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Survey Finds Optimism Found Among Commercial Print Partners

Printers can help to boost the operations of companies in a number of different sectors, even though modern technology is causing more businesses to host files and information online.

Cloud computing has prompted more organisations to store files online, rather than print them out physically, but the advantages that ink brings to firms is still undeniable.

Marketing is one industry where the internet is an indispensable tool, with social media platforms acting as an advantageous way for businesses to interact with their customer base, building loyalty and selling more goods.

Such is the influence of the internet, many bosses may wonder what worth printing has to their marketing mix.

In the past, customers flocked to the high street in order to buy the latest printing equipment, but they are now more likely to purchase items through the internet, saving them the hassle of travelling and transporting the goods.

By the same token, promotional materials distributed by companies are now more likely to be web-based, with electronic messages replacing mail-outs.

However, a new study by Xerox has found that many people believe ink use has a key role to play in the promotional campaigns of firms.

The organisation spoke to 485 members of its Premier Partner Global Network, finding that around half aimed to differentiate their business by converting themselves into marketing service providers.

Xerox unveiled the figures during this month's (October) Graph Expo, with almost three-quarters of the respondents claiming that the transition from monochrome to colour print was picking up momentum, introducing photo speciality and growth packaging alongside direct mail.

The research also discovered that the economic picture is not as daunting now as it was in 2011, while a number of businesses noted that their volumes were growing, bringing more opportunities for new revenue.

It was found that the most requested new value-added service among customers of printing companies was web to print, with PURLs, QR codes and mobile feedback also in demand.

Mary Roddy, global marketing manager for the Xerox Premier Partners Global Network, said: "The common thread from partners is that everyone is looking at where print can fit into their customer’s new business outreach or integrated marketing campaign.

"We’re now past the debate of the past few years of whether print is dead. We know print is going to be alive and now it’s a matter of figuring out where print is going to fit and how can I maximize that."

Ms Roddy explained that she has also seen interest in wide-format applications, such as poster-size printouts or point of sale type offers.

She concluded: "So we’re very encouraged by the data as we are by the belief among the partners that print will always have a place the overall marketing mix."

Thanks to the introduction of the internet, there are a number of new ways for people to carry out printing.

Brother Mobile Solutions has released one of these, in the shape of its Direct Thermal Mobile Printing Solution for the iPhone and iPad devices.

Boasting a sleek, lightweight and durable size, the printer has an ad-hoc Wi-Fi connection, enabling documents to be printed out at a high resolution.

Ravi Panjwani, vice president of marketing and product management for Brother Mobile Solutions, said: "As the popularity and demand of the iPhone and iPad grow beyond the consumer spectrum and into the enterprise world, companies are finding increasingly innovative ways to integrate iOS devices into their field operations."

Mr Panjwani explained that the system helps to eliminate the time and costs often associated with printing from a fixed location, while providing Apple users with operational efficiency that they previously had not experienced.

It has speeds of up to six pages per minute and full-page letter, legal, A4 and continuous page printing.

As well as this, its direct thermal technology means that fewer moving parts are used when compared to other pieces of hardware.

Posted by Anya Hawke.

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