Kill the Message, not the Messenger!
We have all heard the story of what happens to the poor messenger who delivers the bad news. Well, what you need to consider is that the messenger is not the problem—the message may be the culprit.
Think about the process and products of print being the messenger. Not a bad thought; it worked for hundreds of years. And yes, all things change, so does or did print. But that does not mean that print is dead, nor does it mean it should die.
The concept of print—or perhaps a better statement is the concept of new print—is supported by multiple studies, surveys and articles that stress the importance of print and the need for print to survive and thrive. Yet, marketers are looking at digital solutions, some say as the sole solution to fulfill their needs.
The true need is sales, a need you have in common with every one of your clients. You need to support multiple channel marketing (MCM) to obtain a level of communication necessary to gain those and keep those sales in your silo, as do your clients.
We are now living in a post-digital world. Consider your target markets; I thinks it safe to say that the majority of your customers or prospects have been around long enough to have known something other than an all-digital world and workplace. What they need to now understand (you, before them) is that print and digital are not on a collision course, but, yes, are on a course for media convergence.
If you look to the purity of media convergence, content rates high and is an issue that needs to be of concern to all communicators, not just printers. Content is king, communicated in a relevant way and delivered via a MCM program.
Message mapping is a key component of proper communications, with branded content leading the way. Sure, branded content can be digitally transmitted but it also can be delivered using the latest in print technology (notice I did not say digital print technology). It is, in large part, all in the message—what we say, how we say it, to whom it is said and how our targets are “touched.”
I attended a Direct Marketing Associaton event last week that addressed the new era of Website development; many names have been used to describe the new era, too many to mention. The event reminded me that the last three Web marketing awards notices I received had been delivered with a print component. Why? Think about it; the answer is simple—print, when delivered with the correct content, does work and it helps deliver the target audience that you need most.
Back in the day, there was a magazine that ran the same back cover ad on nearly every issue. It showed a bald guy looking perplexed, while a holding a hair dryer. The guy’s look said it all, Why me? The ad was for a firm that provided the proper demographic research for your needs.
Branded content was king even in the pre-digital world, so what has changed? Proper use of branded content requires developing a valid integrated message map. Solving this ongoing problem has little to do with the method of delivery; it has to do with the message.
What does all this have to do with printing, printers and print? Many printers talk in their own language, a language that is not understood by the people they need most—sales prospects. What printers need to think about is how to develop a message that is branded to their potential customers (perhaps via multiple messages) and to use MCM and the power of media convergence to bring the message home. Think not what your equipment can do for you, but how you can help your customer. Simple yes, but being followed? I would say not.
Remember, if media convergence is a combination of computing power, content and communications, then the message is critical to support the content aspect of formula. Content has been king in the past and the role of content has not decreased. Rather, it has exponentially increased.
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Next blog: Delivery, delivery and delivery.