Digital Print as a Marketing Model

By | September 23, 2008

Is digital printing a production technology? Or a marketing strategy? “Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models,” part of Heidi Tolliver-Nigro’s Marketer’s Primer Series, argues for the latter. It presents digital production not as technology in the domain of print buyers and production managers but as the foundation of a comprehensive strategy for changing the way marketers look at document management and marketing.

This report is broken down into five sections.

Section 1: What digital printing is, along with its benefits and drawbacks from a marketing perspective. Examines traditional “sticking points,” including binding and finishing and the availability of substrates. How these characteristics drive key marketing applications.

Section 2: A closer look at each of these applications. Each discussion includes a series of short case studies in each of eight marketing classifications that provide key insights into how these applications are used in the real world.

Section 3: New ways of evaluating cost critical to digital printing success, including cost per piece, cost per lead, and ROI. Hypotheticals are used to drive the points home.

Section 4: Five “critical success factors” that enable marketers to take maximum advantage of digital printing technology. Includes key insights into helping marketers choose the right service provider.

Section 5: Final conclusions and additional resources as a next step.

The goal of the report is for marketers to be left with the understanding that the importance of digital printing has nothing to do with the technology—its costs, its output capabilities, or the applications it can produce, although many of them are discussed. It’s about transforming how they think about marketing.

The important thing is not digital printing technology itself, but the way it can be combined with other technologies (particularly databases, email, wireless, and the Internet) to create broader solutions that make a real difference in how business market their products, as well as how they communicate with customers on a short-term and long-term basis and present their brands.

The information is presented both from the perspective of small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs), as well as large corporate marketers.

Single-user versions of the report can be purchased from the What They Think store, as well as from the Digital Printing Reports website. Licensed versions for internal and external distribution can be purchased from Research and Markets and Market Research, as well as from the Digital Printing Reports website.

“Digital Printing: Transforming Business and Marketing Models” is part of Heidi Tolliver-Nigro’s Marketer’s Primer Series, which also includes “1:1 (Personalized) Printing: Boosting Profits Through Relevance” and “Web-to-Print: Transforming Document Management and Marketing Models.” All three primers are designed both as authoritative primers for marketers and as internal training tools for printers.

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3 thoughts on “Digital Print as a Marketing Model

  1. Michael Josefowicz

    Two small quibbles. Digital printing is a production technology that can integrate with a marketing strategy. One question is who is going to own the marketing strategy. Is it going to be printers? Or is it going to be marketers?

    My opinion is that in most cases it will be the marketers. The printer’s role is to produce print better, faster, cheaper than anyone in their market. The needed innovation for printers, again just in my opinion, is a change in the mindset of “one-stop shopping” or “owning the customer”, not really in educating the marketer.

    Once that mindset changes everyone can concentrate on what they do best.

    I strongly agree with Heidi when she says
    “The goal of the report is for marketers to be left with the understanding that the importance of digital printing has nothing to do with the technology—its costs, its output capabilities, or the applications it can produce, although many of them are discussed. It’s about transforming how they think about marketing.”

    But I think the message for printers could be more clear with the addition of just a couple of words.

    The important thing to “a customer” is not digital printing technology itself, but the way it can be combined with other technologies . . .

    and

    The important thing to “a printer” is digital printing technology and “have all their sales and production people understand how that technology can create new products that will have value to marketers when it is combined with….”

  2. Heidi Tolliver-Nigro Post author

    I understand your points entirely. It’s just that this report is written for marketers, not for printers. I suppose I should really call them “business development tools,” since the idea is that they can be licensed, not just for printers to train internally, but to train externally—to distribute to their customer bases.

    The big challenge in this industry is not why, but HOW — how do I communicate the message to my customers? We’re all used to “printer speak.” It’s “marketer speak” that is much more difficult to master.

    When I wrote the first version of these tools last year (when the entire series of reports was first released by The Industry Measure), I figured with all the writing and analysis I did in the digital printing marketplace, I’d be able to knock out a primer for marketers in a couple of days. In reality, it took me six weeks. The ability to take the techno-speak and put it into a marketer’s language was much more difficult than I thought. I figured, if I had trouble doing it, surely printers would have difficulty doing it, too.

    There are lots of training tools out there, but they are largely to train printers. Printers then have to internalize the information and regurgitate those lessons to their own customers. That’s great, but it’s often the implementation that’s hard. Printers may “get it,” but the time, the skill, and the resources to reproduce those lessons can results in an “I’ll do it later” situation that never materializes.

    Hence the need for plug-and-play training and business development tools, whether from Digital Printing Reports or somewhere else. No internalization, regurgitation, or implementation needed.

  3. Online Printing | PrintPlace.com

    Although the print industry is still strong, it’s obviously faltered with the rise of the Internet, what with all the marketing channels now available to get marketing messages to consumers at lightning speed instead of snail-mail speed. Digital printing will help the print marketing industry by offering smaller production runs, as well as greener printing options.

    Marketers will also be able to get more personalized with digital printing – one small run for business clients and one small run for consumers, with messages tailored to them. As Jeremy Knauff, CEO of Wildfire Marketing Group says, “People love tangible products geared specifically to their business.” I don’t see why digital printing can’t fall into both categories of production and marketing.

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