The Print Production Industry – A Marketer’s Perspective
As a marketer, there’s nothing I enjoy better than observing brand and consumer product trends or, in marketing speak, consumer packaged goods (CPG) In the words of one of my favorite marketing gurus, Jim Joseph, “marketing is a spectator sport and we all learn by watching brands in action.” These days, in my role at Konica Minolta, my view into consumer products and brands is filtered through the lens of our clients, commercial printers and converters, who’s industry is being redefined by both consumer demands and digital trends. And while there are many trends influencing the print industry, I would argue that there are three, broad marketing trends driving much of the disruption we are witnessing today.
Customization and Segmentation
Another way of saying this is SKU proliferation. As consumer brands and products attempt to reach new audiences, increase sales, and extend their product lines, the marketplace is seeing a flood of product extensions. All are meant to cater to and meet the needs of specific customer segments. Take, for example, Tide laundry detergent, with its 25+ line extensions, all of which are packaged or labeled in a variety of ways depending on the size. For P&G, the parent company of Tide, this strategy has worked incredibly well. Through continued research and innovation, Tide’s line extensions have no doubt contributed to its number-one ranking in market share among its competitors.
For printers and converters, the proliferation of product lines means smaller, faster print runs to accommodate a wider variety of products, in fewer or even micro-batches.
In the world of print, digitization is commonly thought of in the context of digital print versus offset printing. However, in marketing and branding, digitization is typically referenced when discussing data analytics and variable data meant to enable personalization and micro-targeting. Long gone are the days of mass marketing. Now, for both business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketers, data driven analysis is determining how we communicate. As an example, data intelligence now allows for omni-channel marketing that includes a blend of print, social, and email campaigns interacting together to reach the target audience with greater impact.
Good design not only exudes and embodies the brand personality; it bolsters the products ability to capture the attention of its target audience. Therein lies one of the greatest challenges of marketers today. Getting the attention of your customers. The last time I checked, consumer attention spans were at an all-time low of eight seconds, making it even more challenging to capture the interest of consumers and prospects. This is especially true for packaged goods, where the stakes are even higher to stand out on the shelf. According to research data1, consumers make subconscious decisions about a product in less than 90 seconds of seeing it, and almost 90% of that is based on color alone. The theory is that color registers faster, visually speaking, than text. Moreover, almost 85% of consumers say that color is the leading factor when making a product selection. Another reason why we believe people “feel color.”
So there you have it, trends influencing print, one marketer’s perspective.