Digital printing is not a matter of choice anymore for print service providers, and investment in digital printing need not necessarily happen only when a traditional printing business runs out of options to grow. Considering that digital printing has overcome its previous limitations in productivity, quality, and attractive pricing, it should be a priority on every traditional printer’s agenda, and the focus should shift toward educating the customer about its benefits and applications, according to Samer Sabri Abdel Qader, COO, Masar Printing and Publishing.
“As there’s no doubt about the vast possibilities of digital printing and the opportunities for new revenue streams, it’s up to the print service provider to educate clients about how they can take advantage of these opportunities by integrating them into their marketing plans. How can your customers know all of this if you’ve not either communicated it to them or demonstrated it to them?” opines Samer.
Masar Printing and Publishing took the initiative to lead the digital printing market by becoming the first in the EMEA region to install the Kodak Prosper 6000C press, among several other digital presses, aimed at offering reader-customized newspapers and advanced printing services.
“We have always been upbeat about the potential of digital printing, and approached the market with confidence, not because we had enough digital printing orders initially, but our understanding of consumer behaviour and how digital printing was positioned to satisfy certain unique demands. Because we marketed the benefits and ROI of digital printing, we have been able to acquire customers by offering the added value proposition of new applications, personalization, and variable data printing, explains Samer.
As a business expansion and diversification strategy, digital printing offers a strong growth path for Masar’s future, points out Samer. He concurs that as demand for conventional printing and print runs reduce in the price sensitive Middle East market, digital printing stands to benefit the most by offering a flexible and profitable alternative. Publishers are becoming environmentally conscious and they are printing just the quantities they need on demand at competitive prices as opposed to the earlier trend of printing large runs and maintaining unnecessary inventory.
“For publishers, digital printing can offer the same quality of offset printing at comparable prices. Consider how the newspaper printing is set to accept this trend. Local publishers are looking at personalized, short run digital printing based on individual markets. “Content drives everything in the publishing industry, and personalized content is the future of this highly competitive industry. Readers will value the opportunity to select their topics of interest and a personalized newspaper with those topics delivered to their door every day,” says Samer.
According to Samer, one of the biggest opportunities yet relatively untapped is variable data printing. Marketers in the Middle East region are yet to be fully educated about how variable data printing can boost the response rates and ROI of their campaigns though personalized messages targeted at different customer segments.
“Globally, offset printer manufacturers are aligning their business models to integrate digital printing. To encourage this trend, printer manufacturers could offer printers and inks at lower costs. I believe such a step from manufacturers would revolutionize the industry and accelerate the adoption of digital printing. Masar will continue to invest in digital printing, aimed at market leadership and an initiative to push boundaries and inspire our customers to do the same,” says Samer.