Print still ‘important’ for most Mideast firms
Dubai, April 2, 2013
The print industry is still going strong and 97 per cent of organisations in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) still consider professionally-printed materials to be important to their business, said a report.
Furthermore, more than half of the organisations surveyed (54 per cent) consider print to be more effective than any other type of media, while 90 per cent stated that they would include print in their multi-channel communications tools, the highest percentage by far amongst all the different types of media, according to the first Middle East Insight Research Report commissioned by Canon Middle East.
The findings are in stark contrast with the widespread predictions from industry experts at the beginning of this decade that digital would gradually replace print in terms of its importance to a company’s marketing and communications strategy.
In fact, the research results show that print and digital are both expected to grow in tandem and complement each other as part of integrated cross-media campaigns rather than competing for singular usage. This is further verified by the fact that almost half of organisations said that they expect to increase their use of print in the near future.
“Print continues to be the number one choice for organisations in the Mena region due to its effectiveness in transmitting a message to the end user,” said Naoshi Yamada, deputy managing director, Canon Middle East.
“The findings show that the world is not moving from one medium to another as expected a few years ago, it is moving towards a convergence of mediums where print, digital, social, mobile and broadcast have equally important roles as part of a multi-channel communications strategy.”
The research also showed a strong lack of awareness surrounding the latest technological developments in cross-media, with many of them unaware of the meaning or benefits of print-on-demand, Web-to-print, professional photo books and customised direct mail, revealing further opportunity for the print industry in the region.
Only 47 per cent of print buyers are aware of web-to-print services, and 22 per cent have actually used them, so the potential market is set to be sizeable. However, applications such as Web-to-print and print-on-demand are producing tangible benefits for many customers, suggesting that their usage will rise as awareness grows.
“There is an enormous opportunity for printers to educate their customers and raise awareness of what print – especially benefits of digital print applications – can do to reinforce their brand and increase the effectiveness of their marketing efforts,” said Hendrik Verbrugghe, marketing director, Canon Middle East.
“Customers are actively looking for better education, more creative input and insights into print innovations. It is clear, therefore, that commercial printers are missing out on significant potential opportunities for growth and need to communicate far more frequently with their customers, putting aside any presumptions they may have about the level of their customers’ knowledge.”
“The Middle East Insight Report is an invaluable piece of research because it gives our industry an insight into what the buyer of print thinks. Our largest presence at Gulf Print & Pack 2013 is a reinforcement of the power of print to businesses in MEA,” he added.
Canon released the findings as it prepares to make its biggest ever showing at Gulf Print & Pack 2013, the region’s premier biennial show dedicated to the printing, graphics and packaging industry.
The research results showed some similarities with attitudes and outlooks in Europe on certain fronts and some major differences on others.
When it comes to the importance of print to their organisation, 87 per cent of companies in Europe agreed, which is less than the Middle East and Africa percentage (97 per cent) but still extremely high considering the trend towards digital/online channels in more developed European markets.
Furthermore, organisations in Europe see print as one part of a multichannel approach while organisations in the region see print as the principal, main media in their approaches.
Gulf Print & Pack 2013 takes place from April 8 to 11 at the Dubai World Trade Centre and features a 1,000 sq m Canon stand. – TradeArabia News Service
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