Print—Still a Vital Component in an E-Centric World
This guest blog was submitted by Kurt Konow, Production Print Marketing Strategist, Ricoh Americas Corporation, sponsor of the 2012 Integrated Print Forum, October 29-30, 2012.
The world of communicating has changed dramatically. It was less than a decade ago that the primary distribution channel for communications was traditional print. Whether you were in the business of preparing and distributing mission-critical bills and statements, or the more creative world of designing and delivering direct mail, flyers, and brochures, print was king. But then something happened. Tradition was socked with a one-two punch—the E-World—and the methods of communicating changed forever.
Consumers have more communication choices than ever before, including email, SMS text messaging, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and traditional print. Depending on the content of the communication, one channel might be just perfect and another channel not even a consideration. Sitting at your kid’s soccer game or commuting on a train might be perfect situations to text or tweet a message, but not very practical or timely to create and print a message. Clearly, we live in a world that communicates, and the E-World has simplified and enhanced our ability to interface with others instantaneously. However, what still remains at the center of the communication channel choice is preference and practicality. Not everyone can—or wants to—communicate via Facebook messaging. Not every mail piece, brochure, or poster is intelligently transferable through mobile marketing mechanisms. What are we saying? Print is still valued, still considered, still preferred by many, and still necessary.
While print is not dead, it does require a more strategic approach to ensure it is carefully scheduled within an overall, integrated communication plan. In some circumstances print may still be able to stand on its own merit, but in other instances it will need to be a component in a broader communication strategy. Either way, it is incumbent on the communication owner to maximize the return on investment of print by ensuring maximum effectiveness. However, this lofty mandate can be daunting, unless you embrace a “best-practice” approach to ensuring print is a viable and effective component of an overall communication strategy.