Michael Makin Q&A -- PIA's Future Plans
Makin: We really need to position print as the medium of choice in the information technology continuum. For example, we're planning a major campaign, in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service, to get the word out that print does offer a good return on investment. We're in the process of conducting market research to demonstrate that the ROI in printing and mailing is superior to other media formats.
Of course, we certainly have a lot of anecdotal information in that regard. Our job is to develop the empirical information our members can use to support that—allowing them to go to their customers and prove that print is a winning proposition and that direct mail is not only a viable, but preferable, media choice. By combining our technical and economic research, we're a great source of educational information for our members.
PI: You mentioned your recent member-needs analysis. What are some other key issues that you're tackling based on the recommendations of your membership?
Makin: In response to that analysis, we're doing a lot on the government affairs side. Here, PIA/GATF was instrumental in helping overturn the ergonomic standards bill. If implemented, that bill would have made it very pernicious for any printer in the country to operate.
We've also claimed legislative victories on issues such as the so-called "death tax," which was very important for our industry. Most people don't realize how important the government is to their operations. When you think about these regulations and their potential impact on your company, it's overwhelming.
PI: For a mid-size printing company of 100 employees, what do these legislative victories actually mean in terms of saving money?
Makin: In a 100-person company, the Clinton-era ergonomics regulation would have instituted measures that would have cost a company that size somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000. That would be a tremendous hit to take in this economy.