Insights from Ricoh’s first European Commercial Print Council

User groups … I’ve done a few in the last 30 years.

Big ones and small ones, graphic arts ones and other ones, national and international ones.

So I was pleased to organise Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Council.Which took place in the Ricoh offices in Staines on Thames (near Heathrow) UK, last month, when 15 clients gathered, representing eight companies from six countries.

2015-11-RCPC_Group Picture

Attendees of the first Ricoh Commercial Print Council Nov 2015

Not only was there close interaction with Ricoh on the technical product level, but there were also three external speakers, each with their own specific topics.

Ralf Schlözer from Infotrends, the analyst company, looked into his famous crystal ball to give insights into opportunities for digital print in the commercial print market.

Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer.

His conclusions were:

  • Printing is very much alive
  • Digital colour print remains on the growth path with inkjet leading the charge
  • But one should consider the whole print production chain; including the impact of the Cloud on software solutions
  • Media integration is progressing: prepare for an omni channel view rather than simply a cross channel view
  • Print technologies are becoming more diversified: but not all technologies will be in reach for every printer. Meaning that new businesses will emerge and they’ll use ‘print’ as a way to manufacture things (3D, textiles, etc…)
  • Number one priority for marketeers is increasing the customer experience, lowering costs is only second

Enrique Parilla from digital publishing company Lantia gave a privileged view on how he established his company as a publisher-printer-software developer, handling the publishing business in a completely different way from how traditional publishing companies do.

That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication!

He used the following interesting analogy: in 19th century America, companies selling ice for refrigeration were big business. But … they didn’t realise in which business they were in. They thought they were in the business of selling ice … when it was actually refrigeration they were selling.  So when the electrical refrigerator was invented, it wiped away the ice business. That’s very much the story of today’s graphic arts: printing companies are not in the business of selling print, they’re in the business of selling impactful and meaningful communication! In trade book publishing for instance, publishers are not selling books but stories!

Next time you drink your G&T on the rocks, do ask yourself: ‘in which business you really are’?

Ulbe Jelluma works for Frysk, a B2B advertising agency, specialising in serving international clients (in the graphics, industrial, financial, pharmaceutical, telecom and automotive industries). He started with an attention grabbing statement: ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder … And it may be necessary from time to time to give a stupid or misinformed beholder a black eye!’

…agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix

Ulbe explained how agencies today consider print as an application in the total communication mix. He highlighted some new print applications all driven by the generation of emotions in using print. He also showed some examples of ‘different devices, same content’ or how the advertising industry is using an omnichannel approach to push its message.

Another example was of ‘existing content, different application’ with books that are printed in Brazil for the public transport authorities, serving as a ticket and a planner at the same time as being a reading book. Or what to think about a plasticised newspaper that can act as an umbrella, in a country such as Ecuador ‘where it rains a lot’?

All creative examples of how print is being used in many new and different ways.

So Ricoh Europe’s first Commercial Print Customer Council featured a series of diverse speakers with a broad spectrum of experiences, insights and predictions to share. For me, though, there was a common thread.

It was the sheer resilience of print as many different players in different markets explore its unique characteristics to keep it as relevant now as ever.

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Erwin Busselot Commercial Print Solutions Director Ricoh Europe

Three Ways Inkjet Has Evolved

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” -Alan Kay, American computer scientist.

This is a great time to be a brand owner or a publisher. The latest innovations in digital print technology have created new opportunities to re-evaluate the role of print in customer communications, marketing and publishing.

Once focused on forms replacement for transactional documents, production inkjet has blossomed into a versatile and powerful tool that companies like yours are using to take advantage of cutting-edge applications – and even create new ones. The marketing landscape’s shift to digital is spurring new demands from brand owners, making it imperative for the industry to shape the future of print, rather than simply responding to the status quo. Here are three ways that production inkjet – and the printers who use it – are innovating print applications and technologies:

White paper in, full colour out

In today’s world of immediacy, companies are expecting what they want, when they want it, no questions asked. For a print shop, this requires digital technologies that are nimble enough to deliver a transactional production run just before one for direct mail, with minimal downtime.

Throughout the past ten years, production inkjet has evolved into an affordable and effective route to white paper in, full colour out applications. Whether it’s a full colour transactional document, glossy direct mail piece or graphics book, inkjet technology can meet the needs of each demand with precision and high quality.

Short runs

Being able to produce short runs of varied output is also a key advantage of inkjet. In the case of books for example, while offset is still the go-to technology for producing high quantity runs of books, inkjet is enabling book printers and publishers to produce shorter runs that are just the right amount for a given purpose. Review copies used during the editing process and marketing copies distributed during the promotional phase of a book launch are two such applications where low quantities are needed. What’s more, inkjet is enabling books to never truly go “out of print” by making it easier for printers and publishers to meet one-off demands for old and rare books from consumers. In the educational market, class-customised booklets that might be used only by one or a handful of professors, and versioned textbooks are yet other opportunities to put inkjet’s short run capabilities to use.

For example, we will be showing at the Hunkeler Innovationdays show this month in Lucerne a full colour book, The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. This is digitally printed on offset stock, delivering the impact and quality that, until now, has been associated only with offset printing. Originally produced in short runs and shown at last year’s London Book Fair, it will be inkjet printed for the first time for Hunkeler Innovationdays.

Personalisation /variable data

The opportunity to customise direct marketing output has never been greater. As more transactional communications transition to intangible, digital forms such as email and mobile apps, the value of printed communications is increasing. The clients of printers are demanding high quality output that grabs attention with relevant content and interactive elements such as QR codes and interactive print solutions like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper. By virtue of the sheer amount of customer data available to agencies and their brand clients, items like coupons can be customised with items that go beyond the usual name and gender information. Deeper demographic and psychographic information can be incorporated and reference the recipient’s recent purchases, buying habits, and other information that ensures the direct marketing content is being received at the right time, by the right people with the right message. Inkjet’s heritage in variable data, coupled with its continued evolution as a graphic communications tool that rivals the colours and print quality of offset, further empowers marketing agencies and brand owners to take advantage of this opportunity. Have a look out for the The Bianchi catalogue on our stand. With its challenging brand colours and high quality bike imagery it will demonstrate the results inkjet is capable of such as readily reproducing work previously the preserve of offset.

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

All of these innovations will be on display in the Ricoh booth at Hunkeler Innovation Days. Stop by to learn more. We look forward to seeing you at the show.

This article is from European Printing Industry Coverage from WhatTheyThink

 

How print is evolving to meet the new needs of the connected world

With more than one-third of the world’s population now online (Pew Research Center), it is little wonder that the role of printed communications is changing. The challenge is that the time spent with various media is rapidly shifting from traditional channels such as radio, TV, and print to internet and mobile channels. This means the role of printed communications must be readjusted and redefined in the broad spectrum of all media.

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Time spent on each Media vs Advertising Spend

Not surprisingly advertising dollars are now moving to online and mobile markets. According to PWC Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2013, internet advertising grew by about 16%, and mobile advertising by 47% in 2013.

This has major implications for key areas of printed communications of interest to Print Service Providers.

Direct mail and direct marketing catalogue volume has suffered at the hands of the recent recession and the rise of electronic media. Although both remain key marketing channels for businesses, they are increasingly being orchestrated alongside digital forms of communications.

Transactional printing – unlike direct mail and catalogues, which are business-driven marketing expenditures, transactional printing is increasingly consumer-driven since recipients dictate their preferred delivery methods

Books – Electronic media has profoundly disrupted the book publishing industry by fundamentally altering the dynamics of how books are sold and consumed. Book publishers and book printers are adjusting to the fast moving realities of the market and tapping new business models enabled by publishing in a multichannel world.

Newspapers and magazines have been impacted by online advertising, rising postal costs, and competition from electronic media. Newspapers and magazines remain widely read and trusted, however, and publishers are finding new and innovative ways to combine print with electronic channels.

Our new white paper, Multichannel Communications The Evolution of Printing in a Connected World,  examines how advertisers and publishers are adapting printed products to multichannel realities in a number of key markets: direct mail and direct marketing catalogues; transactional printing; books; and newspapers and magazines.

Download the white paper here

Beyond Print: Opportunities in Expanded Revenue Streams

It’s time to evolve beyond print. With a proliferation of communication channels available – including email and social media – consumers have more choices than every before. As a print service provider, your challenge is to find new ways to support your customers’ efforts to take advantage of technologies that engage these consumers via multi-channel marketing communications.

Find out more in this Webinar by Chris Taylor, Ricoh Americas.

Ricoh Infographic – the power of Direct Mail

Direct mail is a vital node in the ‘connected world’ we live in. It’s a powerful medium. People like it. Respond to it. Act on it. In a blended campaign, Direct Mail creates an impact that’s more effective than digital marketing alone. In fact, in 2013, Central Mailing Services figures showed that nearly half the UK population responded to traditionally printed direct mail over the past year. Below are the seven reasons why integrating Direct Mail into your next campaign will help you market most effectively today and for many years to come.

  1.  The Mail moment – Consumers regard personalised direct mail as the trusted medium for customer communication
  2. Make People Act – 79% of consumers react to direct mail immediately
  3. The Sensory Experience – Direct Mail has a long shelf life – two thirds of consumers keep their mail
  4. Precision Targeting – top three reasons why people open mail:  contact from known brands and companies (51%), Personally
    addressed (47%), information about products or services of interest 40%
  5. Get creative – structural dimensional mail can have 20 times the penetrating power of flat direct mail
  6. Fantastic ROI –  most important more often than any other touchpoint in the consumer’s purchasing process
  7. Effectiveness – 48% of UK adults have done something in the last 12 months as result of mailing
The Power of Direct Mail

The Power of Direct Mail

 

Ricoh Direct Mail Infographic (PDF)

Find out more about Ricoh’s Solutions for Direct Mail

More statistics about Direct Mail – see: http://www.centralmailing.co.uk/

 

A New Publishing Vision from Ricoh at London Book Fair

Books are different from many other sectors of print because alongside their functional use they create an emotional connection.  The result is people have choice preferences from a quality hardback or a small but perfectly formed paperback to a weighty academic tome or an e-reader.

It is these personal relationships Ricoh Europe PLC will be exploring at the London Book Fair, April 8- 10, at Earls Court, London on stand R505. We will be showcasing a number of interesting applications and services aimed at helping publishers look at their markets in new ways. They are designed to enhance traditional publishing processes with numerous exciting and compelling services that deliver something extra, beyond print.

 

Bridging the online and offline worlds

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One such technology is video books – where video screens embedded in a publication link to additional relevant content. On the stand will be two video-enabled booklets in action – an instruction book to train end-users and a promotion for teaching and learning resources.

Another is interactive Clickable Paper that bridges the printed page and the online world to provide immediate one-touch access to multiple online resources such as photos, video/multimedia, web sites, e-commerce portals and social networks. It extends the value of the printed page and delivers far-reaching added value to readers, the magazine publisher and advertisers. Adoptees include Dutch Business Magazine De Zaak – it has utlilised Clickable Paper to add value to its publications – and Barnwell Print in the UK which has enhanced books with value-added multi-media content. On stand Where to Fish in Norfolk will offer a real example of this in action.

We are also developing solutions that support the demand for information to be provided across a variety of media. Open Text Book Portal is an online service that enables organisations such as universities to provide students with access to textbook content in multiple formats including print, Word documents and ebooks.

 

Custom textbooks and Digitally Printed Books

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Then there is our Custom Textbook initiative for the digital production of tailored textbooks.  For example  the US, there is a large market for customised textbooks and we expect this to become a significant growth market in Europe, particularly with opportunities such as those presented by university professors that prefer to create their own specific course materials rather than rely on predefined textbooks.

Visitors will be able to learn more about these technologies and more by viewing an unmissable 42-inch touch-screen Electronic Learning Table providing access to detailed information, documents, examples and videos.

Of course there will be book printing examples too with some created especially for the show including The Cult of Porsche: In the Beginning. The book is designed to be a print experience ‘like no other’ using the very latest digital printing technologies and papers.

 

So drop by and see how to start a new chapter in your publishing strategy.

 

Are you part of the problem or part of the solution?

[GUEST BLOG]

Graham Reed, Print Tribe Consultant, Director of Global Print Strategies

Graham Reed, Print Tribe Consultant, Director of Global Print Strategies

For many years digital printing has promised the cost effective print run of one. You cannot deny that this objective has revolutionised the printing industry forever. The concept of having fully variable content within a short production run sparked the imagination of many marketers and print providers: business cards with our pictures on; flyers that can have content specific to niche target groups; packaging that is personalised to the individual – the opportunities are endless.

However, taking advantage of these new opportunities is more difficult than it sounds. I question the ability of marketers and brand managers to understand the full potential and financial returns that can be achieved from truly personalised one to one communications. Or, is it that print sales people with the “Give me a spec, I’ll give you a price” mentality cannot effectively position the value to leverage a much more compelling proposition that transcends price, and breaks the mould of print as a commodity ?

If we focus on why these new Variable Data Print (VDP) plus Cross Media solutions get rejected by marketers, the objections based on price are a reaction that mask broader, more deep-rooted issues within the culture of their own organisation. This can be twofold:  firstly they just don’t get the concept; or second they just do not have the infrastructure or processes in place to capture and filter their data in a cost effective and joined up way.

Time and time again I hear CMOs and CEOs complain that their data is so poor that they can use it only to vary an address panel and salutation on a simple mailer. So what is the print industry going to do about it? In my view it is our responsibility to lead our clients and educate them on the best practice and benefits from fully personalised print and how it can deliver enhanced commercial outcomes with their outbound marketing and communication projects.

In order to achieve this objective we need to move quickly away from the widespread mentality of competing on price!

To create long-term client engagement with integrated print solutions we need to create a new breed of “Enterprise” salespeople that can structure propositions that add real value to the print process by creating measurable commercial outcomes. Only by becoming the educators and experts with data led technologies can we capitalise on this opportunity.

The next step is to create a compelling “solution architecture” where Data, Cross Media, Web to Print (W2P), Variable Targeted printing is easily understood and relevant to the client’s business. A solution that is truly relevant and specific to a CMO’s needs will deliver outstanding responses and capture additional data that further enriches the process of engaging with the end user.

There is no doubt we have the technology; we just need the skills to sell it differently.

The full report, Time to promote the true value of print, is available to Ricoh Business Driver users. Alternatively, request a copy by completing this form.

Time to promote the true value of print white paper