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How Digital Media Realities Create New Opportunities for Print

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Press release from the issuing company

Communications and marketing are definitely not what they used to be. It was hard enough to allocate budgets among several types of print and broadcast media, but now there are myriad formats of online and social media. This makes communications planning and execution more challenging. It's not like markets have changed in size, but we have to work in combinations of media now to achieve the same results we did in the past when there were fewer

The choices also have a different context. Just a decade ago we chose the format and timing of our messages. Today, communicators need to make their messages and layouts open to all "gadgets" like smartphones, tablets, computers, digital signage, and others. The target audience, not the communicator, selects the message format by the device they use, the time, the place, and circumstance of their access. Consumers and business people seek information when they need it. If they don't get information from one sources, they'll get it from another. Also, target audiences can easily ignore messages and digital as communicators flood the market with digital ads, social media, video, and other media.

This means that print media has to be considered in a much different way. Print used to be a "static" medium that did not change. You could always rely on print as a reliable way to present a brand or message in the exact format as designed and planned. Now, print competes with the convenience and immediacy of digital media.

Now what? What is the new role of print? Do new printing technologies create new print advantages? Print can be used more creatively and tactically than ever, cutting through the clutter of digital messages. It can make digital media strategies more effective by having messages viewed in a different light, and help build higher effectiveness of digital communications. Print can change to become a stimulant to digital media access, especially as a means to counter the often low response rate of digital media. 

New digital printing technologies such as Tobe Direct's new HP 10000 can create new high-value, best-cost options for communicators. When tied to data bases, messages enhanced with versioned and personalized content can supplement data bases created from digital media engagement and other sources.

Unlike traditional print methods, the latest digital printing technologies allow communication executives to create response programs tied to marketing automation. Communications can be triggered by online actions of website and social media visitors in almost real-time fashion. This means that marketing and other messages can have greater relevance to the desired audience as it is based on actions of their own choosing.

This transforms print into an action-based medium, in ways it never could be used before. For example, if a website visitor downloads a product information brochure after supplying information about themselves, that person can be send a follow up mailer with details about local distributors and a discount promotion. You can change expiration dates for promotions based on when they requested information. Offers can be based on information from other data (such as credit reports or Census data) or distributor activities (such as whether a distributor participates in a "co-op" advertising program).

Past print methods required that these requests be gathered and held until the targeted list reached a certain size to make costs the printing and achievement of postage discounts worthwhile. Now, digitally print materials of multiple users can be combined to achieve discounts through co-mingling of mailings. Different programs from the same company can be combined in one mailing so that the total pieces mailed achieves needed discounts when had they been sent separately they would not.

Print can be used to revive digital media response. This strategy can recover those contacts who were once active in the digital media initiatives but are no longer doing so. E-mail addresses often go out of date faster than physical addresses. Promotions can be sent to "lost" contacts with incentives to update their information, keep data bases current, save costs of follow-up, and re-engage former clients. When digital media is no longer working, print can reinvigorate a data base.

Tobe Direct's investment in this new technology is part of a new printing industry trend with an old history. Not many print businesses have the financial strength and market position to make the investments in the equipment and workflow processes necessary to take best advantage of new techniques. Print is in an intensely dynamic media market, and having access to new methods is essential for print businesses and print brokers.

This means that the lowest-risk way to gain access to new communications techniques is by forming alliances with print brokers and other printers. In this manner everyone benefits from the skills and expertise required for that technology. The printing industry benefits as well, as media decision-makers can experience cutting-edge approaches that can keep print in their media budgets and plans.

Digital media is becoming better, richer, and more responsive. As audiences become overwhelmed with media, print will be a vital way to cut through the clutter for the most creative communicators. New print technologies provide flexibility and responsiveness that are essential to client's effective use of their communications dollars, and create new opportunities for all print professionals.


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