Print Marketing During COVID-19 – What They Think

Many months later, we are still struggling to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The good news is that PSPs still have options for connecting with their customers and prospects. This article highlights some data from Keypoint Intelligence that seeks to shed light on these possibilities.

  • According to a recent Keypoint Intelligence poll, more than a third of respondents have increased their purchases of certain types of printing products in their efforts to stay open during the pandemic.
  • The most common purchases included items that communicated the company’s response to COVID-19 and in-store / on-site pandemic protocols.
  • During the pandemic and beyond, retailers must find new ways to drive traffic to their stores, whether people shop in person or online.

By Mark DiMattei


Several months after the start of the pandemic, it became clear that COVID-19 will continue to impact the lives of businesses and people for some time. In addition, the current health crisis will shape and most certainly change the way we do business in the future. The business strategies of print buyers will also evolve, which will affect print service providers in ways that we are still discovering. In response to these current market trends, Keypoint Intelligence has conducted surveys based on the most common interests in the production printing market, including vertical market strategies of print buyers, engines, applications , media channels and ordering processes. This article discusses the results of our recent research as we move forward on the pandemic path.

Attract the interests of print buyers

There is no doubt that COVID-19 has influenced the business strategies of print buyers. According to recent research by Keypoint Intelligence, more than a third of survey participants said they had increased their purchases of certain print products in their efforts to stay open during the pandemic. 40% planned to do so. While that probably doesn’t mean overall print purchases will increase during the pandemic, it’s always good to know that print remains a relevant channel for connecting and communicating with customers.

Figure 1. Printing of purchases in response to COVID-19

N = 695 Total respondents

Source: US Vertical View Study: Vertical views of industry from a socially distant perch; Intelligence of 2020 key points

Among those interviewed who had purchased print materials, the most common applications included communications detailing the company’s response to COVID and signage / documents describing new in-store / on-site protocols. Businesses today are struggling to strike a balance between supporting customers and prospects who prefer to buy locally while supporting the growing number of purchases made online. Therefore, it is not surprising that direct marketing initiatives and sales promotions are also common as these efforts can help PSPs promote their business across all channels.

Figure 2. Events or initiatives that prompted the purchase of print products

N = 695 Total respondents

Source: US Vertical View Study: Vertical views of industry from a socially distant perch; Intelligence of 2020 key points

The fall and rise of printing applications

As more businesses strive to stay open while making it easier to shop online during the pandemic, there is still a need to drive more purchases, whether done in person or online. As a result, many marketing applications are expected to return to near normal levels in 2021. The same is true for direct mail. Transactional printing is another mechanism that allows PSPs to stay in front of their customers. Although more consumers and businesses are turning to online portals to view their statements, transactional print volumes are expected to rebound somewhat amid growing concerns about email scams and lack of security. in line.

Table 1. Decline in print volume applications (March to December)

How do you expect your print volumes for these product categories to increase / decrease over the following time periods?

March to mid-July

june to august

september to december

Marketing guarantee




Direct mail












Source: Vertical Vision Study in the United States: Industry Perspectives from a Socially Distant Perch; Intelligence of 2020 key points

Walk a balancing act

We all know that a good marketing campaign has several components: direct mail, email, SMS and / or telemarketing. While direct mail may seem like too traditional (and dying) a medium, no one can deny that it is a powerful catalyst for marketing as it helps many businesses meet their primary communication goals and concerns. This is especially true in today’s digital age: Direct mail can grab attention and stand out in the midst of a seemingly endless stream of emails.

Digital fatigue is a real phenomenon, so marketers need to make sure they’re listening to what their customers want. As the pandemic drags on, many people are looking to take a break from the many screens they watch every day. The physicality of the print can also help create a bond between a business and the consumer. Digital communications are often cheaper, but print communications still have their place.

The bottom line

Few would question the fact that COVID-19 has disrupted all of our personal and professional lives, and the printing industry is no exception. The good news is that PSPs have the opportunity to have strategic conversations with their customers at a time when they might be more open to change and new ideas. Commercial printing has the potential to generate products that allow for greater differentiation, as savvy PSPs can influence or even participate in strategy and content development. Print buyers just need to be proactive when working with their customers so they can get the most out of their offerings.

Mark DiMattei is the Head of Editing, Editing and News at Keypoint Intelligence. In this role, he oversees the editing, formatting and publication cycles of many types of deliverables. He also participates in the production of blogs, analyzes, research reports and multi-client studies.