The Signage Opportunity, Sales Challenge, and Value of Integration

Large format printing and signage is a vital part of the marketing mix. Marketers recognize that business and advertising signs are an extremely effective means of communication. Signs help people find businesses, they reach people who are passing by an establishment, and they present an image for the business. In short, signs inform people about an organization, its brands, and its unique selling proposition.
In 2013, InfoTrends published a study entitled Wide Format Printing: A Critical Element in the Communications Mix. After the success of the first study, the research has continued. Now in its third iteration, this study was designed to uncover who buys wide format graphics, what they buy, and why. The study surveyed over 300 service providers and more than 500 purchasers of wide format graphics.
According to the most recent research, the retail value of digital wide format printing will surpass $22 billion by 2017, with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.7%.

Source: InfoTrends wide format service

Sales Challenge
One of the interesting insights of the InfoTrends research is that, unlike commercial printing which is often bought by a print buyer in a large enterprise, large format purchases are made by a much larger mix of buyers.
When sales people who sell wide format services were asked to specify their key contacts, the most common responses included: marketers, business owners, department heads/mid-level managers, as well as marketing managers.
This presents a challenge to the sales people because instead of targeting one person or one department, selling large format into large companies requires a strategy that crosses different departments.
Is the Future Value of Signage, Mobile?
Printing companies continue to pursue online business models to help them reach new audiences, more effectively support existing customers, and optimize their printing workflows. But customers want more. Not only do they want to interface with companies via a website or customer service channels, they increasingly want mobile access to information and interaction via social networks.
We believe that over time a competitive advantage will be created by those service providers that can integrate signage with other communication channels.  The service providers who successfully integrate mobile technologies such as QR codes, augmented reality, and NFC tags, will engage customers better and outperform the rest.

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