“Cross-media or cross-platform is the name of the game,” he says.

Forbes magazine salespeople don’t call on accounts just trying to sell ad pages anymore; they serve as consultants discussing all of the platforms that can be used to fulfill customers’ needs.

“We talk about how we are different from ‘Brand X,’ ” Forbes adds. The same is true for printers—clients are looking for consultants to improve their business objectives and bottom-line results. Customers of printers and publishers are looking for results and are closely watching their marketing budgets.

Postal costs are impacting their decisions. According to Forbes, the postal system may look to the privatization that is going on in Europe. More market-oriented programs may be the way of the postal service. E-mail and mail lines will be blurred.

Knows of Industry Issues

Forbes is also aware that the printing industry faces ferocious margin challenges. “Print does have a commodity element, but the real margins are in value-added.” He is optimistic that good, creative printers will rise above the commodity image.

When asked about other topics for his keynote, he restated his favorite issues. Forbes will be talking about the economy and how it drives our fortunes. He will look at interest rates, healthcare, politics and, of course, taxes.

On healthcare, he reiterated his own company’s successful changes. Forbes is a proponent for getting consumers more in charge (i.e., health savings accounts and AHPs). On politics, the former presidential candidate will opine on the “who to watch list” for upcoming elections. And he will announce his role in the 2008 presidential race.

Taxes is also one of his favorite topics. His book, entitled “Flat Tax Revolution…Using a Postcard to Abolish the IRS,” details his and others thoughts on flat taxes. Every presidential administration has increased the tax code even when attempting to simplify it, Forbes points out.

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