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Canon has published its fourth Insight Report ‘The Bigger Picture: Your customers’ view of the value of print’, which is an in-depth piece of research into the attitudes and preferences of European business professionals with responsibility for procuring print.
Canon’s research reveals that in order for Print Service Providers (PSPs) to grow their businesses, they need to improve communication with their customers, demonstrate the return on investment (ROI) of print and strengthen customer relationships by adopting a more consultative approach.
A total of 420 telephone interviews with senior decision-makers in corporate organisations and marketing and creative agencies across 18 European countries were conducted initially. Following this, 30 in-depth interviews with print buyers explored in greater depth some of the challenges and opportunities coming out of the initial research.
The in-depth interviews confirmed that many PSPs are missing opportunities to tell their customers about the benefits and outcomes of the services they offer. Several print buyers felt that while other communications partners such as advertising agencies and marketing consultancies make an effort to understand their organisation, their print providers do not and consequently are regarded as suppliers rather than partners. The key areas that print buyers said would make it easier for them to work with PSPs included offering more innovative solutions, greater proactivity with information and advice, and better understanding of their needs and challenges.
Most respondents agreed that many PSPs can tend to be too technical in the language and terminology they use. This also seems to be a factor when it comes to awareness of the benefits and potential offered by the latest digital print services and technologies. For instance, 36% of buyers said that they are unaware of print-on-demand, 32% that they are not aware of short-run publications, 24% said they don’t know about targeted direct mail and 59% said they are unaware of transpromotional print. However, while some print buyers claimed not to be aware of these applications, the report does yield evidence that some are simply used to them being called different names.
Another area of opportunity highlighted in the report is the demonstration of ROI of print. Although professional standard printed communication plays an important role in the communications strategy of 87% of European organisations, fewer than one in ten have a formal process for evaluating the effectiveness of the printing services they buy and more than a quarter don’t measure the effectiveness or ROI of print at all. This represents an opportunity for PSPs to advise their customers on how best to measure the ROI of print.
Mark Lawn, European Marketing Director, Professional Print Solutions for Canon Europe comments: “When customers select a print provider, three out of four print buyers consider the relationship they already have with the print provider and almost the same number considers the expertise of the provider. This demonstrates an excellent opportunity for PSPs to work in a more consultative partnership with their customers. By becoming a trusted advisor, PSPs will not only strengthen and safeguard their relationships, they will also be able to identify new opportunities to sell additional services and increase their profitability.”