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What’s ahead for print suppliers and procurers in 2020? As usual, reading tea leaves is an inexact undertaking—but it’s useful at this time of year to take stock of the market forces potentially affecting your goals.

Analysts foresee continued challenges as well as bright spots for the printing industry in 2020. As a print buyer, awareness of these challenges and opportunities can help you get the most from your print budget.

The stronger segments for print suppliers will continue to be direct mail and labels/packaging, according to analysts. Printers also are eyeing these trends, some of which you undoubtedly share an interest in as a print buyer:

  • Print customers’ security needs: Print buyers expect vendors to protect the personal information of buyers’ clients as well as protect company information from competitors a vendor may be serving.
  • Personalization: Printers and distributors must be able to handle the complexity of personalized marketing materials. They also need to provide more personalized services to print customers.
  • eCommerce: Print procurers increasingly want the convenience of online storefronts.
  • Cloud technologies and workflow digitization: Buyers want tools to become more efficient.
  • Advertising and design trends: Printers need to be aware of advertising and design trends, such as minimalistic designs that are cleaner and more elegant.
  • Green technologies and practices: Print customers are demanding that vendors adopt less environmentally harmful practices.

Also continuing to affect print suppliers (and procurers) will be:

  • Cutbacks, mergers and acquisitions among printers, partly as a result of automation and technology.
  • Evolving technology such as 3D printing, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and connectivity such as printing-on-the-go.

Buyers must be competitive

What all this means for print procurers is that acquiring printed materials will be increasingly competitive, according to eLynxx chairman and founder Bill Gindlesperger, a print industry veteran. “Online can be effective based on targets reached. But print marketing and direct mail are becoming less expensive while driving better response rates. The bottom line is print marketing and direct mail outreach is now becoming a better buy and fit than social media.”

“To get the maximum out of your marketing dollars, you need to reduce the cost to produce each piece,” Gindlesperger says. “You need to buy print more competitively so you get more bang for your buck—to get more mailing, marketing pieces, and items out of your budget.”

“As you compete, it’s a numbers game. The more pieces you get out, the more response you get, the more contacts and the more exposure you gain.”

In a nutshell, there are two ways to be competitive: 

  1. Buy more for the same dollars
  1. Become more efficient at managing specifications, vendors and projects by using better tools.

eLynxx Solutions software and services provide the tools to help buyers get more bang for the buck and do it with less effort, so the effort can be expended in other areas.

We also address the printer buyers’ needs in the key trend areas for 2020, including workflow efficiencies, personalization, cloud technology, eCommerce solutions, and green printing. For a demonstration or information, contact info@elynxx.com or 717-709-0990. 

Sources:  Smithers, Printing Impressions, PIA, Alttrex, LinchpinSEO.

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