The summer's high-spending events have certainly proved that print has a significant role to play, in spite of hype around digital advances, but the industry could do more to sell itself as a green medium
In many ways, this year has seen a long-awaited reaffirmation of print’s place in the marketing mix. The Olympics and the Jubilee celebrations highlighted the power of large-scale print campaigns as well as that of innovative direct mail and point-of-sale applications, while elsewhere there has been a return to traditional print techniques, such as letterpress, as an antidote to digital fatigue. Print has also made itself greener, leaner and more reactive than it ever has been, with flexibility and service key drivers to many a printer’s profitability.
This success is reflected in this year’s survey of print buyers and marketers, which found the £3m-£5m print spend bracket is more populated than ever before, with 7.4% of respondents ticking that box, compared with 2.2% of respondents in 2011. This reflects not just more print being bought, but also more high- value print being bought.
This comes in spite of the fact that the industry is apparently still failing to promote itself as an effective communications and advertising medium. In fact, things have got even worse compared with last year – in 2011, 76.3% of those questioned believed print was not doing enough to talk itself up, in 2012, that has gone up to 79.7%.
The survey suggests printers are doing slightly better in promoting their environmental credentials, however, with 35.3% believing print was greener than electronic media, compared with 34.8% in 2011. Nevertheless, the public still overwhelmingly perceives electronic media as greener than print, according to the survey, while Two Sides is less visible in 2012 than it was in 2011, with just 24.1% of respondents knowing about the lobby group, as opposed to 27.1% knowing about it last year. More work needs to be done, then.
It may be, though, that the environment is simply not on the agenda for buyers and marketers. There has been a vast fall in the number of respondents who say they consider green issues when making purchasing decisions, with a drop from 65.9% in 2011 to 55.7% this year for print. This suggests that, in tough times, it is price and service that rule and the environment takes a bit of a back seat, which is a shame as print has a lot to offer on this front.
It’s a mixed bag, then, overall. While the success of a higher print profile and more print spend should be celebrated, a continuing failure from the industry to talk up its successes still needs to be addressed. Hopefully, the Power of Print will be a spark to ensure that in 2013, the print industry learns to be a little more talkative about the excellent work it is consistently producing.
PrintWeek polled the opinions of hundreds of print buyers and marketers for the annual Power of Print survey to see how they are changing their priorities and buying habits when it comes to print. Click to see the results for each section.