Even in a digital world, print remains a vital part of doing business.
People have been spewing the phrase “Print is dead” for decades, yet somehow, Safeguard Business Systems continues to grow. The business solutions company, which includes a strong focus on print services, maintains the demise of print has been greatly exaggerated.
“Digital media was added to the marketing mix years ago, but it didn’t replace printed media,” said Mark Roggenkamp, executive director of channel marketing at Safeguard. “While commercial printing in general has taken some hits on overall volumes, advances like digital and variable printing have created new opportunities for printing business. Further, cross-media usage, or using elements of both digital and traditional marketing, brings marketing advantages to the table, and is helping businesses of all sizes be relevant and fresh.”
In fact, far from being dead, print may actually be seeing a bit of a renaissance, according to Joe Fries, president of print services provider Fontis Solutions, which was recently acquired by Safeguard.
“Digital is everywhere, and it’s very easy to tune out,” Fries said. “Think of your email. When you’re getting slammed with so much mail in your inbox, it’s easy to just click delete and forget about it. Print is harder to ignore. I went through every single piece of my actual mail last night. The pendulum is swinging the other way, and people are realizing that in some cases, print may be more important than digital.”
The people at Safeguard and its subsidiaries understand there are certain physical advantages to using print, as well.
“Digital, while fast and inexpensive, sometimes feels transient, less permanent and even less worthy of commanding attention,” Roggenkamp said. “Print can add that third tangible dimension, and print marketing pieces can be held and viewed in their entirety.”
“Print has a whole different look and feel when you put it in front of someone,” he said. “You can express things you can’t when someone is looking at a screen.”
The key is figuring out when print is most appropriate, and then working with digital tools to complement it.
“I think what you’re really seeing is that different demographics have to be treated differently,” Fries continued. “Our first piece of advice to clients is: Understand who your audience is. They might need print. They might need digital. They might need both. Younger people might be more receptive to digital while an older person might want more print. It’s not about selling orders; it’s about selling the right solution.”
Furthermore, Safeguard knows that as long as entrepreneurship and small business remain the backbone of the American economy, the demand for print will remain.
“For some small businesses, digital marketing can be pricey,” Roggenkamp said. “Whereas print marketing, if done smartly, can be highly productive in generating results. Recent gains in web-to-print capabilities have pushed down printing costs, making smaller runs very affordable for small business owners. These factors combine to create value for business types that want and need print marketing as a component of their business, and we nurture that kind of thinking and provide total solutions that optimize the investments of time and money for our customers.”