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    Is Onsite Printing for Events Worth Your Money?

    The world of events is vibrant and diverse, from corporate conferences to music festivals, each one with its unique set of demands, aims, and objectives. Alongside the primary message and experience, a growing trend in event management is the utilization of onsite printing services to offer event-goers a tangible takeaway, instantly. But with the rising costs of event planning, is onsite printing worth the investment?

    In this comprehensive analysis, we will dissect the pros and cons of onsite printing, examining its impact on attendee engagement, brand exposure, and the event’s overall success. Diving into the economics and logistical challenges, we aim to provide a clear understanding of when and how you should integrate onsite printing into your event strategy.

    The Power of the Tangible Takeaway

    When it comes to memory and recall, a physical item often packs a more potent punch than a digital one. Think back to your last event; do you remember the presentations or the people, or do you recall the branded merchandise? More often than not, the tactile experiences stand out.

    Offering onsite printing services, such as customized t-shirts, mugs, or photographs, provides attendees with not just a memento, but also a conversation starter and a unique touchpoint with your brand.

    Strengthening Brand Recall

    The items printed onsite aren’t mere freebies; they’re ambassadors of your brand. Each time an attendee uses or sees the item, it reinforces their memory and association with your event or company. This kind of passive marketing can be invaluable, particularly if the items are designed in a way that encourages sharing.

    Enhanced Personalization

    The ability to personalize items on the spot with adds a layer of emotional attachment to the swag. Attendees walk away with a keepsake that isn’t just a reminder of the event, but a reflection of their personal experience, making it that much more likely to be kept and used.

    Calculating the Costs

    While the idea of tangible takeaways sounds compelling, the costs associated with onsite printing can be significant. The initial setup often requires expensive equipment, skilled operators, and a dedicated space within the event venue. Beyond these, there are material costs, which can escalate quickly.

    Equipment and Staffing

    The high-quality printers and other necessary hardware can amount to a substantial investment, not to mention the software required to process designs and the trained staff to operate the machines smoothly.

    Material Costs

    Every print has a tangible and often significant material cost. From ink and paper to the items being printed, these costs can cut into event budgets and potentially erode ROI if not carefully managed.

    Space and Logistics

    Hosting an onsite printing service means dedicating space that might have otherwise been used for revenue-generating elements. Additionally, logistics must be arranged to transport, set up, and dismantle the printing station.

    Crafting the Experience

    The experience of onsite printing should be seamless and enjoyable. Attendees could face long queues or technical issues, which can have the opposite effect of the intended engagement.

    Queue Management

    Waiting in line can be a buzzkill for event-goers. Careful planning is required to manage the queues, perhaps through the use of pre-scheduled times or a dynamic digital queueing system.

    Technical Considerations

    Technology can be unpredictable. Having a technical support team readily available can mitigate issues, but the best preparation is often a redundant setup that seamlessly takes over if one system fails.

    Measuring ROI

    At the end of the day, the judgment of any event expense comes down to ROI. Measuring the impact of onsite printing can be tricky, as the return is more abstract than direct sales.

    Surveys and Analytics

    Utilize post-event surveys and digital engagement analytics to gauge how attendees interacted with the printed items. Did they share photos of their swag on social media? How often is the item used or seen?

    Long-Term Engagement

    While immediate reactions are crucial, long-term engagement is the true test of ROI. How many attendees still have and use their printed items a month, six months, or a year after the event?

    Direct Engagement KPIs

    If you can tie the usage of the printed item to direct customer interactions, such as a photo of a mug in an office setting or a t-shirt being worn to another industry event, it can provide a clearer indicator of success.

    Legal and Ethical Considerations

    There are legal and ethical considerations to be mindful of when dealing with onsite printing, particularly when personal data or branding rights are involved.

    Privacy Concerns

    If the printing involves personal photos or information, robust privacy policies must be in place to ensure attendee comfort and compliance with data protection regulations.

    Brand Consistency

    Ensuring that every piece of printed material accurately and consistently represents the brand is crucial. Any errors in logo usage or color can reflect poorly on the event and its organizers.

    A Case for Conservation

    In an era where sustainability and eco-consciousness are becoming more than buzzwords, event planners must consider the environmental impact of onsite printing.

    Waste Management

    From unused prints to the disposal of leftover materials, onsite printing can generate a significant amount of waste. Implementing recycling and waste reduction policies is essential.

    Eco-Friendly Materials

    Using sustainable and recyclable materials is not only an ethical choice but can also be a differentiator that enhances attendee perception and value.

    In Conclusion

    Onsite printing can be a significant draw for attendees, offering a unique and memorable touchpoint with your event and brand. However, the decision to invest in this service should not be taken lightly. It requires careful consideration of costs, experiences, ROI measurement, legal and ethical implications, and environmental factors.

    For many events, the answer to whether or not onsite printing is worth it will be a resounding yes, given the right planning and execution. For others, alternative engagement tactics might provide a better return. Ultimately, the power of the tangible takeaways must align with the overarching goals of the event—and the values of its organizers. In the fast-paced and evolving landscape of events, adaptability and innovation are key.

    And in these, the choice to include onsite printing can find its most compelling justification. So go forth, armed with the knowledge and insight to make informed decisions about this exciting technology, and add a new layer of personalization to your events. Because in the end, that’s what it’s all about: creating meaningful connections and experiences for attendees that will keep them coming back year after year.

    Happy printing! As technology and event trends continue to evolve, onsite printing may become more and more essential for events. It’s important to stay informed on the latest advancements in this field and continuously assess its value for your particular event. Even if it may seem like an additional cost at first, the potential benefits of tangible takeaways, seamless experiences, and meaningful engagement make it worth it.


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