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Print Providers in Western Europe Challenged to Make Print Stand Out in the New Marketing Mix


Advertising is an important demand driver for print, especially for colour print. Applications such as brochures, collaterals, flyers, leaflets, and direct mail are promotional in nature and print providers often mention them as popular applications that generate significant amount of volumes on their digital devices. In transactional environments, advertising through inserts and more recently “onserts” is a demand generator, as well.

In recent years, the number of media channels that marketers use to communicate with customers and prospects has tremendously increased. Whereas newspaper, television, and radio were the main media channels during most of the second half of the previous century, the rise of the Internet, digital television, and mobile communications have opened up a multitude of new media channels. Consumers have been given an overwhelming choice on how to consume media, and it does not come as a surprise that this affects the effectiveness of the traditional media channels. So far, however, radio and television have been remarkably resilient. It is primarily print that has been feeling the pinch. Although the transition is slowly occurring because of its vast size, it is obvious that print-centric advertising spending is threatened by online substitutions. At the heart of this lies a change in the way consumers interact with media.

When consumers change their behaviour, corporate marketers and other advertising buyers will need to follow to keep reaching their intended audiences. Terms like “360 degree marketing” are now being used to describe the canny marketer that no longer uses one or two media channels to communicate with customers or prospects, but deploys a variety of channels to get the message across. Where print was one of the main communication channels for many years, in less than a decade a wide array of channels have arrived, including digital television, social networks, YouTube, mobile communications, and more. These new channels are quickly eroding the position of print with the rapid growth of online advertising revenues that are coming in at the expense of print. Where Internet advertising expenditures accounted for 1.7% of total advertising expenditures in 2001, this has risen to 14.2% in 2008. Advertising on the Internet has risen to an extent it can no longer be ignored.

This provides new challenges for print service providers, who need to find ways of making print stand out in the new marketing mix. Although consumers generally have a low opinion on advertising, they do find advertising in magazines and newspapers more interesting or entertaining than online advertising. As the importance of online media channels increase in the next decade, it is important to combine the benefits of print with the benefits of these new media. Undoubtedly, the share of e-media in advertising will increase. Still, it is reassuring that print is still a favourite media for many and the only tolerated channel for marketing for some.

The preceding is an excerpt from a report entitled Consumer Media Preferences in Advertising. To learn more about this report, visit our online store or contact Robyn Wuori at ext. 103 or via e-mail at .

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