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Tue, Apr

The next big thing

You’re probably like me, busy each day reacting to the needs of your business to give too much thought to the ‘next big thing’ in digital printing. But sometimes we have to make time.

With this in mind I decided to spend two days at the Fespa Global Summit in January, where a wide variety of industry speakers explained their own vision for the future, and told stories of how they have moved, shaped and developed their own businesses over the past few years to great success. I walked away with a few new ideas of my own, and it gave me added focus to spend a bit more time shaping my own business so that it can not just survive but thrive over the coming years.

I think we are all aware of the huge increase in the use of digital devices like smartphones, tablets and laptops. But how many of you have given thought to how these devices are impacting the large-format printing environment? Advertisers and marketers are very quickly channeling their resources into these little devices and making sure that they engage with their target markets wherever they are. Huge spend is going into developing apps, digital content and interactive experiences like augmented reality, all of which have the potential to reduce the spend on large-format printing, outdoor advertising and traditional display and retail graphics.

If you believe that the large-format printing industry will continue to grow year on year without any form of correction over the coming decade, then it might be time to think again. It was surprising to hear about the massive increase in the use of digital screens within the outdoor media market, at the demise of traditional billboards and poster sites. Retailers are also starting to adopt digital marketing on a large scale, where they can change messages and promotions quickly and at a low ongoing cost. Content can be targeted and interactive.

I think the major question that we all need to answer is whether we just keep on offering the same print services that we currently do, or we look at the huge opportunities that are available to our industry and look to adapt our offering. I think it’s time to start creating additional revenue streams and marketing strategies to ensure that large-format print continues to be a critical element of the advertiser.

There was lots of talk about ‘multi-channel marketing’, where print combines with digital to offer the user a totally interactive experience. QR codes, AR and NFC were the acronyms in use at the Fespa Global Summit.As we all know, to stand still is to go backwards in our industry, however it might be time to take a sideways step too.

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