Adaptation is the name of the game

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.[1]

This quote that reflects on the theory of evolution in Darwin’s seminal text The Origin of Species really does characterize the nature of print businesses that have risen to meet the challenges of the last two years and beyond.

Those that have made adaptation, and the continuous development of their product and service portfolio, their core goal have experienced sustained growth – despite market pressures and disruption. Whether it is soft-signage, point-of-sale displays, interior branding, short-run packaging, or vehicle wrapping; being able to say ‘yes’ to your customers and add value to their business has been a critical competitive asset. 

There is of course a central space in the market for print-service-providers (PSPs) that are very specialized or focused in just one area, highly-streamlined and that can be highly competitive through economies of scale – whether that is for photographic printing through to large trade houses or even doing things like print for packaging.

The message we are hearing from across our customer base though is that the majority of PSPs need to be consultancy led and be able to say ‘yes’ to a variety of creative, complex and personalized bespoke work. They also emphasize that the process starts with a creative consultation with each customer about how you can help them achieve their own growth objectives.

What is also producing successful results, and where we see growth in our customer base, is when they are focusing on continuously working with customers to evaluate what their print marketing and communication needs are, and how they are evolving – so you can remain relevant and competitive.

The way forward

The heartlands of print have been under intense pressure for decades when it comes to being able to reap a respectable profit from them – in that there is nothing new. But what has changed fundamentally is that technology developers of all hues have been working flat out to provide print businesses with cost-effective platforms that help them transition into growth markets.

For EFI it is no different. Whether it is our productivity software suites that aid in taking your business online or automating your workflow – or our printing technology that has been honed and refined to deliver you maximum productivity and quality for the lowest total cost of ownership – we are laser focused on helping our customers expand their market share, increase revenues and maximize their profits. 

For PSPs today there is also a real opportunity to reach out to agencies, brands and specialist print buyers to give them creative and impactful ways to help them achieve cut through for their campaigns or products. It is also about printers asking themselves: What are the requests I am always turning down? What are the jobs I am continuously outsourcing? What jobs do I see my competitor able to cater for and I can’t?

Make it easy

Another key consideration is how you are facilitating the ability of customers to specify, order and pay for your products and services. The restrictions that have placed on our freedom of movement and congregation over the last two years have resulted in a fundamental shift in consumption patterns, with a very significant move towards online procurement.

Indeed, as Daniela Coppola of the global eCommerce specialist Statista writes: “In the last year, over two billion people purchased goods or services online, and during the same year, e-retail sales surpassed 4.2 trillion U.S. dollars worldwide.[2]”

The biggest shift taking place is that both B2B and B2C consumers have very significantly increased their expectations of the procurement process and now expect to have a solution that can be reached from anywhere, upon any device, at the user’s immediate convenience.

What is required to grasp these opportunities and put adaptability at the heart of your operation both in terms of your product offering – and the way you take it to market – is also to make sure you ask for help. At EFI we partner with our customers and can not only provide them with software and press solutions to strengthen their adaptability and diversify their offering – but more than that – we can provide them with key insights into the market, so they are making the right move at the right time.

[1] Leon C. Megginson, Professor of Management and Marketing at Louisiana State University at Baton Rouge commenting on Darwin’s Origin of Species