The journey through the Print & Digital Convention

Tips for preparing your visit to Düsseldorf

The German song by Johannes Wader, "Heute hier, morgen dort, bin kaum da, muss ich fort" (Here today, there tomorrow, I'm hardly there, I have to leave), accurately describes the immense amount of work and challenges companies face as they strive to appeal to consumers and potential customers in this ever-evolving digital revolution. The customer and consumer journey has long since ceased to be one of external mobility- how to browse, where to shop and what to buy. From a business perspective, there are several challenges, from the the constant shift between online and offline encounters, and moving between the physical and digital worlds. The result is a multitude of touchpoints with companies products.

This blog is designed to help give marketers the tools they need to understand what print can do in these scenarios in advance of the Print & Digital Convention (PDC).

The travel plan

When you consider that customers and consumers have hundreds of touchpoints with products or services, it's amazing how many of them remain physical. Print as a physical medium is very well represented here, accounting for more than 20% of the total touchpoints.

For this journey, a travel guide in the form of a London Underground map helps as an orientation:

With a map in your luggage, the journey can begin.

The ticket

With the high mobility and availability in an offline mode, utilizing paper as an experience along the customer journey fulfills the required flexibility of print touchpoints. Most marketers can only dream of this. How do you measure the effectiveness of print?  Why does print pay off in the marketing orchestra? To make the ticket to the journey pay off, it must be possible to map the added value of print.

In addressing the value of print as a physical medium, leading vendors and service providers have been thinking about how to sell print better. To this end, various studies have been published in recent years that address the issue of print and the demands placed on it. Here's some helpful insight:

Print must be made measurable
Simply sending out advertising material without knowing afterwards what this measure has achieved is no longer sustainable or logical in the 21st century. Canon has published its "Make it Count" study specifically on this subject, addressing the various ways in which print can be made measurable- from trackable QR codes, specific landing pages, NFCs and beyond. The toolbox to measure printed collateral is diverse.

The physical appearance and feel of the paper medium as a success factor

Paper manufacturers and wholesalers, such as Sappi and IGEPA, make their products impresss through look and feel. From eye-catching layouts, unique folds, finishes and formats stand out from the competition. IGEPA expressly advocates physically feeling and touch and stressing the importance of physical collateral options instead of only pdf downloads.

In an additional psychological study, Canada Post ventures into neural studies, addressing how our brains neurologically respond to the physical touch of paper.

Increased conversion rate through direct mailers

There are several studies at other postal and sales organizations that underpin the relevance of printed matter, specifically addressing the impact of direct mail. Various case studies show how different touchpoints, whether its catalogs, postcards or self-mailers, can contribute to a company's marketing effort success. In this context, several case studies have demonstrated up to a 50-fold increase in the performance of print compared to digital marketing.

There is plenty of evidence of the added value that physical print touchpoints offer in addition to digital touchpoints in terms of performance enhancement and emotionalization.

The means of transport

There are many challenges are present: How do I actually get to the point of fully exploiting the possibilities of print in the digital marketing spectrum? How do I get to the point where (digital) marketers get the right metrics, utilize the correct tools and obtain the right service providers?

The 2022 Print & Digital Convention in Düsseldorf offers an excellent opportunity to discuss with experts and thought leaders in the industry at eye level all of these topics.

The PDC claims to present not only individual solutions, but also practical fields of application and everyday scenarios that are relevant for communication and advertising. Numerous partners and companies are involved, demonstrating a wide range of possibilities.

The fuel

As the saying goes: You can't set off without fuel... you also can't successfully print without data. But where do I get the "fuel" (the relevant brand owner data) needed for my journey to print? And how can I avoid stopovers so I can get as far as possible with my fuel?

We are looking at the journey from the data to the finished Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, or PDF document. A system for integrating this data without technological gaps, which avoids one-way streets, (i.e. transporting data purely from A to B, and process the data returns avoiding all unnecessary intermediate stops). This is what attendees can learn at the PDC, because this is where end-to-end data connectivity comes in:

In a helpful example, SSI Schäfer Shop reports on the art of tailoring catalogs to the respective target group and the challenges of this undertaking. How SSI Schäfer Shop mastered the challenge and what solutions are available to harmonize data, processes and organization was addressed in an informative interview by Ulrich Gursky, Head of Communications at SSI Schäfer Shop.

According to SSI Schäfer Shop's Ulrich Gursky, the quintessence of the new role of print in the digital marketing spectrum is: "Print must become part of the digital strategy."

Horst Huber, CEO of priint and pioneer of database publishing, takes the same line in his presentation "Programmatic Print - Hope for an Entire Industry or Just Something for Lucky Unicorns?" . Horst highlights the organizational and technological challenges that companies like SSI Schäfer Shop will face in the future if they want to keep up with the performance expectations of print marketing.

The luggage

What has to be included are technologies that support the process up to the printable pdf. True to the mantra: "What can be automated, must be automated. What can be connected, must be connected. What can be digitized must be digitized."

Enterprise publishing technology provider priint Group / WERK II will demonstrate at it's booth at PDC how to connect catalogs, labels, packaging, datasheets and more directly with the relevant data of brand owners, automate them and in turn, create the digital basis for the holistic omnichannel experience along the customer journey. The essential technology components ensure end-to-end data connectivity and powerful layout automation.

The budget

What must not be missing on this proverbial journey, of course is the budget: Enough budget is needed not only to finance the trip, but also to be able to afford a souvenir or two. So let's get back to the "why" and the return on investment:

The return on investment through the use of print and publishing outputs argumentatively supports their investment in PIM, DAM, MDM, e-commerce or other content systems, marketing infrastructure and data sources.

In addition to the performance of physical touchpoints, the multiple use of existing data and content is traded as a benefit argument, especially in digital marketing. This is an argument that should not be underestimated, because it is a considerable effort for companies to provide data and content for digital marketing processes. If these data, however, can now also be secondarily utilized with, if necessary, some enrichment, this underlines the benefit argument.

In this respect, the trade show is also suitable for those responsible for digital marketing who are not involved in print, as print offers a cost-effective extension of the digital marketing landscape here.

The trip

Then the journey can begin - at a speed that is in no way inferior to the digital competition - and at the same time remains permanently in the memory.

Marketers take note: Are you still in touch with your customers and consumers?

In line with the feeling of homelessness expressed in Johannes Wader's song, "Here today, there tomorrow", marketers are now even more challenged as to how they can meet this longing for trust, security and a feeling of home.

How can companies interact and create long-term connections with their consumers is crucial, while also following the speed and dimensions in the customer journey.

Especially in these times, when it is getting harder and more expensive to scale in digital marketing, a value proposition with physical touchpoints is suddenly emerging (again), combining the complementary use of advantages of the physical world and the digital world.

One question remains: Does the physical medium of print need to become part of the digital world or, in reality, does the digital world need to find its way back into reality?

The PDC is a recommendable place to start the discussion. On site are providers of the studies, companies from the classic print industry, as well as companies such as the priint Group - offering a link between the online and offline worlds. There will then also be presentations from brands, such as the aforementioned SSI Schäfer Shop, who will talk about their projects and the experiences they have made and give insights into their journey.  

The PDC will take place on June 22-23 at the CCD Congress Center Düsseldorf on the grounds of Messe Düsseldorf.