Binding and Finishing : Shifting GearsOctober 2009 By Erik Cagle
IT WAS, to be sure, a no-win situation for PRINT 09.
It is the worst economy ever for anyone who wasn't around to complain about the Coolidge Administration. The opening day (Friday) was so slow traffic-wise, it was speculated that someone forgot to flip the sign in the front window at McCormick Place from "closed" to "open for business."
The truth of the final analysis pertaining to PRINT 09—as any adept fence walker will tell you—is somewhere in between. And, as any statistician will try to explain, if you have one foot in a bucket of ice and the other in a raging fire...on average, you should be comfortable.
Truth of the matter is, some booths were hopping on Monday and Tuesday (one exhibitor even reported success on Friday). One vendor told of selling two machines off the floor, and not caring what happened the rest of the show. Yet, smaller booths in the North and South halls remained slow.
So was PRINT 09 a success, even giving it a partial pass for being in the wrong economy at the wrong time? In fairness to the promoter, Graphic Arts Show Co. (GASC), the show must go on, even in the worst of circumstances. GASC certainly did its part in offering incentives for vendors to bring heavy equipment and in trying to attract visitors through a personalized marketing campaign targeted at specific market segments.
Outside of dumping the Friday opener, I'm not sure anything could've been done to make the event substantially better.
For postpress, there was cause for optimism. While binding and finishing gear, in general, has a long life span, there was some speculation that printers looking to buy may opt for these types of upgrades/additions, which constitutes a far cheaper investment/risk in a sour economy than does a multi-million-dollar printing press.
Instead of trying to force market conditions on clients, a number of PRINT 09 vendors did a bang-up job of anticipating their needs in a depressed economy. One such party was Muller Martini. Sure, the company touted its 12,000 cph 3696 gatherer, but a strong theme at the booth was certified pre-owned equipment. This area is generally taboo; many vendors offer used gear, but few blow that horn.
Muller Martini also promoted its relocating services, an area that has seen a sharp uptick as firms look to downsize into smaller, more economical accommodations.