The world of offset printing was once a solid industry but over the past few years we have steadily seen a reduction in demand for offset print. There are many reasons for this and it is important to recognize that this is not a fad that will disappear. Offset still remains an important part of the future however expect to see a constant slide.


Manufacturing has shifted to emerging markets where low wages drastically reduces manufacturing costs. Along with that manufacturing, the support documentation and packaging have also shifted to those markets. China is one of those countries that has benefited from this change and it is very unlikely that the work will come back anytime soon.


Improved efficiencies have drastically reduced the production times required to produce a job so each machine now requires much more work to fill it to capacity. The work that does remain is subjected to fierce price competition so the efficiencies do not result in increased profits but instead, lower pricing and even more price competition.


Digital delivery has taken a considerable amount of work as well. Many companies that once included printed instruction manuals have opted for PDF files instead. In a world where everything is so price sensitive, it only makes sense to make this move to digital. Music CD’s & DVD’s were once a popular product that required packaging but today, those products are being delivered electronically. Even books are delivered electronically and for the first time, electronic delivery of ebooks outsold traditional paperback books.


Magazine and newspaper subscriptions are in constant decline and again, digital delivery is one of the reasons for this. As well, advertising revenue once dedicated to this medium have been redirected to other forms of advertising.


Copier technology or digital presses have not only taken away the majority of short run work, they are taking away some of the higher run work as well. Variable data solutions offer a targeted solution that generates a higher ROI for customers.


Desktop printers are cheap and everyone has the ability to print impressive full colour materials from their homes. Many companies make their marketing materials on-line & those who want a printed version can just print it out on demand. This also impacts the world of photo prints.


The paperless office has not eliminated print but it has had a huge impact on the industry. Many people include a line in their email informing people not to print the email unless it is necessary. Although this pertains to the email, the message is branding and building awareness about paper conservation.


Inkjet technologies have gained popularity over the years and today’s machines produce a wide variety of products that have proven to gain customer’s attention. A wider range of product choices means that the budgets once allocated to print are now being spread over a larger range of products reducing the run lengths and putting them into the realm of digital.


The internet has had a huge impact on printing. At one time a customer had to print a catalogue to get their products in front of a customer but today they simply need a website to accomplish the same thing. Customers can update pricing whenever required and no longer need to reprint their price-list whenever they have a price change. Brochures and other marketing collateral are also made available for customers to instantly view on demand.


Social Media has captured the attention of the world and is becoming one of the most effective forms of branding. Many companies are refocusing their advertising budgets to the internet in an effort to cash in on this.


Lower advertising budgets forces companies to find the lowest cost solution to achieve their marketing goals. With so many options today, much of those dollars are spread out to a variety of marketing vehicles.


Stiffer competition throughout the industry has impacted the pricing of the remaining work and makes it difficult to make a profit in today’s market. Lower pricing and less volume together can be a disaster for companies without additional revenue streams.


The advertiser has many more choices on where to spend their money these days. In many cases, the sale goes to those that can demonstrate lower cost and higher effectiveness in their product offering. When was the last time your sales proposal demonstrated the effectiveness of your product offering? Those who are offering marketing services that include personalization or internet advertising are armed with research data that shows how much more effective their solutions are over other mediums.


If your printing company is suffering from any or all of these challenges, what are you doing to add more value for your customer & support traditional offset sales?


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