Five Trends Your Customers Are Watching
The following post was originally published by Wide-format Impressions. To read more of their content, subscribe to their newsletter, Wide-Format Impressions.
As 2023 is getting into full swing, your customers are evaluating how they are going to spend their marketing dollars. Whether it’s for display ads, direct mail, signage, apparel, vehicle wraps, or more, now is the time they are making those determinations for the year. Knowing what trends they’re paying close attention to can help you capture more of those dollars, and ensure you are positioned to be the partner they can rely on.
1. Lead times. After all the challenges of the past few years, customers are finally realizing that “just in time” means not getting what they need when they need it. Rather, they are realizing — and now planning for — their jobs much further in advance.
This is great news for printers, as it not only helps ease production challenges, being able to plan for jobs, schedule them, and have the correct substrates on hand, it also presents an opportunity to have more in-depth conversations with customers. Instead of just taking an order for banners they need next week, instead you can talk to them about the events they have coming up, what their goals are, and how print can help them achieve them. It is a chance to offer up new suggestions, get more deeply connected with your best customers, and create the partnership every print shop is striving for.
2. Events. Speaking of events, your customers are going to be planning more in-person and live events this year. As people and businesses continue to settle back into life following the pandemic, they are excited to connect in person again. Whether it is hosting small, intimate events for their biggest supporters, hosting big open events for the public, or attending shows and events where they can connect with a wider audience, your customers are getting back out there.
And that means they need updated signage and graphics. They need banners. They need branded backdrops. They need shirts. They need promotional items. They need vehicle wraps. In other words, they need a lot of refreshed print items to help them let the world know they are back in a big way.
3. Longevity. More than ever before, your print customers are looking for ways to balance saving money with branding and advertising. One way they are doing that is by seeking out applications that can be re-used more than once. Think cloth backdrops that can easily be folded and shipped to multiple locations. Or banners meant to promote them at events all year long, rather than specific to one single event. Advertisers and print buyers are thinking longer term, and looking for graphic solutions that are durable and re-useable. This is a great opportunity for wide-format printers already used to working with vinyl and fabric.
4. Sustainability. On the heels of wanting graphics that last longer, is the need to have them be more sustainable. The world is far more eco-conscious than it was a decade ago, and as younger generations are moving into positions of authority, expect that trend to continue. It’s nothing new, and nothing you having heard a million times already, but it’s still worth noting because it is still very much top of mind. Consumers are demanding not only sustainability, but accountability, so being able to talk to your customers about options for more eco-friendly substrates, inks, or processes can help them make more informed decisions that support both their ultimate branding goals, as well as their sustainability goals.
5. Giveaways. Finally, your customers are doing the exact same thing you are — they are looking for ways to re-connect and re-engage in deeper, more meaningful relationships with their end users. Which means they are looking for ideas for promotional items that aren’t just the standard pens or hats. They want pieces that connect to the brand, but they also want items that consumers will want to keep and use. And they are willing to spend a bit more to get branded items that will fit those longevity and sustainability goals alongside forging connections with their customers. Whether you offer promotional printing in-house or partner with a trade printer to offer a wider range of products, this is an opportunity to come up with unique and innovative ideas that will really make a difference to your customers’ businesses.
Toni McQuilken is the senior editor for the printing and packaging group.