The future of digital printing in 2017.With all the talk of digital this and digital that, it’s easy think “digital” only pertains to smartphones, computers, and the Internet of Things. But keep in mind; digital printing on the Terrestrial Side of Things is growing too. In fact, a new Smithers Pira Market Report forecasts triple digit growth through 2024.  

The report notes that digital printing is growing in part because marketers are marrying Big Data with short run printing to create high-value, targeted communications. Printed material can also have stronger impact with higher recall than digital ads, which quickly disappear. In fact, most online content sits behind the scenes until it may possibly appear in search results.

A lot of work goes into creating online digital communications, even though much of it only makes a fleeting impression. Along the lines of repurposing content, Brandscaping author Drew Davis suggests that marketers invert their thinking from how to digitize printed content to how to print digital content. New digital printing technology now affords the production of high quality printed materials that customers will retain for future reference.

Back in the 1990s when marketers migrated print messaging to website content en masse, offset printing was the only commercially viable way to print. At that, the only way to make it cost effective was to go 2-color or print large runs of 4-color pieces. When digital printing arrived on the scene, early model printers were slow and produced poor quality prints.

Fast forward to 2017

Digital printing is humming along with color imaging that rivals offset print at a fraction of the cost. Manufacturers such as Konica Minolta and HP are supplying today’s printers with high-speed equipment that can rapidly produce materials without having to run thousands of pieces to make it cost effective.

Now you can take all that creativity you put into digital and repurpose it for such print applications as:

  • Versioned Sales Materials for Multiple Personas
  • Custom Direct Mail to Targeted Audiences
  • Mini-Catalogs for Product Groups
  • Printed eBooks and Whitepapers

This year looks to be the year that spurs more marketers to deploy printed materials in conjunction with database marketing to tap into new markets, increase customer loyalty, and make stronger connections with their multi-faceted audiences. So be sure to include print, when you think digital this year.