Print once ruled the world.

Newspapers were the primary sources of information. Businesses across the country handed out brochures and flyers. Business cards changed hands by the hundreds.

And then the world was introduced to the Internet, and everything changed.

Companies that once allocated significant amounts of money to printing budgets have turned to websites, electronic newsletters, and social media to spread messages that used to be printed.

But that doesn’t mean the printing industry is dead. On the contrary, the changes that have taken place over the past 10 years have made the industry more innovative, efficient, and effective. 

Here’s a look at three changes that have taken place in the sign and printing industry over the last decade—and what they mean to the industry moving forward.

1) The “Digital Divide” Has Been Closed

While it may be true that fewer companies are placing large orders, it is also true that high-quality printing has never been more accessible to more people.

This is due to the proliferation of digital inkjet and toner use.

According to Printing News, digital printing has increased from 7.2% of all sales in 2001 to more than 40% today. This means people who might not have be able to afford a small, high-quality print run in the past are able to get what they need when they need it today.

Printers are producing more wide-format prints, signs, and promotional posters for people who need short runs but could not afford them in the past.

Whereas once digital printing was only for companies with large budgets, it is now available to almost everyone.

2) From Printing to Public Relations

In the past, printers were viewed as vendors whose only job was to produce products on time and on budget. Today, however, many have become trusted advisers who help companies, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies understand how to best reach their audiences.

Printers have become public relations experts.

Printers are consulted on the best way to create marketing campaigns that blend printed products, e-newsletters, and web design. They work with in-house marketing professionals on brand standards, logo development, quality control, and even messaging.

Whereas once printers were viewed as nothing more than vendors, today they are partners in helping businesses build stronger public relations.

3) Cross-Media and Multi-Channel Marketing

It would be foolish for anyone to ignore the fact that most people get their information from online sources. But it would be equally foolish to say that printers aren’t doing a great job of driving people to websites—thanks in large part to cross-media and multi-channel marketing.

Savvy marketing professionals understand that the printing industry still plays a powerful role in connecting customers with companies.

All you have to do is look at response rates. According to an analysis by the Chief Marketing Officer Council, the response rate for emails is a woeful 0.12%. For direct mail, however, it’s 3.4%. That means companies interested in driving traffic to their websites are more effective when they use print—especially when the printed pieces are customized and targeted to the customer.

The Printing Industry Is Dead, Long Live the Printing Industry

While it is true that the printing industry isn’t what it used to be, it’s also true that change is inevitable and good. Today’s print shops are better equipped to serve more people. They are valued marketing partners rather than simply vendors. And they are making marketing more effective than ever.

If the old days of printing are gone, that might be a good thing.

If you’re interested in learning about how you can join a growing and thriving printing industry by investing in a Signarama franchise, contact us today!