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.

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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

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

Never underestimate the power of Direct Mail

 

Direct mail is proving an incredibly resilient medium. To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated. In our information overload world, where 2,5 exabytes of data are generated each day, the noise can be deafening. Both the volume of advertising messages that consumers are subject to and the multitude of advertising channels available to brands continue to expand. In this frantic climate, it is no surprise that humble direct mail, a letter or brochure posted in an envelope, was predicted to fade away. Trampled upon by the convenience, cheapness and immediacy of the email and its attendant digital touch points.

Zig, don’t zag

Ricoh Infographic -the power of Direct Mail

Infographic -The power of Direct Mail

But wait, it hasn’t happened. Direct mail offers a number of attributes that alternative channels just cannot beat as Ricoh’s new infographic illustrates. Trust, shelf life and the scope for creativity are all vital elements in direct mail’s staying power. There is another important factor though. It is that the agency community, which thrives on freshness, and challenging accepted thinking, is turning back to direct mail as the centrepiece for integrated campaigns. Nicky Bullard, Executive Creative Director at direct marketing agency Lida says in Print Power magazine: “Clients are starting to get an appetite back for direct mail, particularly with younger audiences. Their lives have been so digital that direct mail is hugely disruptive for them.” Rory Sutherland, executive creative director and vice chairman of OgilvyOne London and vice-chairman of Ogilvy & Mather UK recently said in Britain’s Cross Media Magazine, “when everyone zigs, zag”.

The future is bright

Graham Moore -business development director for Ricoh Europe

Graham Moore -Director Business Development, Ricoh Europe

Direct mail volumes are holding up well across much of Europe, the use of colour is on the up, and smart print services providers are working with agencies to extract insights from data to fuel powerful campaigns across sector after sector. Particularly on behalf of premium products and services where a compelling Return on Marketing Investment can be most readily secured. Further, direct mail is bridging the offline-online gap – interactive print technologies like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper(TM) can move consumers seamlessly from print to digital to find out more or purchase an item.

The message is clear: never underestimate the power of direct mail

 

 

 

For more insights into Direct Mail see: http://www.ricoh-europe.com/services-solutions/production-printing/print-and-beyond/marketing-services/index.aspx

 

 

 

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.

 

Flexible Production is The Future for Printed Books

eBooks may not have had as much of an impact in Europe as they have in the U.S., but demand will grow. This, along with other dynamics affecting the book printing and publishing markets in Europe, will shape the future of book production, according to new research commissioned by Ricoh Europe PLC.

eBooks represent 20 percent of book revenues in the U.S., four times that of most major European countries, where printed books are still highly prized and under a certain level of regulatory protection by the EU and various individual European governments.  In recent research commissioned by Ricoh, I.T. Strategies found that even in the U.S., nearly 70 percent of consumers said it was unlikely that they would give up entirely on printed books by 2016 and the study found that as much as 60 percent of eBooks downloaded are never read.  In Europe and other parts of the world, however, book publishing dynamics are quite different than they are in North America. Ricoh commissioned the I.T. Strategies study to gain a better understanding of these influences, the differences between the U.S. and Europe in these markets, and the changes that both book publishers and book printers in Europe can expect to see over the next several years.

Highlights

“There is a deep history of publishing in Europe and a very strong connection of publishing to the culture of individual countries. As a result, there is a common desire by the individual ECC members to protect their culture, which includes protecting the book publishing industry’s established business models.”

Major European Country and U.S. Book Statistic Summary, 2012

Major European Country and U.S. Book Statistic Summary, 2012

“Many of the larger book printers/manufacturers may have over-reached with acquisitions and aggressive price competition in the race to gain market share.  Smaller book printers/manufacturers have remained somewhat insulated from competition due to regional and specialty products focus. But at some point they may find themselves priced out of the market.”

ebook Share of Retail Revenue, 2010-2018, by Major Country

ebook Share of Retail Revenue, 2010-2018, by Major Country

The full research report can be downloaded here.  

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