The Importance of Print in the Hybrid Communications Mix: Your Questions, Answered.

Friday, Jul 10th 2020
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Quadient partnered with Keypoint Intelligence InfoTrends to discuss The Importance of Print in the Hybrid Communications Mix. It was the first webinar in The Future of Mail and Communications series, and highlighted with research from our partner KeyPoint Intelligence – Infotrends.

Guest analyst, Marc Mascara, reviewed the latest key data and projections for Print Service Providers and any business that sends customer critical communications. Participants learned the right strategies to meet ever-changing customer preferences and covered key topics:

  • How are customer communication preferences shifting?
  • Does paper still matter in the digital age?
  • Is outsourcing becoming more widely accepted?
  • Has the current economic crisis changed the way we communicate?

Below is a compilation of the questions and responses from The Importance of Print in the Hybrid Communications Mix webinar

1. Do you think that the current channel fog and channel fatigue effects are temporary?  
Media reports, fraud, identify theft and security concerns have increased through the past years, with hacks happening more often.

Since the pandemic, fatigue has accelerated due to the overwhelming uptick in emails and hacks. Channel fog and fatigue is what has led to digital advocacy going down, as people want to avoid cybersecurity issues. Consumers are nervous and these issues are what is currently driving the preferences. 

2. You would think the younger generation will have a harder time adopting going back to more paper. 
There is somewhat of a divide in the age group of 18-34 as presented in the webinar. This group is sub-sectioned into 18-24 and 25-34. What the data exposes is that the subgroup of younger respondents 18-24 are even more accepting of paper. What this signal is the initial gravitation to paper as opposed to a return as they have not made a change in the first place. With the sub-group 25-34 the data indicates the sentiment to switch back to paper.  

The YOY trend for the past three years signal that downward trend in “electronic transactional communications access” in favor of print. With that said younger consumers access a greater share electronically so what this trend signals are a leveling off of the once steep increase in digital. So there is no indication of a drop off in digital nor a huge increase in paper, what it does signify is that we have reached a point of flattening preferences for both with the younger generations effecting the adoption of paper over digital.

What drives this? Not only channel fog and fatigue as younger generation is more in tune to digital channel issues, but also the fact that a younger person will change their email address four to five times more than that of those in the age group 35+, meaning they will have to correct all their digital communication channel preferences with all of their brands and or utilities. 

3. What experiences are considered 'Bad' experience?
A bad experience often centers around customer satisfaction. There are many aspects in life that can lead to a bad experience, but in this case one noted frustration with customer experience was that of an enterprise whose customer support line continually asked for the same information when moving from one support agent to another.

Another example as we spoke about in the webinar is the inability for a brand or enterprise to communicate in the channel requested by a customer. A bad customer experience can even be the frustration of a customer that finds the text of their statement, either print or digital too small to read, with both have their own challenge in overcoming. 

4. Kindly explain more about "print production becoming elastic". 
Print production is becoming more responsive to change in the production cycle (elastic). Workflow, integrated systems, IOT 4.0, machine learning is driving this production approach to allow PSPs (Print Service Providers) to drive their day to day production at a greater efficiency than ever before. 

Load balancing between production equipment, ability to schedule and initiate like batch production jobs all with highly personalized and variable applications is just part of the key benefits of having the ability to run at full speed. It can also be a key challenge if the PSP is not equipped with the equipment of software that helps enable this elasticity. 

5. How big of a reminder text should be included in regular e-mail replies?
We currently do not have data specific to font size. A way to find out how your audience best responds to emails is to set up tracking within the email, then monitor and compare the tracking from email to email. 

6. In a "double dipping" scenario it showed print and email as being the top 2....have you seen a change in that trend from the current pandemic?
Yes, the indication for the first two months of the pandemic shows the increase in email over mobile app.

7. Your slide mentioned that over 50% of enterprise are now outsourcing their print, do we know if this is the day to day transactional print jobs or just the large marketing or finance mail. Are there any figures for the outsourcing of day to day mail? 
The slide was expressing the percentage of PSPs (print service providers) that provide print outsourcing to enterprise that also manage their electronic delivery. The data shows that PSPs are taking on more of both the print and electronic delivery. To answer your question a little more directly, there is the trend that a majority to half of enterprise outsource a large portion of their production print. 

While they are outsourcing production, the day to day work is still in house. This is primarily due to MFP equipment that have reduced in price and increased in duty cycle that make it cost effective to keep the day to day work in house with basically one or part time employee to handle the work.

8. Is it just the large enterprises outsourcing or do you have any details on Small or Medium business outsourcing? 
SMBs are also outsourcing but one thing to note their outsourcing of both digital and print at a greater rate than large enterprise. Because of a smaller outbound marketing, finance and back office, SMBs are more prone to the internal cost constraints of imaging equipment and software delivery platforms.  

9. You mentioned that we should expect more customization leading to greater setup times, but how is this running at the speed of now and what can help improve the speed at which we can run? 
There are solutions available that can improve the speed at which you run your business. Various Quadient mailing and business process automation solutions include a variety of benefits, so you can:

  • Access the cheapest postage tariff, so you save on every letter or parcel you send
  • Overprint envelopes with marketing messages, logos or slogans
  • Use Rate Wizard and integrated scales to ensure you calculate the right postage every time
  • Monitor, track and control your postal spend with the online portal
  • Automate your entire customer communication workflow
  • Send transactional documents via any channel your customers prefer, Print, Digital or Outsourced
  • Improve the speed and effectively manage set up time when it comes to outsourcing
  • Increase business velocity, maximize employee efficiency
  • Future-proof your business with configurable, scalable solutions
  • Stay competitive and exceed expectations

10. Is this in your opinion the end of the death of paper and everything is going digital mentality that we kept hearing of in the past? 
Good question, and that will be a good question 5 years from now as well, because I don’t believe that mentality will dissipate ever. But what is evident for the foreseeable future, is that print and digital will coexist in this multichannel world. Until we have one pure delivery channel without social and economic hurdles, I believe we have plateaued the rise of digital and the demise of print for now. 

Interested in learning more about future print projections? Download the InfoTrends Report: Future Projects for Print Service Providers

The Importance of Print in the Hybrid Communications Mix