Print is for Winners, Thinkers, Enablers, Educators and Futurists; Integrators welcomed as well!
To fulfill the statement in my last blog, the three critical “next steps or best practices” for the print industry are all strategic decisions. Decisions based on the long-term health and rehabilitation of our industry and linking it to other supportive industries.
For the sake of brevity the three needs based on my research and review are the following:
1. Valid, Benefit Driven, Inclusive, Integrated Cross ALL Media Metrics, Response and ROMI data.
I think that we within the industry can all agree that print is or can truly be considered “The Marketing and Communications Integrator,” but what about those outside the industry? Those marketers (and others) that use, select the media and enable the media decision to be made, they too need to believe in print as “The Marketing and Communications Integrator” as well.
We also need to separate the title “print media” as in advertisements/publishing from print media in commercial printing, digital printing, collateral, packaging, promotional, direct mail and related print services. The big difference is, print media—as in advertising—is declining, while commercial printing and the packaging sectors are growing.
Sector growth is of great value, but return on the investment, qualified leads, enhancement of a multimedia program all need to be credited where credit is due. This failing is a serious issue for our industry. We do not have a central repository for integrated media result data. I suggest the creation of a cross-industry (channel) approved source to initiate and maintain the flow of empirical, qualitative, quantitative data linking print and other media.
Most industries have their industry-centric groups, ours is in part npes.org, printing.org, gasc.org, nalp.org, and printinthemix.edu, but we need more! We need a neutral source, like a college or university outside the industry, to gather and host this data library. The key word is NEUTRAL!
2. Enterprise/Vertical Based Centricity.
Many industries, particularly those that have integrated manufacturing, supply and distribution chains, keep in touch with this supply chain to MAXIMIZE the planning and their future needs. Why does print not have such a network? This network would be the link, the liaison between those industries that use print in all segments to those that not only develop print technology—manufactures, but to those that provide the hands on, day to day needs to related industries, industries that use or could use print.
3. Ongoing Expansive, Continuing Market Centric Education.
I wear a number of different but related hats in my professional career. Integrated Marketing Communications and Media Convergence Evangelist, Emerging Technology devotee, and an Adjunct Professor at two New York City/State Colleges—The New York City College of Technology and Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
When I teach (courses include: print production, bindery, printing and finishing, graphic communications, integrated marketing, sales promotion, emerging technologies and the future of marketing) I am stunned at the lack of knowledge and understanding that most graphic and marketing students have regarding the process of print and how it relates to the broader world of integrated marketing and the ever changing, growing mix of media.
What concerns me even more is the fact that most students that attend my classes do not know much about the individual components of marketing channels or print processes.
Yes, it is our schools/colleges/universities responsibility to teach, it is our industries responsibility to make money and part of that money is needed to educate current students and future employees, workers that will understand the full scope of communications and how the communications matrix works.
The industry needs to become the mechanism to connect the dots and offer what I call the “Educational Evangelist Project.” This unique and perhaps sponsored offering would provide a foundation for a full media based education that is based on specific verticals, many verticals. Education that does not teach “software” but theory, defines the benefits, applications and results of the many integrated tools of communications.
The projects' goal would be to “bond” the concept of marketing singularity, future and emerging technologies with delivery systems. This would fulfill the definition of Integrated Marketing Communications to a new audience of enablers and prospects, and YOUR future employees!
Keeping the tools and learning sources flowing via a partnership—a new business/education partnership and relevant high schools, colleges/universities—based on a clear, achievable defined goal, can create a diverse base of future employees.
Contact me if you wish to help.