News & Blog

"Why print is not dead and database publishing is playing an increasing role in
print production"

Excerpt: We show why print media continues to be an innovative way to communicate brands in a world where consumers face digital overload - and how companies can maximize the efficiency of their print publications using database publishing.

Do printed marketing materials still play an important role in the marketing mix despite the advance of digitization? Whether catalogs, brochures, flyers or posters – various key figures prove that print is still an effective method in product communication:

"Brochures and advertisements in newspapers and magazines are particularly trustworthy and credible because the advertising promises made there are also kept. 18 - 39-year-old readers even perceive print as more trustworthy, compared to 60 - to 69-year-old readers."

Source: Fundamental study "Touchpoint Decoder", [m] Science, 2021

"In a survey by ECC, marketers say 71.8% of brick-and-mortar purchases and 66.9% of online purchases are triggered by print."

Source: ECC "Use and significance of print media in the communication mix - status quo and cross- media trends

"Print mailings achieve an average return on advertising spend (ROAS) of 250% in new customer acquisition."

Source: CMC Print Mailing Study, 2021

"Over 40% of Millenials say they would buy more products from a retailer if they were regularly informed about a product catalog."

Source: Quad, "Millennials: An Emerging Consumer Powerhouse."

What are the advantages of print over digital content?

  • Print materials are long-lasting. They are often kept for a longer period of time and thus remain in mind for longer, which is very important for branding.
  • Because print appeals to several senses at the same time, the learning experience is better than with digital media.
  • Print media is not perceived as a nuisance by many people because it is usually a deliberately permitted contact.
  • Print media often have higher credibility because they are designed to be more emotional. Accordingly, consumers often pay more attention to print media.
  • Print media are often used in the information phase and are therefore frequently present at the beginning of a customer journey. Print thus serves in many cases as a starting point for cross-media marketing.

Print as the basis for omnichannel marketing

The key figures and advantages listed show that print media still have their place. Nevertheless, they can no longer do entirely without digital tools. For example, QR and AR codes in particular, as well as landing pages geared to print campaigns, are taking on an important role in the cross-media linking of communication and sales channels. These digital tools extend the print publications. It is therefore important that creative production does not stop with the print medium, but continues in the digital
channel. Only in this way companies can impress their stakeholders with a holistic, cross-media product experience.

For many retailers, the print media serves as the basis for their omnichannel marketing campaigns.
The offers and discounts visualized in the print publications are synchronized with other channels, e.g., online stores, marketplaces, and outdoor advertising (TV, radio, billboards, etc.) and promoted there. In order to communicate on all channels by means of orchestrated campaigns, the use of a
Product Information Management Systems (PIM) is required. A PIM creates the basis for distributing product information consistently across numerous touchpoints.

Challenges in the print production process

Retailers typically work with different internal departments and external partners and agencies when designing layouts, e.g. suppliers, designers, photographers, copywriters, editors, project managers,
etc.. This often results in the following challenges in the production process:

  • Product data is scattered across multiple files and systems and is in different formats
  • Inefficiencies due to manual, error-prone workflows

In order to optimally prepare data for the print production process, the data used should be collected in a uniform data source in a media-neutral manner. This is where PIM steps in again. It makes product information accessible to the various players along the value chain. Product data is centralized and standardized:

  • Product information: Product names, dimensions, product specifications, product descriptions, prices, packaging information, relationships between products, technical specifications, and other product-related information
  • Digital assets: Product images, banners, background images, certificates, labels

At the same time, the structured data from the PIM system is automatically transferred to layout and typesetting programs or publishing solutions such as InDesign via a plug-in like InBetween. Through this database publishing technology, the product content listed above is automatically transferred to
the layout program and placed. Layouts for catalogs, brochures, price lists, flyers, etc. are automatically filled with the content and can be printed more quickly. The special advantage of database publishing is that new publications can be created in the same pattern over and over again. Product information is updated, new products are added and old products are sorted out.

Database Publishing solves the challenges of a slow and inefficient print channel by partially or even fully automating the publishing process using PIM. By creating variations and variables dynamically, languages, currencies, units of measurement, prices and assortments can be conveniently managed
in print publications. This is a major advantage, especially for large publications that are produced annually, particularly in B2B in the electronics, HVAC, mechanical engineering and technology sectors. But database publishing also saves an enormous amount of time in the production process for smaller publications that are produced on a regular basis (retail).

Advantages of database publishing and PIM

  • Faster creation of publications: Various studies show that time and cost savings of 30 to 70 % can be realized using database publishing.
  • More publications are possible: Due to the reduced time and costs, additional, target group-specific publications can be created. New print formats and sales documents can also be developed quickly. All that is required is the creation of a new layout template.
  • Higher quality publications: Automatic data transfer to the layout program reduces the error rate.
  • Fast updating of publications: As soon as updates are made in the PIM system, they can be applied to the publications with just a few clicks.
  • More transparency and control: There is no longer a bottleneck in the production process. Tasks for data management, editorial work, layout design and visual fine ship can be effectively separated and coordinated. Companies are more independent and agile in their production process at the same time.


Print will continue to be a valuable instrument in product communication. It conveys emotions and credibility to consumers that cannot be achieved through a purely digital footprint. In order to respond to different customer and market needs, companies face the challenge of offering their print media in different variants, which can lead to delays and inefficiencies. To counteract this complex production process, automation using database publishing is becoming increasingly important.

If you would like to gain practical insights into how you can automate your print publications more strongly on the basis of our prodexa Cloud PIM system and the InBetween print management module in order to become more agile and react faster, then feel free to visit us at the InBetween Live Event 2022 in Stuttgart or request your non-binding online demo.

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