Why stop a good thing? So let's continue our Printing Industry Predictions and Trends article. Welcome to part two. I'm so grateful for the collective wisdom we've received from our experts. If you want to catch up on part one, click here.
Coudray Growth Technologies
The industry is super strong right now Every area, within the industry, is doing well and growing. It’s amazing to me that the specialty graphics industry has established the position that it has in the overall graphics arts community.
You’ve got profitability. You’ve got growth. We’ve got innovation. We’ve got all the elements of a healthy economic model. And that’s drawing a lot of attention from outside of our industry, with new corporate players coming in, new acquisitions that are taking place.
I think 2019 overall, business is going to continue to be strong. We’ll have a continued strong year in all the areas and we’re going to continue to see more investment in the industry outside of the traditional investment players.
PRINT SALES TO EXCEED $ 200 BILLION IN 2019
Thanks to a growing US economy and the fact that there are fewer printers, our industry will grow some 3% this year. Higher pricing will be necessary to cover paper, interest, energy and shipping cost increases.
The Top-5 product/market combinations are: Labels/Packaging and POP/POS for foods and beverages; Direct mail for non-profits and financial institutions; Digital/retail for Real estate and travel/hospitality; Book manufacturing for publishers and education; and Commercial print for small businesses.
Look for the Hot Markets review in the January 2019 edition of Printing Impressions magazine. Contact Vince@pbba.org
Here's the link to last year's Hot Markets.
Orazio “Omike” Fichera
Marketing Consultant To Manufacturers Of Printing Products Since 1980
Not to sound like a "know-it-all" ---- but technology changes and the number of vendors battling for channel supremacy (U.S. and Foreign) have dealers doubtful of whether their manufacturer relationships are going to remain strong.
Business Principles Do Not Change. So, my advice to dealers I consult with is this. "Follow The Money" "Follow The Industry Trends" and most of all get in the face of every one of your customers --not some-- every one of your customers and ask what they want you to be as they step into the new year.
I'll conclude with one more piece of advice.
The dealer community needs to do more work around marketing. While technology solutions evolve print-industry-dealers must give thought to what they want their company brand to convey in the market. AND, what types of customers should they be rubbing shoulders with.
There is no hard and fast rule here, but I pose a legitimate question to both dealers and their manufacturer-vendors: Are you better off buying your marketing from experts or do you want to assemble a marketing department of one or two unqualified and at times overworked individuals that work at marketing when they can?
Frankly, I'll put my money on dealers that buy services from the experts and concentrate their efforts on their core capabilities.
In 2019 I see the unprecedented “window of opportunity” that sellers have had to get historically high multiples begin to disappear. How quickly this will happen depends on the development in interest rates and general market uncertainty.
We already saw a slow-down of M&A activity for larger deals towards the end of 2018 and I expect this to trickle down to the smaller and mid-segment market as well during 2019.
I still see lots of buyers, both strategic and private equity, but it will become more difficult for them to make deals. Biggest impact will be from market uncertainty, as it will reduce the options for buyers to get financing, at least on the current favourable terms.Will impact their ability to pay high multiples and ultimately also their ability to do deals at all.
As sellers realize that the market is changing we may see a rush of companies being offered for sale, as many do not want to or cannot wait for 7 or 8 years for the next peak in the market. This could end up putting additional pressure on valuations.
Graphic Arts Advisors
We’re very busy right now. We think it’s going to continue into next year. There are a lot of people, that are my age, over 60 years old, that own companies that need to get out. Either because of their age, business may not be doing as well, or they’re doing very well right now.
We really feel now it’s a seller’s market and there are a tremendous amount of buyers out there.
Almost any good company out there is looking to tuck in acquisitions or buy other locations. So, we feel, right now, is a really good time to market your company.
Director of Communication, Professional Speaker
At the SGIA Expo, one of the most attended education session was about online marketing. Most of the print business owners in the room admitted to knowing little to nothing about it. And yet, they knew they needed to become active in online marketing.
In 2019, the divide will continue to grow between those who market their printing businesses online and those who mean to get around to it.
Does Marketing Beat Price?
Let’s say you have two businesses that do the same work for the same price. Company A markets itself and Company B does not. Who does more business? Company A.
Let’s say Company B decides it will lower its prices to compete. Now, who does more business? It’s probably still Company A because nobody knows about Company B.
In a competitive marketplace, being known is priceless. And people will pay more for perceived quality.
Video and More Video
Print business owners who use video will stand out to the consumer. Whether it’s telling the story of your family business, showcasing customer testimonials, or promoting special offers, video gives you an opportunity to engage with people, whether they’re sitting at a computer or are in line at Starbucks.
Why not use video to reconnect with old customers? Wish them a happy birthday or make a followup sales pitch.
The good news is your smartphone has a powerful camera and additional tools are available at budget friendly prices. You don’t need to rent a TV studio or buy a lot of expensive equipment.
While the tools are inexpensive, smart print business owners should invest in strategy. Your friend’s nephew or niece may use social media but know nothing about growing the bottom line. Unless you print money, hiring them is not a smart move.
Make sure you partner with professionals who can help you focus your vision and goals. This can produce a roadmap for action.
The biggest price of entry to the online world is time. Make sure you invest it to develop your plan, put it into action, and adjust as needed.
Wait, there's a Print Predictions part one? Take me there! Click here to see them.