Catalog/Publication Outlook : Preserving a Strong BaseDecember 2013 By Nicole Perry, Associate Editor
Catalogers and magazine publishers in 2013 faced many of the same challenges as the prior year of finding the right mix of media to deliver information and build their brands. In addition, economic uncertainty and pending postal increases were thrown into the pot to create a stew of questions: How can companies reduce costs without negatively impacting integrated, multi-channel campaigns? How can they make the shift of advertising dollars from print to digital work for them? Is it possible to find a profitable ink-on-paper/digital balance?
Successful publishers and catalogers look at problems like these as opportunities to innovate and stand out from the crowd. But they need creative print and cross-channel services providers to help them.
Printers' reactions to these marketing challenges include a wide range of approaches, such as sophisticated analytics and embracing new print technologies, explains Bruce Jensen, vice president of sales at TC Transcontinental Printing, headquartered in Montreal. His company recently installed an HP T400 continuous-feed color inkjet press, which enables "offset-class capability" and longer runs with 100 percent variable content capabilities. "It's the direction the market is heading," he says.
Interactive Print Solutions
Quad/Graphics, of Sussex, WI, has invested in interactive print solutions to seamlessly connect print and mobile media, like its Actable mobile phone and tablet app. The app and its enabling technologies are all improving faster than the speed of search engines, offering more opportunities as time goes on. "We now say we are a printer and a media channel integrator," says Dave Blais, executive vice president of sales and client services, "because it is clear that the future is not an either/or channel decision, but one that integrates all channels."
Some brands in the magazine sector are continuing to expand internationally, notes Rick Marcoux, president of publishing and commercial services at Chicago-based RR Donnelley. He describes how particular attention is being paid to Latin American and Asian markets. "RR Donnelley is well-positioned for such expansions, owing to our international footprint in Latin America, Europe and Asia. We remain a printer of choice for publishers expanding in these regions," he says.
For instance, a longtime magazine print customer began to extend its reach to readers through a digital edition provided via RR Donnelley's DigiMag product, Marcoux notes. Starting with the replica edition, RR Donnelley currently creates animations, designs interactive videos, offers translations into three languages and provides publications for 15 countries. "We are now converting to mobile apps on both the Apple and Android platforms," he explains.