The communication dilemma - How do print shops interact in the digital age?

Gone are the days when orders found their way to the print shop all by themselves without advertising. Welcome to the digital age! Where do you currently stand?

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Table of Contents
Generations X, Y and Z are on everyone's lips: the Internet generation. And it brings change. Today, customers are increasingly online. In private life, it has long been common practice to find out about products and services on the Internet, compare offers and, ideally, place orders. This behavior is now becoming more and more prevalent in the business environment and it does not stop at any industry. Print shops must also adapt to this new reality. Convincing online approaches and mailings will keep you on the radar. In this way, additional target groups and potential employees can be attracted to your company.

The use of digital services continues to increase. The good news is that print will continue to be an indispensable part of communication in the future. It is the intelligent media mix of print and digital that will be decisive. New technologies intelligently combine both worlds, creating completely new communication channels and strategies, as well as content. For printers, this is an opportunity to present their offers, products and services cross-media and thus also digitally to the consumer. The multitude of digital marketing possibilities and channels can be confusing and must be chosen carefully. Are Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn or other suitable social media formats suitable platforms for print companies? What content should go on the website? Which mailings are better sent in print and which digitally, and which mix will bring the desired results? Before expanding their digital communication, print companies should know their customer and product structure and, ideally, carry out a market analysis. This is easier said than done, but with the right partner, it is definitely feasible. Let's take a look at a few basics to warm up.

Recognizing target groups and serving them correctly

Clear target group definition: First find out which target groups are suitable for your products and services, a consumer or other. Such an analysis includes demographic characteristics (e.g. age, gender, place of residence), psychographic characteristics (e.g. interests, values, lifestyle) and behavioural characteristics (e.g. purchasing behaviour, print media use, advertising).

Understanding the needs of the target group: To better understand target groups and recognize their behavioural patterns, you can work with the persona method, for example. Fictitious archetypes of potential prospects or customers are developed from relevant data about a target group. These personas can be used to better identify preferences and make patterns in behaviour clear. This helps to understand where certain target groups obtain information and which platform they use.

Target group-oriented communication: Once the needs and wishes of the different target groups have been defined, the next step is to determine which content interests them and which products or services appeal to them. For example, who is interested in innovations, who appreciates technical details, who wants to keep up to date with the latest trends? You should also answer these questions with a view to acquiring new customers:

  • Who are my potential customers?

  • What needs do these potential customers have?

  • Where are potential customers active, both analogue and digital?

On the basis of this analysis, printers can develop and consistently implement their marketing and advertising strategy in line with their target groups. This can also include, for example, addressing design-savvy customers via Instagram. This is where companies can show off their most beautiful print products. Other options include a YouTube channel with videos on specific print products or information on sustainable production steps. A LinkedIn campaign for specific industries is also conceivable as another potential digital platform.

Creative communication must always be geared towards the needs of the target group. It is important for the lasting success of a good campaign and marketing strategy that the messages are clear, understandable and brief.

Step by step to mixmedia success 

The requirements for analog, printed marketing are well known and often practiced. To ensure that digital marketing is also a success, you should bear these points in mind. 

  1. Define specific goals: For example, more subscribers for a newsletter or more followers. 

  2. Clarify the practical questions: What is the budget? Which employees are responsible? 

  3. Evaluate your activities and adjust them: What worked and what didn't? The answers will provide clarity about the future direction.‚Äč

How to successfully address customers digitally 

Here are some tips on how print shops can address customers in the digital age. 

Establish a presence on social media: Social media is an important channel for getting in touch with customers. Print shops should therefore be active on selected social media to demonstrate their products and services there too. However, less is sometimes more and staying power can help. In other words, if you are active everywhere, you run the risk of getting bogged down or losing the overview and success does not come overnight. 

Create a good website: The website is a print shop's digital business card. It should be attractively designed and informative. The focus should be on the customer's interests. The website should make it quick and easy to find the information they need. Blog posts provide information and attract the interest of potential customers. 

Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO helps a print shop's website to rank well in search engines. This will attract more potential customers to your website. 

Use e-mail marketing: Email marketing is an effective way to stay in touch with customers and keep them informed about new products and offers. 

Run online marketing campaigns: Online marketing campaigns, such as Google Ads or social media ads, can help increase the print shop's reach. 

Act together with fellow campaigners: You don't have to go it alone on all digital avenues. Forge alliances to spread your message. For example, let partners, customers or employees speak for you. 

Immerse yourself in virtual worlds 

Sometimes it still sounds like a dream of the future, but for print shops - and online print shops in particular - topics such as VR , AR and the metaverse are becoming increasingly important. While some are not even familiar with these terms, interested parties can already try out virtual formats, similar to artificial intelligence, today. Virtual reality can be used to develop very special experiences, create greater brand awareness and generate loyalty. Starting points for print shops could include virtual showrooms, interactive product catalogs, virtual trade fair stands or a 3D tour of production with its various printing stations. Perhaps in future, certain products, such as complex packaging, can be presented to customers virtually in advance? 

Turn your customers into fans - even in the digital world. Ensure continuous communication. Keep an eye on your customers and pay attention to interactions and feedback. Always provide transparent information about your products and services and thus create trust, even in the digital world.

Get to know the world of digital marketing without neglecting your analogue efforts. Build bridges between the two worlds in an omnichannel approach with your interactivity. The playground of programmatic printing, for example, offers many an opportunity.

Find out more about Konica Minolta's Professional Printing solutions here.
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