Cross-Media – Print’s Great Missed Opportunity

How embracing cross-media can open up an entirely missed market for print businesses, allowing them to improve customer retention rates.


Perhaps one of the most surprising statistics about the print industry today is that while two-thirds of print and media buyers run multi-channel campaigns, only a quarter of print service providers (PSPs) offer these services.

By not catering for this demand the print business is missing a huge opportunity. Although a major shift in mind-set is required to overcome the perception that digital is some kind of a threat – the reality is that digital is anything but. With print now used in 94% of multi-channel campaigns1, it is a trend that can’t be brushed aside.

Significant and growing demand

The demand for cross-media is not only significant – but growing rapidly. In 2012 58% of print buyers were leveraging multi-channel communications2. In 2014 that figure increased to 68%3. Not that long ago printed communications were ubiquitous and easily overlooked. Today it is email, SMS, online advertising and other various digital channels that are routine. Now it is print’s turn to shine once again.

Increasing numbers of print buyers understand the potential that is offered by using a high quality, visually impactful piece of print to drive customers to a digital channel. Moreover, when print buyers begin to harness the power of digital print to create high quality, personalised communications - the argument becomes almost irresistible.

Furthermore, it is not just in the execution of these campaigns that PSPs can find opportunities. Half of buyers get in touch with their print provider for advice on combining print with other forms of media. Rather than engage a range of suppliers, most want a single point of contact.

There is a clear desire among buyers to know and understand more. This is what unlocks a golden opportunity for print firms to offer support and guidance and become trusted advisors – as well as providing print services.

Missing out

Yet research suggests that print providers have are not currently exploiting this market opportunity. Just 20% of all commercial printers say they provide multi-channel campaign coordination and only 3% described it as a specialism4. Of those not offering cross-media, a mere 20% expect to offer it in the near future5.

There are a number of reasons for apprehension around this opportunity shown by PSPs. For some – particularly, the smaller PSPs – a lack of budget or manpower can hold them back. Others believe they have a strong enough business to survive, even thrive, without needing to diversify. Then, there are those who can’t find suitable partners, or are simply uncomfortable working with third-party providers.

Target the opportunity

Print business leaders need to take a different view and invest some time in understanding the shape and size of the opportunity. Embracing cross-media means that a PSP can offer the level of support that customers desperately need today.

1 Canon Insight Report 2012

2 Canon Insight Report 2012

3 Canon Insight Report 2014

4 Canon Insight Report 2014

5 Canon Insight Report 2014

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