Why web-to-publish is increasingly displacing classic web-to-print

Web-to-print is not new per se. However, as can be seen from the name, the term refers exclusively to workflows that are needed to produce products for printing for users. In classical marketing, this was the only form of advertising for a long time. But as customers and systems evolved, the need for additional output channels and forms of advertising changed with the advance of digitalisation. With web-to-publish, it is possible to publish regardless of the output channel, the advertising medium and the type of medium. And all this within one system.

A printing machine during the printing process.

What does self-service mean?

A self-service application is a website or marketing portal designed to help complete processes or transactions without external help (e.g. from agencies). In terms of operation, it is similar to a shop system or a comparable solution. Today's marketing processes require ever shorter turnaround times and a higher degree of customisation of all advertising media - both print and digital. Furthermore, publishing is shifting from large print runs to targeted on-demand productions. Self-service publishing allows you to meet acute needs on an ad hoc basis, enabling you to react quickly to new marketing demands - without external help and waiting times.

One person is operating a laptop. Next to it are a notebook, a mobile phone, a pen and a tangerine.
Section of a table with laptop, plants and brochure and business cards created via self-service publishing.

Why use self-service publishing?

The creation of advertising materials requires years of experience in various graphic and design tools as well as training in design or print. Self-service publishing makes it possible to quickly and easily produce marketing materials for various channels without these requirements.

  • Work independently - Use the possibilities of publishing tools and work independently of external partners, such as advertising agencies or a printer, without needing graphic or IT skills.
  • Central management - Keep track of your marketing campaigns and assets. You can create new designs individually or adapt templates from existing campaigns to create new content for print and digital in seconds.

Functions at a glance

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Time and cost saving

The creation of marketing materials at the push of a button saves time and reduces costs.
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Easy to use

Work comfortably in the browser and independently of additional software or graphics skills.
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Central data management

Use the user, customer and rights management to keep an overview of all data.
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Connection to external systems

It is possible to connect your company's existing marketing systems, such as databases or a shop, to the marketing portal.
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Digital and print

Whether for the production of printed matter or for digital advertising - play out advertising messages in different channels and systems.
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Barcodes and much more

Create barcodes (EAN, QR etc.) automatically within the design process. Always up to date.

Goals of self-service publishing

In areas where suitable advertising messages have to be formulated and played out quickly and flexibly on demand, e.g. for social media or trade fairs, self-service publishing tools offer important relief for specialist departments. The intuitive application enables customers to create the required advertising materials in a cost- and time-saving manner.

Another important goal is the centralisation of marketing activities. Globally operating companies in particular can benefit from this. By means of statistics and tracking functions, they can see at any time how their marketing campaigns are being used and can constantly sharpen their marketing portfolio and brand by contacting the users. At the same time, it is ensured at all times that the templates comply with the company's own design specifications for digital and print channels.

A woman holds a smartphone with Instagram open in her hand

Why is self-service publishing worthwhile beyond web-to-print?

Digitalisation offers ever new opportunities for marketing. In addition to classic channels such as billboards, advertisements, flyers and brochures, there is a multitude of digital playout options. For example, companies nowadays have a social media presence for which online banners have to be created regularly. Print is no longer the only option for advertisements either. However, for all channels - digital or print - the following applies: The company's appearance must be consistent and correspond to the CI specifications.

The non-profit organisation "Two Sides", together with the independent market research company "Toluna", conducted a study on "Consumer Perceptions of Print and Paper". In it, it was shown that 51 % of consumers intend to read more news online in the future, compared to 40 % in 2019. Nevertheless, print remains an important medium. Some 40 % of respondents would be concerned if daily newspapers disappeared.

The study shows that classic print publications are still in demand, but companies need to adopt a hybrid approach to their marketing communication. Self-service publishing tools that enable the playout of digital content in addition to classic web-to-print functions help here.

Application example of self-service publishing

An example of a typical process in a self-service publishing system usually looks like this:

Sales staff in the field need business cards for a trade fair. Instead of ordering these centrally via their graphics department, they can request personalised documents conveniently via their web browser.

Via a marketing portal, they select the appropriate template from all available templates. The contents are automatically filled from the central master data management. In this way, a wide variety of templates can be commissioned and ordered directly within a few seconds.

The cards are produced on demand by the print service provider or can be downloaded and sent as a PDF file, for example.

A man holds two business cards created by self-service publishing.

How do you approach a self-service publishing project?

3 steps to a successful self-service publishing system:

Our conclusion

The use of a self-service publishing system can help to conceptualise, create and target marketing messages even more effectively and efficiently.

Self-service publishing is characterised above all by the massive time savings compared to classic, manual marketing processes. For example, the use of web-to-print can lead to a closer integration of external service providers into workflows, thus achieving seamless communication and higher process reliability.

Sounds complicated? Our experts at netzwerk P can guide you safely to your goal in dealing with web-to-print and web-to-publish projects. Our solution has been tried and tested by medium-sized companies and corporate clients.

A soft-drawn person stands in front of a whiteboard full of Post-it and points to one of the Post-it cards

How self-service publishing moves our customers forward? -
For example, like this:

Interested? I look forward to your questions and exciting conversations.

Patrick Tosolini
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Our contact for Web-to-Publish: Patrick Tosolini