A Look at Printing in 2010
I'D LIKE to take a quick glance back at 2009 and one forward to 2010 for the printing industry. My comments here are largely anecdotal and are based on my observations of, and conversations with, members of the printing community. Despite the subjective nature of these findings, there do seem to be trends forming.
2009 was a harsh year for business. Print volumes seemed to be down in most industries with the exception of education. My guess is that K-12 school district printing was already cut to the bone and that, while higher education was experiencing cuts like everyone else, there are simply more students—particularly in community and technical colleges. This enrollment increase is due to students retraining to find another job, as well as due to students remaining in school because jobs aren't available.
Print volumes also seem to be down for most job types, with the exception of color marketing materials. My prediction is that direct mail jobs will drop and then rise later in the year. The drop will be because, despite the best marketing efforts, people just aren't buying yet and marketing budgets will be depleted. Marketing will shift investments from direct mail to e-mail, traditional online and social media in hopes of finding more cost-effective ways to get their messages out.
Much of this money will return to print as two things happen:
• When consumer confidence rises and customers reenter the market.
• When marketing departments realize that, though electronic programs can augment direct mail, they cannot replace it. Spam filters, unrealistic expectations of miracles from social media, and general electronic overload will limit their effectiveness.
Some of this money, however, will never come back to print. New marketing channels like social media will continue to evolve and will require time and money formerly spent on direct mail and advertising. When this will happen is the answer that everyone wants to know.
Greg Cholmondeley is president of Cholmonco Inc. Cholmonco is a technology marketing consulting company that researches, analyzes and documents best practices and innovative solutions. Cholmondeley is especially interested in how industry leaders efficiently get work through digital printing and marketing services operations. He has also written two fictional novels. The first is titled “Nakiwulo and the Circle of Shiva” and the second is called “Princess.” You can learn more about his consulting practice and read more of his blogs at www.cholmonco.com. You can discover his books at http://books.cholmonco.com.