After following the digital printing / 1:1 (personalized) printing industry since 1993, not much surprises me these days. But something has been surprising me.
In my Marketer’s Primer Series, I have four reports: digital printing, personalized URLs, 1:1 (personalized) printing, and Web-to-print. Digital printing, both as a technology and a marketing strategy, has been around for a lot longer than the applications that it drives. Especially in this environment of “everything personalized,” I would expect the greatest interest to be in the reports on personalized URLs and 1:1 (personalized) printing. Yet, sales and hits to the “Digital Printing: Transforming Business Models and Marketing” page far exceed those on the reports on personalized URLs or 1:1 (personalized) printing, or Web-to-print.
This was the case last year, and that trend has been continuing—even with the release of the new report (personalized URLs).
It’s not a matter of presentation. The website pages look nearly identical. The marketing copy is set up the same way. There is something about the topic of digital printing itself that people are still primarily interested in—more so than the narrower, more specialized applications, even though those applications are the headliners for keynote speeches and Webinars. I’ve raised the topic elsewhere, and some have suggested that far more people are printing static jobs than they are 1:1 jobs, whether personalized URLs or something else — the business model for 1:1 is so new.
I’m having a hard time with this. The whole “digital printing as a business model” discussion started more than a decade ago. It’s not a new discussion. 1:1 printing has been around in a pretty healthy way since the mid-1990s. Just look at the PODi case study archives.
That digital printing — as a topic — would be outselling and out-hitting these “hot” topics is really interesting to me. Who asks writers to cover the subject of “digital printing” anymore? It’s always the latest in 1:1, personalized URLs, or Web-to-print. Yet, when I look at the counters on the Digital Printing Reports website, it is clear where the trend is. It’s digital printing itself. Somehow, despite its long tenure in the marketplace, the broader topic of marketing and selling digital printing is still far more relevant to people than the narrower applications.
I don’t know if y’all are tracking with me on this one, but I find this fascinating. Maybe it’s just me.