Print+Promo 2019 State of the Industry Report: Is There Life Left In Printed Forms?
For Print+Promo’s 2019 State of the Industry Report, we dug deep to measure print industry health, learn how policies from the Trump administration are impacting print and promo, and find answers to questions, like: Which verticals are poised for growth?
As part of our investigation, we reached out to experts in various market segments: printed forms, labels, promotional products and direct mail. Below is an excerpt from my conversation with Mark Gerling, executive vice president of sales and marketing of Flesh Co, Fenton, Mo. Find out what he had to say about the current state of printed forms, the effects of paper mill closures and print’s millennial problem.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the business forms sector?
Mark Gerling: The overall business forms market continues to shrink, but there are still plenty of bright spots in the market. We continue to see strong forms usage in the health care, nonprofits, warehousing and distribution markets. Working closely with our trade partners, we have seen a transition from typical business forms printing to more marketing-driven print applications, such as membership and loyalty cards, health care labels and prime labels.
What would you say encapsulates the mood of the forms industry for 2019? What would the theme of the year be for you?
MG: The mood of the industry right now, I think, is anxious! I believe distributors, as well as manufacturers, continue to be concerned about the ongoing paper price increases and lack of availability and the stress it’s putting on the entire supply chain. Our theme for 2019 is to continue to focus on our customer by continuing to provide the best quality products and service at a competitive price, while continuing to invest in new products for our future.
How is your company staying competitive, and spreading the message that printed forms aren’t dead, especially to millennials and future generational groups?
MG: We continue to offer various educational tools, such as white papers, onsite training and product updates via our website and social media [channels]. Print can be overwhelming to those who have never sold it, but we try to make it as easy as possible for our customers even to the point of sending us a sample, and we will guide them through the entire process.
It’s no secret that the paper industry has undergone violent shifts in demand surrounding certain paper products. How, if at all, has that affected your forms business?
MG: The ongoing mill closures resulting in paper increases have made it a challenge for everyone in the industry. We have very strong relationships with our paper suppliers, which have minimized the disruption for our customers, but as things continue to tighten, it’s going to be more challenging for everyone this year.
Related story: Print+Promo's 2019 State of the Industry Report