A survey by Xerox points to increased optimism among its commercial print partners around the world with more than 70% predicting that print will remain a major part of the marketing communications mix.
The survey of 485 members of Xerox’s Premier Partners Global Network also found about half were looking to differentiate their business by transforming their companies from printers to marketing services providers.
"The common thread from partners is that everyone is looking at where print can fit into their customer’s new business outreach or integrated marketing campaign," said Mary Roddy, global marketing manager for Xerox Premier Partners Global Network, who helped oversee the survey.
"We’re now past the debate of the past few years of whether print is dead. We know print is going to be alive and now it’s a matter of figuring out where print is going to fit and how can I maximize that."
Nearly three in four of the Xerox respondents also noted the transition from monochrome to color print was gaining steam and that many digital printers were seeing growth packaging, photo specialty and transpromo in addition to variable data direct mail.
"The other one I would add in there is wide-format applications, whether those are poster size or point of sale type printing," Roddy said. "We’ve seen that wide format has some new growth potential for our members as well.
The survey also noted that many of the printers felt the economic picture was not nearly as daunting as it was in 2011 or 2010 and a growing number also expressed optimism that their volumes were steadying, while the opportunities for applications growth and new revenue increased.
"So we’re very encouraged by the data as we are by the belief among the partners that print will always have a place the overall marketing mix," Roddy said.
By far the most requested new value-added service among customers of the printing companies surveyed was web to print, followed by PURLs, QR codes and mobile feedback and personalization.
Xerox released the survey during this week's Graph Expo and Beth Ann Kilberg-Walsh, vice president of marketing and communications, suggested the cautious optimism in the survey was reflected at the company’s Graph Expo. "Graph Expo went very well," she added. "We had a lot of traffic and lot of activity and a lot of very excited customers."