You may have heard it called thinking outside the box, being on the cutting edge, ahead of the curve or a plethora of other terms and statements to define a simple idea—thinking differently.
If you can embrace the idea to think differently, then you don’t call yourself a printer, marketer, print provider, marketing services provider, or any other of the hundreds of name you have been told to use.
There is only one thing that you are, and only one thing that you do—and do well, I might add. But to really succeed, you need to think very differently. I believe that you are a key component in the chain of communication, which itself has been dynamically altered over the past 10 years.
To some, we are living in a post-digital era, not to dissimilar to the post print or Gutenberg Parenthesis concept offered by Thomas Pettit, a lecturer at the Nieman Journalism Lab
(a project of the Nieman Foundation at Harvard University). In this lecture,
Pettit posits that the introduction of print was the anomaly; that print took human society away from some of it’s key needs for communication.
A similar article on the Museum of Learning Website
indicates that print itself contains a set of invisible, inherent censors that can possibly limit human interaction. On the Website goldendrum.com, there is an article that states, “In the post-digital era, ideas go on living long past their air dates and are only measurable by their lasting effect on popular culture.”
Can you think differently enough to reattach yourself to this chain of communication? Or, can you redefine the chain for your business and be part of the “thing” that has a lasting effect on popular culture? Being a printer may not be the “thing,” but being a communicator may be a closer fit. You will need to use the very arguments that are being presented to diminish print as your foil to counter them.
As I mentioned above, you are not a printer, nor are you a businessperson
or even an entrepreneur. No, what you are is an enabler of the end result of the desired action—you deliver the players for playing, the shoppers for shopping, the people to chat, the groups to share and the consumers to spend. Nothing more, nothing less. You are the extender of the idea, the point of control that allows interaction with content, the delivery agent of change, a connoisseur of communication...you are a customer-centric communicator.
You need, as does the balance of the marketing and communication verticals, to rethink not only what you do, but how and why you do it. In today’s world of media convergence, with YouTube, Tosh.0, iChat, Facebook, Wikileaks and Skype among players, figuring out the how of media convergence and redefining the chain may be the simple part. The why and when, the need, action and reaction, the result and non-result, are more difficult to determine.
Print, in some cases, may provide part of the solution. I’m not thinking that print will achieve it’s past glory—no, that is gone—but the new print is like a piece of clay that YOU can mold to your own needs, your own desires, and achieve the success you need.
What I am saying is that print can no longer be looked upon as a single part of the communication chain or the last step in a long process. Print needs to be viewed as a key, integrated tool in the chain. Print provides the need, the action, the desire, the sell, the comments, the chatting and, in the end, the profit for you.
In fact, the chain of communication is no longer linear, it is circular and centers on the customer’s needs. Customer-centric print, or customer-centric communications...now that’s thinking different.
Next Blog: Customer-centric communications starts right in your shop—with you!