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Print evolves – but remains core service in digital marketing

Caskey Group President Tony Rife, left, and creative director Jason Martin review scrub products for their latest health care network to join Caskey's custom apparel program. - (Photo / Submitted)

Traditional commercial printers are dead — at least in name. Marketing service and logistics providers are alive and well — even growing.

The two are one and the same today.

However, that herd of companies is slowly being culled through acquisitions. And rebranding efforts in favor of names that include “communications” and “group” have replaced “offset” and “printing” in many company names.

“The existing customer base still sees us as a printing company. The new clients don’t know the background and see us as a communications company,” said Tony Rife, president and majority owner of York-based Caskey Group LLC. “I do think there is a stigma that goes with it. You have to break it.”

The company was founded as Caskey Printing in 1986 before rebranding about two years ago to reflect the change in ownership and a shift to digital and marketing services.

Caskey is not alone there (see “Marketing pioneers,” this page).

Several regional printers have placed marketing and design services at the forefront of their business relationships to ensure brand integrity across various platforms. Printed materials have become almost a byproduct, though very much a core component of the overall mix of communications, local industry professionals said.

“Printing was 100 percent of what we did. Today 66 percent is offset printing,” Rife said.

Another 20 percent is digital printing, while the rest of the business is mailing services, marketing sales and a variety of cross-channel sales. The latter includes search engine optimization solutions, as well as promotional product offerings.

In five years, Rife expects digital sales will match offset printing.

Acquisition

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