If you follow popular printing forums like PrintPlanet.com or Colorprintingforum.com or even some of the printing groups on Linkedin, you will see this question a lot. The answer to the question is not an easy one. What drives a lot of decisions for marketing departments will be the cost of production and print quality.
What’s best for your customer?
We always have to ask this questions. The first question we need to ask our customers is what do they want to accomplish? What are the objectives of their marketing campaign? How will the print material they are requiring support that effort?
If your customer needs to produce high volume print materials, offset printing still has a role. Of course, the lead time needed for offset is greater than what digital printing offers. If your customer is planning their campaigns annually, this should not be a problem for them. Offset also has the flexibitilty over digital with the type of paper you can use.
The higher the volume of material, the lower the cost on offset printing.
If your customer is a short run, short turnaround project, digital is probably best for them. Most of the time, the customer provides a digital file of what they want printed and their printer can pretty much run the project. With little set up time, finishing becomes easier if they are uv coating, laminating or binding projects.
As of today, the economics of big runs on digital are not there yet. One day, digital costs could come down to offset pricing. But, you also lose some flexibility with the type of substrates you can print on. If you are in the business of serving customers, your primary question to answer is, what is best for them?
There are still cases where offset printing is good for customers, so it is not going away so fast. At Lloyds of Indiana, we specialize in digital printing and finishing, yet even we understand that we have to do what is best for our customers.