Commercial Printing Outlook: Forecasting a U-turn
"I'm now a little more optimistic than I was about print sales in 2010. They will probably stabilize and we'll see about zero change in nominal printing shipments for the year overall."
Along with a return to economic growth, Davis sees printing sales being buoyed by competitive congressional races next year and a continuation of the hyper-competitive business environment in the retail/catalog market sector. "Before, companies would wait for consumer spending to pick up and then start promoting. Now, it looks like they're doing promotions to try to get sales to pick up," he says.
While the business downturn has been universal, impacting companies of all sizes in all regions and market sectors, the same won't automatically be true for the recovery, Paparozzi warns. As the business outlook improves, companies now need to guard against "recovery complacency," he says. Printing industry recoveries have gone from being inclusive to increasingly more exclusive, meaning they are reserved for companies that really are prepared for what this industry is becoming, the economist asserts.
The place to start is with key people in the organization discussing three questions:
1) What are we doing better today than we did two years ago?
2) What do we expect to be doing better in two years than we are today?
3) How are we becoming more valuable to our clients?
According to Paparozzi, companies have a problem that the recovery is not going to fix if their answer to any of those questions is, "We don't know" or "We can't be bothered with this." Market share is being redistributed from companies that simply print, to ones that can combine print with other media and support services to develop a compelling communication program that makes their clients better for doing business with them.