Blogger: “Why Should We Keep Print Alive?” –MichelsonFebruary 2011
I don't know Clay Forsberg personally, but I was captivated by his recent blog that pondered how our venerable printing industry can remain viable in a new world order where marketers are increasingly drawn to electronic communication and social media. A world where e-readers and e-tablets are replacing the demand for printed books, magazines and newspapers. And a world where ever "smarter" smart phones are predicted to become even bigger game changers. Today's rapid pace of technological upheaval is enough to make one's head spin, especially for those whose livelihoods depend on the printing industry staying a key part of the modern media mix.
Forsberg knows full-well how change can occur seemingly overnight. Now the principal of consulting firm bleedingEDGE, the 20+-year industry veteran once worked as a headhunter who specialized in recruiting skilled electronic prepress operators. A few years back, he saw his open job orders vanish in just two months time. Forsberg reinvented himself: he now advises digital printers on ways to build customer loyalty through various customized initiatives. Even if digital personalization capabilities are not part of your commercial print shop's repertoire, his observations below on why print should remain relevant, for advertisers/marketers and consumers alike, still hold true:
• "As an advertiser, it would be great to be able to make sure my customers know about things I had to offer, the things that are relevant to their lives. And I want to make sure it gets to them at a time when they could use it most...
• "As a consumer, I'd like to receive something from the companies I shop at (or even have just visited), to show me that they have actually spent the time to realize I'm an individual—not like my next door neighbor, or even my wife or my daughter. If it was a printed piece, that would be cool too, maybe even with a stamp on it—that would even be best since it's a lot harder to do, and more expensive than just sending out an e-mail or a text. It'll show me you care about me and my business.
• "As a consumer, I'd like to get something on quality paper—paper that feels nice and memorable when I touch it...something I'll want to keep and not just throw away. I can't get that with my screen or my mouse. In fact, it doesn't even have to be paper; it could be plastic or any interesting substrate with a message on it that I can use.
• "And, as an advertiser, I want my printers to realize that just because I want to try new media options, doesn't mean I don't still love them and want them to be part of my life. And, if they even add some of these new, exciting options to their 'bag of tricks'—I'd be more than happy to give them the first shot."
Just like printing establishments seeking to offer new, value-added services that complement their ink-on-paper offerings and create stronger customer partnerships, Printing Impressions continues to adapt to a rapidly changing, publishing industry landscape. Building on the editorial content within our printed product, we are now focused just as strongly on creating unique, and oftentimes interactive, material for both our Website and for our free, daily and weekly e-mail newsletters. (To subscribe, visit www.PIworld.com and click on the "Subscribe to Free E-Newsletters" link.) These online initiatives help printers to stay abreast of pertinent news and trends, in real-time.
And, to make it effortless to follow leading industry bloggers—in one, easy-to-navigate site—we recently launched PrintingsBestBlogs.com. It features regular bloggers found on Printing Impressions and two sister magazine Websites, supplemented by third-party blog posts aggregated from sources such as industry associations, independent consultants and pundits, and other stakeholders. Please take a moment and visit the site.
Like Forsberg, we also love printers, and hope that these ancillary options keep you informed and entertained, day in and day out, between PI magazine mailings.
Mark T. Michelson