Print in a Multi-channel World --Sherburne
Hi, it's me, just checking back in to see whether you had the opportunity to read my first column in the November issue of Printing Impressions. Did you have a chance to try out the direct mail program I outlined, designed to reduce the number of expensive and often ineffective cold calls your sales professionals are making? If so, let me hear from you. Sharing your successes may encourage others to take advantage of similar approaches and will be a tremendous help to the industry at large as we all work to find our way in the digital world.
Is print dead? This question has been coming up repeatedly since the 1970s when Xerox and others were predicting print's demise. And yet, we are still here, though the overall numbers for the industry have not been stellar. We are a resilient industry and have overcome many past obstacles. What we are facing now, however, is a very different competitive situation.
Most of us are no longer simply competing with the printer(s) down the street. We are competing globally, and we are facing non-traditional competitors, as well. Customers have more alternatives than ever before for getting their message out. They can send millions of e-mails at virtually no cost. They can leverage their Websites to engage potential customers. There are blogs, podcasts and other new means of communication that seem to emerge almost daily.
Marketers are still voting for print with their dollars—by some accounts, print still represents two-thirds of marketing spend. But print is growing at single digits while alternative communications are growing at much faster rates.
So what can we do to help ensure that print remains a viable means of communication and has a healthy future, and what does that have to do with marketing, anyway? Many years ago when I was in sales with Xerox, I had a boss who was fond of saying, "If you are going to be successful in sales, you have to eat your own dog food." In the case of Xerox, we used our own equipment to produce proposals and other materials that helped our sales efforts by showing customers what could be done.