Waning Expectations—Not for Everyone
The lack of any sustained progress in growing sales, along with a continuing subpar performance by the economy, is eroding confidence among printing companies. Only 18.7% of the NAPL Printing Business Panel expects business to improve over the next six months. The remainder expects business to either decline (28.1%) or the stay the same (53.2%). And remember, for many, staying the same is not that good. This is a distinct drop from early in 2012, when almost two-fifths (36.6%) of Panel members expected business to improve, while only 11.1% expected business to decline.
A lack of progress isn’t only causing confidence to deteriorate; it’s resulting in companies lowering their expectations for the year. As discussed in the upcoming NAPL Printing Business Conditions: September 2012, (www.napl.org) more than half (55.2%) of the companies we survey have lowered their sales outlook from earlier in the year. Almost triple those that increased their outlook (20.8%). When companies were asked to indicate the main reasons their expectations didn’t pan out, existing clients cutting back on spending topped the list with a citing by 78.2%, followed by weaker-than-expected economic/business conditions (63.6%), unable to raise prices (37.3%), and haven’t attracted as many new clients as expected (34.5%). Fortunately, companies aren’t just accepting lower expectations; they’re attempting to counteract reductions by doing more—not cutting. Actions such as:
• “Offering additional services and adding more digital services.”
• “New marketing strategies. Increasing our exposure to clients that may need our insights.”
• “Working extra hard to attract new customers. Also, launching some new product lines.”
These companies realize that overcoming a difficult business environment is going to take individual company initiatives. Just trying to hang on until the business environment improves is only going to become more and more difficult—something companies doing better than expected realize.
As mentioned, not all companies have lowered their sales expectations; some have increased them. These companies attracted more new clients than expected (59.6%), their existing clients boosted spending (38.3%), and they marketed/promoted themselves more effectively (25.5%). It all comes down to exhibiting increased value to our clients— both existing and prospective—making sure they know what we can do for them; how we can make them more successful.
Andy Paparozzi Joe Vincenzino