Tech & Communications

97 percent of Middle East & Africa organisations still consider print as the most important medium

by  — 2 April 2013

According to a recent study 97 percent of organisations in the Middle East and Africa still consider print a vital part of their business.

Furthermore, more than half of the organisations surveyed (54 percent) consider print to be more effective than any other type of media, while 90 percent stated that they would include print in their multi-channel communications tools, the highest percentage by far amongst all the different types of media.

The findings are in stark contrast with the widespread predictions from industry experts at the beginning of this decade that digital would gradually replace print in terms of its importance to a company’s marketing and communications strategy. In fact, the research results show that print and digital are both expected to grow in tandem and complement each other as part of integrated cross-media campaigns rather than competing for singular usage. This is further verified by the fact that almost half of organisations said that they expect to increase their use of print in the near future.

“Print continues to be the number one choice for organisations in the Middle East and North Africa due to its effectiveness in transmitting a message to the end user,” says Naoshi Yamada, deputy managing director, Canon Middle East, the company that commissioned the report. “The findings show that the world is not moving from one medium to another as expected a few years ago, it is moving towards a convergence of mediums where print, digital, social, mobile and broadcast have equally important roles as part of a multi-channel communications strategy.”

The research also showed a strong lack of awareness surrounding the latest technological developments in cross-media, with many of them unaware of the meaning or benefits of print-on-demand, web-to-print, professional photo books and customised direct mail, revealing further opportunity for the print industry in the region.

Only 47 percent of print buyers are aware of web-to-print services, and 22 percent have actually used them, so the potential market is set to be sizeable. However, applications such as web-to-print and print-on-demand are producing tangible benefits for many customers, suggesting that their usage will rise as awareness grows.

The research results showed some similarities with attitudes and outlooks in Europe on certain fronts and some major differences on others. When it comes to the importance of print to their organisation, 87 percent of companies in Europe agreed, which is less than the Middle East and Africa percentage (97 percent) but still extremely high considering the trend towards digital and online channels in more developed European markets. Furthermore, organisations in Europe see print as one part of a multichannel approach while organisations in the region see print as the principal, main media in their approaches.

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