Printing Impressions

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Founder, Print Buyers International (PBI)

Margie's Buyer Insights

By Margie Dana

About Margie

Margie Dana, a former print buyer, is the founder of Print Buyers International (PBI) and its member-based organization, Boston Print Buyers. These professional organizations cater to print customers worldwide through education, an annual buyers conference, Print Buyer Boot Camps, and networking opportunities.

Margie's perhaps best known for her weekly enewsletter, Margie's Print Tips, which she's published weekly since 1999 in an effort to build bridges in the industry. For years, Margie has been a popular speaker at industry events here and abroad. Her clients include print company executives who rely on her to help steer their marketing campaigns and make their online efforts more customer friendly.

 

How to Wow Consumers About Print

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If you want to tout printing to the general public, I think it’s silly to focus on things like how print is tactile. Pretty much everyone knows that—don't they?

What’s making the news—and a much bigger impression—are things like 3-D printing, and yes, even 4-D printing, which was recently demonstrated by those smart people just down the road a bit, at MIT. They spoke about 4-D printing at a TED conference in California. (Don’t ask me to explain it; I’m still stuck at 3D.)

I'm not at all sure where “printing” comes in with these new technologies, but the word “printing” is attached to them as sure as jelly is to peanut butter. My Google news section called “Printing news” is 99.9 percent all about 3-D printing, and it has been for many months.

Likewise, I see more and more QR codes just about everywhere I look. It indicates they’re gaining popularity, so consumers pretty much know what they are and what to do with them. Many are on printed materials, so we should make this connection in their minds.

And then there are AR codes. If there’s anything cooler in this industry right now then augmented reality inside of a magazine or other printed matter, I’d like to know about it.

To me, these are the attention-getting applications and technologies associated with printing today. I want to throw printed electronics in there, although I’ve not read much about this in the trade news lately.

When I speak briefly to an audience of high schoolers next month at a career day event, this is the sort of stuff I’m going to try and wow them with. Maybe I’ll throw in some laser cut samples and other stunning finishing techniques. I think they’ll get it. I hope it will plant a seed in a young mind or two that there are absolutely great things going on in printing today. If nothing else, they’ll come away with a better appreciation of what can be done with print.

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