Print & Publishing as part of the digitization strategy

"How does print & publishing contribute to the success of the company as part of the digitization strategy in industry and retail?" - Exciting insights and impulses for reflection

Many marketers are currently asking themselves this central question, which prompted us to hold a webinar (in German) together with SDZeCOM on 12/4/20. Nicole Greinwald from the Erwin Müller Group gave interesting insights into a concrete project, Markus Sturm and Ralf Jung (SDZeCOM) provided exciting food for thought from their everyday project work, and Horst Huber (priint) explained how companies can take the step into true omnichannel with the help of the priint:suite.

Print ≠ Papier | Online ≠ Offline Experience

"The silo thinking "online - offline" must be broken down. Offline communication must be subject to online laws, i.e. available on-demand, segmented or personalized, measurable and follow the trial and error principle. Digital and offline touchpoints must be standardized and synchronized."

In the first part of the webinar, Horst Huber clarified some terminology and showed that "print" in the digital age goes far beyond printing. Because whether a publication is ultimately printed on the media device paper, an e-paper or a PDF is generated has nothing to do with paper. A publication, on the other hand, is defined by the fact that it has a beginning and an end. In digital communication, these defined entry or exit points do not exist.

Project requirements from practice: The transition from the classic database publishing project to the digitization project

Horst Huber used a customer-specific, extensive checklist of questions to show which requirements should be implemented in concrete terms and which measures this would entail. During the webinar, he was able to go into a few points of this.

Some requirements in the project:

  • Time:
    The catalog rhythm should be adapted to the digital rhythm. However, the prerequisite for this is that the catalog process must be accelerated, which requires a completely different process, thinking, etc.
  • International adaptations:
    The master language was no longer to be translated 1:1 into other languages. Country-specific target groups and requirements had to be taken into account.
  • Brands:
    The different brands naturally have their different appearances and appearances. These remain, even if the underlying process is identical.
  • Emotionality:
    By integrating more editorial content, print becomes more inspiring and opens the way to digital channels.

Breaking down data silos, establishing a content-first strategy, synchronizing offline and online, and integrating print touchpoints into the digital world are thus fundamental cornerstones of any digitization strategy.

Pains & Gains: Restructuring of advertising media production

"At the Erwin Müller Group, we produce around 40 advertising materials per year for our 40,000 articles in Germany alone. Until the end of 2018, these advertising materials with all information (e.g. texts, images, prices, order schemes, etc.) were still maintained manually. For this purpose, the data was maintained twice. Namely, on the one hand in the print advertising material itself and on the other hand in our PIM system. This resulted in a high frequency of errors, an enormous amount of time, etc.".

Circumstances that prompted the global mail order company for the hotel and catering industry to automate catalog production.

In the first phase, the product information from the database was manually linked to the placeholders in the template-based layout. This meant that the language variants could already be generated semi-automatically, resulting in a time saving of approx. 50%.

In the second phase, the Erwin Müller Group will use the Layout Briefing Module of the priint:suite. This will make it possible to simply drag & drop the products onto a space in the predefined page layout.

The consolidation of the production data was enormously time-consuming and not planned for. But this meant that the content in the database could be adjusted, corrected and updated more quickly. This not only saved time in the first project phase, but also made the second project phase possible in the first place.


  • Fast reaction to actions of the competition through short-term updating of the data sheets
  • Minimization of error susceptibility as well as great time savings through one-time and central data maintenance in the PIM
  • Security, e.g. through preview function
  • Elimination of duplicate work, as already designed double pages, single pages or even individual templates can be transferred and thus language changes can be easily carried out
  • Digital correction process

Prospect print advertising media

  • Fast derivation of deviating ad media scopes, thanks to the snippet functionality
  • Macro-individualization through target group-specific advertising media
  • Individualization of individual components, such as the title or the address label
  • Micro-individualization: the ultimate goal: complete individualization of the entire advertising medium

Those who ask correctly have more success!

"I have prepared five questions derived from some of our publishing and automation projects. The answers should help webinar participants avoid disappointment on the road to a digitization strategy."

How much touch do your publishing touchpoints have?

In the course of a customer journey, a prospect or customer comes into contact with numerous touchpoints. Print and publishing touchpoints, such as mailings, posters, catalogs, PDFs, labels, etc., often leave a particularly emotional, credible, and creative impression due to their haptics. One question companies must therefore ask themselves is "How much touch do your publishing touchpoints actually have?" We addressed this and other questions together with our partner SDZeCOM in the webinar on 4.12.2020. Ms. Greinwald from the Erwin Müller Group gave an insight from practice.

Do you know your content?

In every digitization project, data quality is the basis for success. Where is your most valuable content located? Are all sources and storage locations known and centralized? Is the data complete and correct? Are processes, regulations and responsibilities defined?

Do print and online content creation processes know each other?

Publishing processes in companies often run independently of online processes. There are parallel or different content creation processes for online and print. Summarize these processes!

Do you really want to digitize your analog publishing process?

Automation only realizes its full potential if it is rule-based. Conversely, this means that bad processes do not get better if they are underpinned by software.

What do you want to publish?

It doesn't have to be a good idea to replicate existing print publications 1:1 using a digital process. Take the opportunity here to cut out "old habits" and build up your print publications in a more individual, personalized and target-group-specific way.

And now it's your turn!

It is clear that print & publishing must become part of the digitization strategy in industry and retail. How this can be achieved and what is required for this, we could perhaps outline in this article. If you are interested, you are welcome to watch the Webinar afterwards (in German).