Digital print or Litho?

The time old question that many lithographic printers don’t want to answer, Digital print is fast becoming the latest media for printing but do we all agree that Litho is actually a dead process and much to expensive in this digital world.

Coming from a Litho print background I do find Litho quality is still top on my list, but saying that most of my clients require a cheap low run print solution so it really is client’s dependant now whether I use Litho or digital.

To the naked eye or novice most clients would struggle to see the difference now between both processes.

There are times when Litho will overall digital, certainly in cost for larger runs. Digital printing is competitive up to certain quantities then Litho comes in to its own.

Some sizes won’t fit onto a digital press, anything larger than 12” x 18” or SRA3 will be too large, that’s when Litho wins this battle. Most printers are opting to keep litho for large runs and get in a digital press to cover the small cheap runs.

How to market your printing business

Marketing or sales?

Marketing cannot be confused with sales, both are completely different and it is important to remember the difference.

Marketing – Is the process of placing your product or services in front of the customer to encourage a sale or conversion. It is a way of stimulating the customer/s to buy your product or service. So for printing businesses marketing reaches the customer and draws them in to the printing service, you also want the customer to return and become a very satisfied regular customer.

A marketing campaign is only successful if the customer makes a conversion and sends a Purchase order.

Marketing includes:  Branding, advertising, PR, brand awareness and promotions. Every detail counts even the smallest most subtle, marketing is about building your brand and making any potential customers confident in your services or products on offer.

Use your brand to create awareness You don’t need a huge budget to build a strong brand image, to build a loyal following you need to create a personality for your business something that can easily be remembered. Satisfied followers will spread the word for you, and adopt themselves as your very own sales field without even realising.

Use all opportunities to spread the message – As a business you get chances everyday to connect to new customers, but you need to take full advantage of this. Clever marketing involves the use of all media, Van sides, promotions, truck sides, cars, use every opportunities to spread the brand.

Keep your customers happy – Winning a customer involves hard work, don’t be complacent and destroy the relationship with poor customer service. A bad customer experience can spread a bad word about your business alot quicker than a good word. Make your service personal if they have a complaint deal with it quickly and avoid bad feedback.

The Digital printing age

Since the fifteenth century printing has come quite a long way, Lithographic printing being the main process in that era. Now digital print has come into its own with short run printing digital printing has become the preferred process. The digital printing process has undergone some dramatic changes over the past few years.

Digital printing is becoming easier to implement for businesses, inks have become better and machines available on good finance deals. Many Litho printers have installed digital machines to cover the market for short runs.

Digital printing increases impact

With the cost of digital printing extremely low, businesses can take advantage of using full colour print rather than black and white. Business communications can therefore have more impact with full colour covers and inside covers collated with black and white inner pages.

In short research has shown that customers will read or have much more interest in a brochure or booklet with a full colour cover instead of black and white or monochrome.

How digital process has evolved

Digital printing has changed in its early years even though it has any been widely excepted for a few years it has changed quickly. The machines available today are very advanced closely matching the lithographic process for quality.

In my own opinion it has still a way to go to beat the quality of litho, especially on heavy boards for business cards but it has evolved quickly. Machines are cheaper but the process isn’t easier to produce the final finished items.

Finishing equipment is still required for cutting and folding, although some of the high end colour machines now offer fold, stitch and trim facilities. Colours are difficult to match, pantones are close but not as precise as litho, so the user needs to tweak the colour palettes to get it close.

Overall digital is good for cheap short runs, but still has a way to go if it with ever beat the Lithographic process.