Print far from dead: Canon

MEA firms see print as vital to their brand, reveals commissioned report

Tags: Canon Middle EastUnited Arab Emirates
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Print far from dead: Canon Canon’s report suggests print and digital will grow in tandem.
By  Stephen McBride Published  April 2, 2013

The regional print industry is still going strong and is set to grow even stronger, according to a study commissioned by Canon Middle East, which the company claims showed that 97% of organisations in the Middle East and Africa region "still consider professionally-printed materials to be important to their business".

According to Canon, more than half of the organisations surveyed (54%) consider print to be more effective than any other type of media, while 90% said they would include print in their multi-channel communications tools, the highest percentage among media types.

Canon's findings appear to contradict widespread predictions from industry analysts at the beginning of the decade that digital would gradually replace print in terms of its importance to a company's marketing and communications strategy. Canon claims its research results show print and digital are expected to grow in tandem and complement each other as part of integrated cross-media campaigns rather than competing for singular usage. Canon also claimed that almost half of organisations said they expect to increase their use of print in the near future.

Canon Middle East - a significant manufacturer of printers, printing consumables and a provider of print managed services - said it commissioned the research as part of its strategy to "ensure that it first and foremost understands its customers' needs and identifies industry trends based on local insight and international best practices in the industry".

The report is based on a survey of 210 users and commissioners of professional printing conducted through interviews in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Egypt, Morocco and Kenya.

"Print continues to be the number-one choice for organisations in the Middle East and North Africa due to its effectiveness in transmitting a message to the end user," said Naoshi Yamada, deputy managing director, Canon Middle East.

"The findings show that the world is not moving from one medium to another as expected a few years ago, it is moving towards a convergence of mediums where print, digital, social, mobile and broadcast have equally important roles as part of a multi-channel communications strategy."

Canon said the research also showed a strong lack of awareness surrounding the latest technological developments in cross-media, with many unaware of the meaning or benefits of print-on-demand, Web-to-print, professional photo books and customised direct mail, revealing, Canon argued, further opportunity for the print industry in the region.

"Only 47% of print buyers are aware of Web-to-print services, and 22% have actually used them, so the potential market is set to be sizeable," Canon said.

"However, applications such as Web-to-print and print-on-demand are producing tangible benefits for many customers, suggesting that their usage will rise as awareness grows."

"There is an enormous opportunity for printers to educate their customers and raise awareness of what print - especially benefits of digital print applications - can do to reinforce their brand and increase the effectiveness of their marketing efforts," said Hendrik Verbrugghe, marketing director, Canon Middle East.

"Customers are actively looking for better education, more creative input and insights into print innovations. It is clear, therefore, that commercial printers are missing out on significant potential opportunities for growth and need to communicate far more frequently with their customers, putting aside any presumptions they may have about the level of their customers' knowledge."

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