Canon report finds buyers want more input from printers

Richard Stuart-Turner
Thursday, February 4, 2021

Fewer than 20% of printers and in-house print rooms are fulfilling the needs of print buyers, according to new research from Canon Europe.

Many buyers believe that print will continue to remain important
Many buyers believe that print will continue to remain important

Launched today (4 February), the manufacturer’s latest Insight Report on ‘Creating Customer Value’ found that the demands of the print buyer are changing and represent untapped opportunities for printers and in-house print rooms.

It found that, at a time when brands are under more pressure than ever to achieve due to static or declining marketing budgets, 80% of buyers said they would welcome more creative input from the printers they work with.

With a focus on measurement to prove the ROI of their campaigns, Canon found that brands have drifted to digital, investing 46% of their budget in online marketing.

However, they are aware of the limitations in using digital-only campaigns and that consumers are suffering from digital fatigue.

Nearly all (97%) of survey participants said, however, that they used print alongside other marketing modes while almost half (47%) frequently run integrated campaigns involving print.

More than a third (33%) of today’s marketing budget is devoted to print and 30% of buyers said they believe that print will continue to remain as important, or become even more so, in the next few years.

40% of brand marketers surveyed said they would invest more in print if their budgets were doubled but one in three revealed that they have no way of measuring their print campaigns.

In response to this, 86% said they would welcome advice on combining print with digital elements for a more integrated approach.

The research also revealed that 80% of brands are looking to their print providers for fresh and innovative ideas that will enable their campaigns to cut through to their target audiences. 75% of brand marketers interviewed said they want the printers they work with to be more consultative.

Canon said the commercial print professionals that succeed will be the ones that change the way they interact with their customers by sharing their expertise and re-framing themselves as consultants.

Speaking during a webinar launch of the report this morning, Mathew Faulkner, EMEA senior marketing manager for Canon Europe’s Professional Print Business, said:

“[The research] firstly paints a very clear picture of the challenges that marketing teams are facing, with a new dimension added by Covid-19. It’s an honest reflection of how marketing decision-makers struggle when they have to do so many things – to prioritise budgets, to connect with audiences and make considered channel choices and maximise campaign performance.

“At the same time they must also justify their actions to senior management in their business. So it gives us a real insight into the mindset of the people that are buying print and it lays out clearly what they need from their supplier partners, including print service providers.”

He added: “Secondly, it reassures us that print’s role is both recognised and valued by marketing decision-makers but it also shows that there are many unhelpful perceptions of print in the marketing community and it’s these that are holding back marketers from using print as much as they might like to. So as an industry we need to work hard to dispel these.

“And thirdly – and this is really the crux – the research exposes a troubling disconnect between what marketers want and need and what PSPs are currently delivering.

“So the report is an important wake-up call for PSPs that should encourage them to reflect on whether they are really optimising their relationships with print buyers. There’s really a positive opportunity for them to develop their businesses.”

To compile the report, 235 senior marketing managers working in a variety of organisations in terms of size and vertical markets across EMEA were interviewed by an independent research agency between March and June 2020.

80% were end-customer print buyers working in-house within the brand while 20% were from agencies.

Building on this insight, Canon has developed the Canon Ascent Programme, which aims to coach printers and in-house print rooms on building a closer working relationship with their customers and learning how to evolve their offering and deliver added-value services.

The programme, which aims to inspire them with insights, workshops, mentoring and community knowledge sharing, will be delivered by industry experts and Canon specialists and offers support across business functions including sales and marketing.


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