return Home

How Canon is using digital to breathe new life into print

Cathy Bittner, business development manager, graphic arts, for Canon Europe spoke at this year’s Digital Innovators Summit (DIS) in Berlin. Here, she talks us through how modern innovations in digital technology are leading to a resurgence in the power of print. 

 

 

Introducing publishers to the virtues of print media may seem like a strange concept, but in 2019 that’s exactly where we’re at. Canon, an 81 year old multinational once famous for the production of portable cameras, is no stranger to pivoting itself. A whole series of innovations and acquisitions in recent years has led the company into new revenue streams, with an estimated nine per cent of total sales having been reinvested into research and development in 2011.

The company now finds itself in the thick of the digital-print revolution. Where augmented reality is brining digital experiences to physical touchpoints, so too evolutions like 3D printers and virtual reality are using digital technology to breathe new life into the physical world. Here, Bittner explains the difference between traditional offset and modern dynamic printing.  

“The difference between offset printing and digital printing is that offset is static, and digital completely dynamic,” says Bittner. “So, that means that every page you print can be completely different. We believe now that you can use that in publishing and also in targeting readers by basically curating the content that suits every reader individually. And you can produce that in pretty high productivity ranges.”

With the lines between the physical and digital worlds now blurring, it is perhaps inevitable that the practices and processes from the one realm are spilling into the other. For publishers, this represents an opportunity to apply newfound digital techniques and expertise to the printed product.

“Basically, where digital print is today, it can be an integrated part of the complete communication mix. So you can have digital marketing with programmatic advertising, you can target part of that programmatic advertising as programmatic print. You can put AR, and if you want you can use barcodes, you can use QR codes, basically to use print to trigger online. So you can make that connection in various ways.”

There is also of course, something to be said for breaking free from the digital noise in 2019. The fight for eyeballs in search and social has made cutting through to consumers notoriously difficult for marketeers and publishers alike in recent years. The might of the Facebook-Google duopoly in this area has not helped matters, and in Europe and around the world GDPR, and increasing calls for digital regulation mean that ‘data driven strategies’ do not necessarily hold the clout they once did. Could modern digital printing offer one possible solution?

“Absolutely. I mean, what we see is that the results of a lot of digital campaigns, where curators have just gone pure digital, they're becoming difficult, because people have digital fatigue. So getting the cut through is more and more difficult, because everyone is doing the same thing. Whereas if you can get that mix of targeting with print in a personal way, and then getting back online, then it gives the publisher a much greater traction, actually, with his reader because you're getting through at points where digital online won't get through.”

And as Bittner explains, there are numerous ways businesses can dip their toes into these waters: 

“What we do as Canon is we supply end-to-end digital solutions. But that also includes workflow. So the example I gave with Bonprix, who are using that for their catalogue, mass customizing catalogue, they have some software partners that they work with for the recommendation engine, for creating those templates, and then we take that, or our customers take that and then push it through production.”

“With the postcard retargeting, for example, that can be turned around within 48 hours. So from the time you have been on the net, and we see there's a need, or there's an interest, you can keep that warm and have a postcard or some kind of a communication in print at that customer within 48 hours.”

“I think there's a lot of different starting points. I think for example with the postcard idea, many magazine publishers have very nice and relevant content sites now. So sometimes they have the challenge to get subscribers to trigger them onto the net. You could therefore use something like that in print to trigger consumers to go to your online site, where they then engage with more relevant content, and at various touch points along that reader experience.”

In terms of the types of products that can now be produced on fast turnaround times by digital printing, Bittner explains that there are numerous options. Because of the flexibility provided by this approach, printing is no longer contained to the confines of the printing press.

“It can be a publishing product, like some kind of a magazine. Or it can be a promotional product. It really doesn't matter for the output. For example, say you wanted to do a special interest magazine, for your subscribers. You could even go as far as saying I want to do a targeted version for this subscriber.”

“Maybe it's for a bike, where you can have the advertising that goes around that particular product, with targeting exactly that person. If he’s a fanatical biker you can liaise them with people who are selling that product in his vicinity, so you can add geo to behavioural, if you know what I mean. So everything you doing online, basically - best offer recommendations, you can put into print.”

Finally, for an industry that has been ‘going digital’ for more than 20 years now, the media sector can still place quite a high emphasis on, and segmentation of, digital migration. Have publishers potentially been too quick to cut off print strategies? And even if that was a necessity in days gone by, has technology now caught up to the point where physical products can become a viable part of the mix again?

“Yeah, I think our feeling is maybe [publishers] have seen digital and print as two different paths, and we really see that the onsets and the developments in digital printing could bring those together and bridge it, because I think we need both. And digital printing allows you to have all the good things of print. So, grabbing attention and being tactile and being personal, but also with the online advantages of digital marketing. The targeting, the real precise timely, meaningful offer. So, best of both worlds, I would say!”

 

 

More like this

Download the DIS 2019 speaker presentations

Five things we learned at DIS2019

How Canon enables personalised print publishing

First Congress speakers announced

Draft Congress agenda announced featuring Hearst, Burda, Red Bull and more

View from the Chair: ‘Much more than a conference’

  • Nordic warrior: transforming revenue models at Schibsted

    Norwegian-headquartered media giant Schibsted is often held up as a business that has transformed itself in recent years to remain relevant and thriving. Tor Jacobsen, SVP and chief consumer officer at Schibsted Media explains how the company has retained a focus on revenue generation during that transformation, and the role data is playing in driving growth.

    19th Jun 2019 Features
  • Finding a home at Penske Media, Rolling Stone 'poised to continue to tell world's most important stories... for decades to come'

    For over 50 years, Rolling Stone has been iconic in its coverage of music and popular culture, political journalism and commentary. From the Beatles' Magical Mystery tour to Shawn Mendes, Rolling Stone has covered the greatest rockstars, the hottest celebrities, the biggest political stories. Called a 'counterculture bible' by The New York Times, the magazine has launched careers, defined what was cool, inspired a rock song, been embroiled in controversy, and over the last two years, found a new home with Penske Media Corporation. 

    17th Jun 2019 Features
  • How to fix broken digital ad models

    Despite popular belief, subscriptions and paywalls will not be the silver bullet most digital publishers have been waiting for. Instead, publishers should be exploring innovation in digital advertising formats, said Jessica Rovello, co-founder and CEO, Arkadium, USA, at this year's Digital Innovators' Summit in Berlin. She proposed four new formats as a good place to start.

    17th Jun 2019 Features
  • American and European publishers learn from each other as advertising models converge

    In March, I attended the FIPP Digital Innovators’ Summit in Berlin and left with the realisation that advertising-related problems in Europe are the same ones we’re facing in America: media fragmentation, a failing business model, fraud, and the emergence of social platforms that distribute our content for free and control the ad spend.

    12th Jun 2019 Features
  • How The New York Times' AI-driven data insight tool is informing ad campaigns

    For publishers, AI-driven tools have largely been used for editorial purposes, to write articles on themes like sports scores, weather forecasts and real estate sales. For example, Reuters uses an AI-based tool called NewsTracer to sift through millions of tweets in real time, to flag potential news stories, for its journalists. UK-based Reach does something similar, using an AI-based tool called Krzana to monitor 60,000 online sources to alert journalists to breaking news, and Forbes has tested an AI-based tool to draft stories for contributors. Publishers have also leveraged artificial intelligence to power content recommendations, to edit homepages, and for translation.

    10th Jun 2019 Features
  • Finding a home at Penske Media, Rolling Stone 'poised to continue to tell world's most important stories... for decades to come'

    For over 50 years, Rolling Stone has been iconic in its coverage of music and popular culture, political journalism and commentary. From the Beatles' Magical Mystery tour to Shawn Mendes, Rolling Stone has covered the greatest rockstars, the hottest celebrities, the biggest political stories. Called a 'counterculture bible' by The New York Times, the magazine has launched careers, defined what was cool, inspired a rock song, been embroiled in controversy, and over the last two years, found a new home with Penske Media Corporation. 

    17th Jun 2019 Features
  • How to fix broken digital ad models

    Despite popular belief, subscriptions and paywalls will not be the silver bullet most digital publishers have been waiting for. Instead, publishers should be exploring innovation in digital advertising formats, said Jessica Rovello, co-founder and CEO, Arkadium, USA, at this year's Digital Innovators' Summit in Berlin. She proposed four new formats as a good place to start.

    17th Jun 2019 Features
  • A blueprint for successful change

    Martha Stone Williams, CEO of World Newsmedia Network, discusses how the media industry must adapt to embrace innovation, how data and measurement must be the cornerstone of strategy and direction, and successful media firms implement a culture of experimentation.

    10th Jun 2019 Features
  • Condé Nast International launches Vogue Business Talent

    Condé Nast International today announced the launch of Vogue Business Talent, a curated recruitment platform for professionals seeking opportunities with the world’s leading fashion brands. The new platform, launching with selected opportunities in London, New York, Paris, Milan and Hong Kong forms part of Vogue Business, the online B2B publication launched in January 2019.

    12th Jun 2019 Industry News
Go to Full Site