Doing Print Forensics Brings New Business

As much as the print industry has suffered, so to have many of the related industries that are part of the chain of communication so often mentioned in this blog. Change has come to all verticals—perhaps to varying degrees—but change is the only constant.

Recently, I have been very busy playing a direct/integrated marketing detective, hired by corporations (including print providers) to review, analyze, and comment on the performance of a multitude of integrated cross-media marketing programs. These programs run the gamut; they use online and offline tools, are integrated and, in many cases, the results are measured.

Yet, during my investigations I have discovered a developing trend. That trend is the lack of post-program review and assessment, particularly from the print end of the business.

If a printer is assigned to add value to a direct marketing effort, offers a solution and that solution underperforms, would it not be a good thing to ask the question, “Why?” What I have found is the question is rarely asked and, if a program is underperforming, the “blame game” is more apparent then the “why game.”

Even stranger is the print partner looking for additional work and ignoring the most recent underperforming effort. No, I’m not saying that every underperforming project is the print provider’s fault, but in three of the nine projects I have reviewed, the print provider was clearly at fault.

In all three cases, the print provider would not consider accepting blame and was left wondering why no new work was coming its way. When challenged (part of what I was hired to do), the responses from these print provider and others have been:

  1. Not our fault.
  2. Bad data.
  3. Poor management.
  4. Lack of defined goals.
  5. Unreal objectives.

It’s too late to provide a fix to a program that is completed. The best one can expect is to change the next effort, and that assumes you will be hired for the next effort. The need is to test the process and the program, and with your marketing finger on the pulse, measure the program at every stage and level. Digital technology allows on-the-fly changes to be made, and those changes can be very easily measured.

Thad Kubis is an unconventional storyteller, offering a confused marketplace a series of proven, valid, integrated marketing/communication solutions. He designs B2B or B2C experiential stories founded on Omni-Channel applications, featuring demographic/target audience relevance, integration, interaction, and performance analytics and program metrics.

Related Content
  • BrettR

    Really interesting. It’s always worthwhile to examine our failures as well as our successes, it’s how we become better! Businesses who are not willing to explore their product with a critical eye are only hurting themselves. Thanks for posting! Brett at