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A Year of Growth and Refinement: 2019 Outlook for Print Service Providers

With 2018 in the rearview mirror, now is the time to reflect on and refine your investments and innovations as we take on 2019. It is already shaping up as a year of growth for well-prepared print service providers of all sizes. Growth and refinement should be the goals for PSPs in 2019, and this involves attracting and retaining top talent, preparing for automation and operational excellence, focusing on value-added services, and attaining effective marketing activities. With these goals in mind, here are some tips for PSPs from Keypoint Intelligence — InfoTrends’ annual Road Map.

Refine Your Company Culture and Attract Top Talent

Delivering great experiences to customers and driving profits starts with company culture. A great company culture translates into happier customers. What’s more, employees who work for organizations whose goals align with their own are happier, more productive, and more loyal.

Embrace Different Sales Techniques for Different Buyers

Be prepared to sell into a new environment with a wealth of information on the internet, increased competition, a rising number of decision-makers, and a focus on price as the primary differentiator. Buyers’ expectations are changing, and selling techniques must often be altered to accommodate different types of buyers. No salesperson can be all things to all buyers, so setting your sales team up for success means tuning your selling techniques to the expectations of different types of buyers as you expand into new verticals and new product offerings.

Prepare for Automation and Operational Excellence

Management personnel within the print industry must lead the transformation in their printshops to achieve the levels of operational excellence that will enable their businesses to grow. The industry’s constantly evolving technologies will become more automated, so print service providers must proactively embrace automation that eliminates touchpoints in the printshop and work to eliminate the management of spreadsheets that can prevent operational excellence.

Don’t Forget the Power of Personalization

InfoTrends’ research has consistently shown that consumers notice personalization, and it often plays a key role in how they interact with transactional and marketing communications. This same research has also determined that consumers will spend more time reviewing personalized content than generic content. This is especially true for younger consumers in the ever-important 18–34-year-old age bracket. In fact, these younger individuals reported that personalized content was the factor that made them most likely to engage with direct mail as well as marketing emails.

Elements That Drive Engagement

Elements That Drive EngagementElements That Drive Engagement

Sources: Beyond CYMK: The Use of Special Effects in Digital Printing, InfoTrends, 2016; Canada Post (performed by True Impact); Impact communications; In Search of Business Opportunities: Finding the Right Prospects, Keypoint Intelligence — InfoTrends, 2017; Neo Mammalian Studios; Response Rate Report: Performance and Cost Metrics Across Direct Media, ANA/DMA, 2018.

Grow Customer Engagement with More Than Just Print

Print continues to play a key role in driving customer engagement, but it is only one component of a truly immersive experience that must include a seamless combination of traditional, digital, social, and mobile interactions. The most successful PSPs and in-plant operations are reviewing their touchpoint capabilities with an eye toward adding more capabilities directly or via partnerships.

Cultivate Smart Print Manufacturing Using Hybrid Solutions

In 2019 and beyond, success will require redefining print manufacturing to make it smarter with automation and more engaged with digital delivery channels. Adding subscription- and cloud-based workflow tools can extend Smart Print Manufacturing capabilities without a huge investment. At the same time, printed products can continue to compete against the speed, cost, and targeting capabilities of digital offerings by creating hybrid communication solutions that link print and digital. Augmented reality and QR codes are great solutions that all print organizations should consider.

Consider a Vertical Market Approach

Realistically, printers cannot do everything and satisfy everyone’s needs because resources will not stretch that far. Successful print service providers will target their offerings toward customers that need and want their services while setting aside the customers that don’t fit that profile. To differentiate themselves with a vertical market focus, savvy PSPs are ensuring that their salespeople understand the printing and service requirements of the industries to which they sell. Product and service marketing efforts must also address these requirements.

High-Growth PSPs Focus on Value-Added Services

High-Growth PSPs Focus on Value-Added Services

Sources: Winning in an Evolving Print Services Market, Keypoint Intelligence — InfoTrends, 2018.

Focus on Value-Added Services and Effective Marketing Activities

According to recent research from InfoTrends, high-growth PSPs reported placing a greater focus on non-print-related value-added services (e.g., cross-media, email, mobile, social media, campaign management) and digital asset management. These options can increase customer loyalty and shift the relationship from service provider to partner.

Spend Your Training Dollars Wisely

Today’s businesses need a plan of action for training to develop the right expertise. Ongoing training is vital to an effective sales management process. Sales managers must educate their sales teams to set them up for success, and this starts with building a learning culture where each employee is held responsible for his or her own professional development. Training should cover the sales process, sales insight and skills, target markets, and relevant products and services.

Acknowledge the Continued Importance of Printed Books

Modern enterprises are seeking a partner with the skills, technologies, and multichannel know-how to future-proof their communication strategies. Service providers must find a way to elevate their purpose beyond helping their clients save money on commodities and delivery. As we move into the future, providers that can empower their clients to generate fresh revenue through communication innovations and improved customer experience will have the best position for success in this multichannel market.

2019 is About Growth and Refinement!

During 2019, print service providers must refine their sales strategies and business practices to generate growth. Our industry is facing a significant number of disruptions from a variety of forces, including emerging technologies, sales strategies and training, print’s changing role in the communications ecosystem, and the importance of data management in delivering personalized and relevant communications. Download Keypoint Intelligence — InfoTrends’ full 2019 Road Map white paper to learn more about the strategies that can enable you to make better business decisions, craft strategies, and implement plans to innovate your operations throughout the year.

Did you know… Transitioning to production inkjet can help you use variable data and print shorter runs, making print more affordable.
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