Mass communications and customer experience are disrupting the Print industry
The phrase – disruptive innovation – has been around for over 20 years. In his 1997 book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, Harvard Business School professor, Clayton Christensen, launched the phrase that has since become synonymous with innovation and transformation.
Digital technologies and trends have been major disruptors to the print industry, forcing generations of print professionals to struggle for survival in this always-on, app-driven, instant gratification world. With a legacy of ink on paper and the evolution of all things internet, digital communications quickly became a real threat to the industry, leaving many to proclaim print’s premature death.
But then something happened.
Leading the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies, industry 4.0 is driving printers to become more efficient, streamline their processes, and stop mistakes before they result in customer experience nightmares. These new technologies in print, automation, finishing, inks, papers and more have resulted in an industry pivot that’s driving the need for a new way to market – and sell – print solutions. Solutions that create memorable and relevant customer experiences, a brand differentiator that’s predicted to surpass price and product by 2020.
This year, world-renowned entrepreneur, marketer and publishing guru, Seth Godin’s Print 18 keynote shone a spotlight on the customer experience and reminded printers that (to paraphrase) you’re not selling print; you are selling a story your customer can tell their boss.
You don’t sell ink on paper – you sell a feeling
Selling feelings is not something that most printers are comfortable doing. Selling machines, quality output, services and features are what fall in their comfort zone. For printers to stake their claim and abolish the stigma many still associate with print requires a mindset shift. It requires a disruption – and that disruption is marketing.
When you can pinpoint what’s motivating your buyer, you can develop – and sell – print solutions that help them achieve their goals. In order to do that, you need data that comes from a variety of sources, including your website, your CRM, and anywhere conversations are taking place. This is the stuff of marketer’s dreams. According to TheJobNetwork.com, the demand for market research analysts is expected to grow by a huge 19% by 2022, per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics—much faster than average, putting Market Research Analyst one of the 10 most in-demand jobs in 2018.
During Print 18, I asked 30 exhibitors and visitors 10 yes or no questions to see just how market-ready we are for the workplace revolution happening next year, when more than half the workforce will be made up of millennials (anyone born between 1981 and 1996).
It wasn’t a big surprise to learn that everyone I spoke to know who their competition is and who their buying audience is. But here’s where it gets interesting.
77% of the people I surveyed have internal marketing departments and 83% say that they’re active on social media. But when asked the following question, only 57% answered yes.
Nearly half of the people who took my Print 18 survey answered “No” when asked: Can everyone in your company explain what you do, who you do it for and why it matters?
According to the USPS, 84% of millennials – soon to be the majority of print buyers – take the time to look through their mail. 87% like receiving direct mail, 57% have made purchases based on direct mail offers and 50% say they like to discover what the mail brings every day and consider time spent looking at, and reading it, time well spent.
70% of print industry professionals surveyed use print to generate business and 70% use content marketing to generate leads. 63% of companies surveyed have websites that generate qualified leads. That would explain the following:
60% of the companies surveyed answered “No” when asked if website visitors could figure out what they do and why it matters to them within the first 5 seconds of landing on their home page.
People I spoke to admitted that taking this survey, particularly answering this last question, was a wake-up call for them regarding the impact of having a message that matters. For me, it’s a wake up call to the fact that there’s still a lot of education to be had – both within and outside of the industry – on the new roles that print and marketing play in mass communications and the customer experience.
How do you stack up against the competition? Take the survey now and get the results in real-time. Let 2019 be the year we thrive from the disruption of print.
#Print #B2B #Marketing #CX #CustomerExperience #OmniChannel #CCM #Print18 #Print19
Portions of this article were originally published in Graphic Arts Magazine.