Tackling the Challenge
You might be walking the PRINT 17 show floor, attending seminars, networking with your peers, and right now, you are incredibly excited. Interactive print is the next step for your shop, and you can’t wait to start pushing the boundaries. This is a good thing, but like any other business strategy or market segment, it pays to do the research up front, recognizing the challenges you might face implementing interactive strategies, so you can help increase the odds of your success in this new venture.
1. Changing Technology
As an industry, in the beginning, a new technology (press) could be purchased and still be relevant and working perfectly 20 years later. In the last decade, as digital and inkjet technologies exploded, that cycle began to shorten, with presses even three to five years old suddenly unable to keep up with all the latest and greatest capabilities.
But interactive print brings a whole new level to that dynamic. “Technology is fast changing, so it’s important to stay up to date and make sure that everything is relevant,” says Iris Shalev, Marketing Coordinator, Direct Mail 2.0 (Booth 3745). “The biggest challenge printers face when integrating interactive elements is realizing that all good technologies have a ramp-up period and a start-up cost.”
The speed at which new technologies make the old ones obsolete is rapidly increasing. As you walk the show floor, look for companies that have an upgrade path built into their products and solutions, so you can get the most out of your investment for the longest period of time.
2. Defining the Goals.
With all the different ways print can become interactive—a list that is expanding seemingly every day—it can be hard to narrow it down to the options that will best serve the campaign at hand.
“The biggest challenge that a print service provider will face when implementing an interactive print strategy will be defining the appropriate interactive mechanism for their primary customer by application along with the expected ROI,” notes Kurt Konow, Creative Director of Marketing Communications, Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group, Ricoh USA (Booth 2022). “When exploring integrating interactive elements, printers should ask themselves about the anticipated goals of each individual campaign to help them deliver the most effective strategy. Examples of such questions can be: does the interface to a digital experience need to be a few lines of information, or is a microsite required to satisfy the digital connection?”