathew Faulkner, EMEA Senior Marketing Manager for Canon Europe’s Professional Print Business said, ‘What is clear from the research is that, while PSPs are getting the basics right, there is a gap between what customers want and what is being delivered. By using each customer interaction as a chance to demonstrate their expertise, PSPs can add value and help brands maximise the effectiveness of print. It’s also an opportunity to prove print’s ROI by showing them how it can be used to boost engagement or provoke an action at various stages along the customer journey. By working more collaboratively with their customers and understanding more about their marketing campaigns, print professionals can spot more opportunities and show customers how it can be integrated within wider brand campaigns. As a result, PSPs will be able to not just fulfil an order but create customer value by going beyond the brief.’

Building on this insight, Canon has developed its flagship Canon Ascent Programme to coach PSPs and in-house print rooms on building a closer working relationship with their customers and learning how to evolve their offering and deliver added-value services.

The Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) perspective

During a virtual session where the report results were revealed, Africa Print asked if the report indicated that print has stronger favour than digital from an African perspective.

‘In terms of print and the use of integrated campaigns, print certainly is more preferred in some of those developing regions, so perhaps there has been less drift towards digital at this moment,’ said Faulkner.

A question from Egypt was raised, asking how the digital print market has been affected by the pandemic in the Middle East and North Africa.

‘What we’re seeing from the Insight Report is that trends are broadly similar across all of the EMEA territories,’ said Faulkner. ‘What we found in some of the developing regions – which we would categorise as outside of the main Western European markets – was that there was greater value placed on print as part of campaigns. There was actually a greater importance placed on price, but not so much pressure on turnaround times within print organisations, and it was the medium sized businesses within developing regions that placed that importance on print.’

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