It’s a question that has concerned the printing industry for years as the World Wide Web has grown from a small academic experiment to a global phenomenon which has quite literally revolutionised the way we now all communicate.
How can traditional printing ever compete, thrive or even just survive when super-fast business communication takes place at the speed of light?
My stab at an answer is that despite this vastly changed world I believe that printing will not only survive, but that it will also most likely prosper. But before we get to this point, the printing industry will have to learn to adapt and change its ways.
Why will printing survive and prosper in my view?
Well first of all there are some key advantages of print:
Business printing is becoming a premium product
The ease with which anyone can send an email or build an internet presence means that this type of communication has become ubiquitous and in a way that cheapens it. Printing is obviously more expensive than sending a brochure via email, but the very fact that it looks better, combined with the fact that everybody knows it cost a lot more means that it generates a better impression. Printing has therefore become a premium — quality product.
Printing makes much more of an impact
As printing becomes gradually less common, it conversely may end up having more of an impact. Place a well printed document or brochure into the hands of someone looking to purchase something and it may really bring a product to life.
People still prefer to read things on the page
Most people agree that they would rather read a printed newspaper than slouch over their computer screen trying to catch up with the news. This doesn’t mean that newspapers have suffered greatly in recent years — they have — but what it suggests is that there will always be a market for people who would rather read something printed on page.
Printing is more portable
The last key advantage of printing is that it is genuinely portable. Unlike a laptop you don’t have to switch off printing when you land or take off in an aircraft and it’s perfectly possible to safely read it printed item while relaxing in the bath even though you would have second thoughts about taking your laptop with you! When it comes to casual reading in the GP waiting room or at the dentist you will most likely still want to pick a magazine, newsletter or brochure up from the coffee table in the middle of the waiting room.
So my guess is that the death of printing has been rather overdone. Rather like with the imagined demise of Cinema when video players first arrived on the scene, the print industry will have to change, but as with the cinema new approaches were tried and it is today as popular as it has ever been despite the fact that video cassette had been replaced by higher quality formats like DVDs and BlueRay.
Dan Jacobs is sales director for PrintHouse Corporation and believes that high-quality printing will always be part of the business to business marketing mix. You can contact PrintHouse Corporation020 8963 0123. at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling