Customer Perceptions of Commercial Printers

Results of Joint PIA and FedEx Office Survey

Print media and commercial printers continue to be an extremely important element of business communications. Additionally, business and marketing executives recognize the fact that commercial printers provide services and advantages that are beyond the capabilities of most in-house print services. Moreover, technological capabilities such as Cloud services and access to advances in color and digital imaging offer competitive advantages for commercial printers.

These findings are drawn from a September 2015 survey of 400+ marketing and business executives jointly conducted by Printing Industries of America and FedEx Office. The survey respondents were generally managing marketing activities at medium and large companies across different industrial sectors. The topics covered in the survey included the split of jobs between in-house and commercial printers, project management challenges of printing projects, end product issues, and service requirements. PIA Member companies can read the full report.

Key Findings

Overwhelmingly, print remains a primary media in business communications. Virtually all companies utilized printed materials in their business and marketing communications over the past 12 months. In fact, 99 percent of the companies surveyed have used printed marketing materials in the past twelve months, whether they are printed in-house or by a commercial printer. Further, almost 9 out of 10 companies rely on commercial printers for at least some of their business printing needs.

Printed products utilized by a majority of the companies include business cards, brochures, and direct mail materials. Larger companies tend to print more brochures while smaller companies have a great need for business card printing

Other Insights

  • Print quality (92 percent) and the ability to handle the volume needed (88 percent) were the most important factors in deciding to use commercial printing providers instead of in-house printing resources.
  • Respondents emphasized the importance of quality, revealing that when choosing a commercial printer they place more importance on product quality (64 percent) than cost (54 percent).
  • Marketers are increasingly interested in tapping technology-rich external resources. Nearly half of marketing executives (48 percent) find “cloud” printing to be useful in simplifying the ordering process. Beyond their interest in the cloud, 42 percent of survey respondents said it would be useful to have access to advanced technology for color printing, and 35 percent want the ability to digitally manage their print orders – capabilities that may not be readily available internally.
  • Quality is a challenge when dealing with internal printing resources (53 percent) as compared to commercial printers (40 percent).

PIA Member companies can read the full report.

Send questions and comments to Dr. Ron Davis by clicking here.

Published on Tuesday, January 19, 2016 (updated 06/03/2016)

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