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Opportunities in print

New Canon report highlights opportunities and challenges facing corporate print rooms and commercial print service providers

Demand for print as a communications medium is still healthy and has seen little decline in the last two years
Demand for print as a communications medium is still healthy and has seen little decline in the last two years

Demand for print as a communications medium is still healthy and has seen little decline in the last two years. Even so, more in-house and commercial print service providers (PSPs) recognise they will have to change if they are to continue to meet the needs of customers, Canon claims in its latest Insight report, Building your future with print.

The international survey of 275 commercial printers/corporate print centres and 277 print and media buyers found that 62% of print and media buyers are still commissioning print for their communications campaigns. However, 38% of buyers expect to reduce their use of print as they migrate to more measurable and trackable digital alternatives. Faced with this trend, four out of five corporate print centres and PSPs recognise the need to change the way they operate.

While print buyers are broadly satisfied with in-house and external print providers – with 84% stating they meet their communications needs – Canon says there is still scope for greater customer engagement. For example, only 56% of print buyers feel they are made aware of new developments by their print suppliers.

As well as providing customers with more and better advice on the latest print products and technologies, Canon advises PSPs to do more to promote print, which is still valued by buyers for its ability to reflect quality, reach ‘offline’ audiences and differentiate messaging from digital communication.

Areas of growth

Awareness and use of digital print applications and services is increasing, with short run publications, print-on-demand and web-to-print all continuing to grow, fuelled in part by buyers’ cost and time pressures.

Web-to-print has seen the greatest growth since the last Insight report, up 50% since 2012, as both printers and customers recognise the greater convenience, speed and cost efficiencies of a web-to-print offering. Almost one in three customers now uses web-to-print services. Canon points out that as 39% of buyers remain unaware of the availability of web-to-print services, there is still plenty of scope for corporate and commercial PSPs to expand and/or promote their offering in this area.


PSPs also have the opportunity to extend service offerings into nonprint media. Today, more than two thirds (68%) of print buyers use multi-channel communications, up 10% since 2012, with print being used in 94% of multi-channel campaigns, according to Canon’s 2012 Bigger Picture.

Yet, currently only 20% of PSPs offer multi-channel campaign coordination, indicating a large gap between the help that print buyers want when developing their multichannel campaigns and what PSPs actually deliver.

In order to benefit from these opportunities, Canon advises in-house and commercial PSPs to think more strategically about their business. Currently, only 48% of commercial printers and 32% of corporate print centres have a formal marketing or business development plan in place – and where one exists, only half review it on a regular basis. Andrew Harris, European & UK Professional Print Marketing Manager at Canon, said: “Whilst there is much to be positive about in terms of the continued value of print amongst print buyers, there are still improvements that can be made by print service providers to capture further opportunities and establish even stronger links with their customers.”

A copy of Building your future with print can be requested by emailing

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