The Language of Irrelevance
What’s the quickest way to irrelevance? How about claiming you’re still relevant?
Isn’t this what many of us do in the commercial printing industry? We stand on our soapbox and cite this or that study claiming variations on the theme “print’s not dead.” When you phrase things negatively, aren’t you giving credence to exactly the opposite viewpoint?
Lessons from Another Industry
As many of you know, I split my time between two wonderful industries, commercial printing (since 1990) and healthcare (since 2004). Absolutely no one in healthcare climbs to a podium and says, “Healthcare is still relevant! Rah!” Yet, how many printers do exactly this while ignoring the wonderful and unique benefits offered by our vibrant and enormous $150 billion print industry?
Spare me the hate mail saying, “Umm, T. J., I heard you say ‘print’s still relevant’ at a PIA conference a while back.” In my sieve-like defense, all I can offer is a weak rebuttal. Sometimes I think like a politician; consistency’s not a virtue!
I can hear you now, “OK, smarty-pants. What’s the language of relevance?”
That’s easy. Let me borrow the word "amazing" from my friend and PIA honcho, Michael Makin. Print is amazing and print’s benefits are amazing. Here are some examples:
- Print can reach your target audience at any scale. Can email, social media or voicemail? Good luck with that.
- Print works at point of sale. How are those retail sales training programs going? Could be better? Sorry.
- Product packaging. There is no alternative to print.
A Comment About Inbound Marketing
Let me weigh in on inbound/outbound marketing for a moment. As many of you know, I’m a huge fan of inbound marketing programs and platforms, but not everyone feels the same way. Certainly former Hubspot employee Dan Lyons, author of the newly published kiss n’ tell "Disrupted: My Misadventure In The Start-Up Bubble," doesn’t.
If you want to see a perfect response to this PR semi-crisis for Hubspot, read Hubspot co-founder Dharmesh Shah’s seriously awesome blog response posted a few days ago.
In his rebuttal, Shah admits inbound marketing “is not the quickest path to getting leads and customers.”
If other lead gen marketing vehicles are cluttered (email), slow (inbound marketing), expensive (sales and telesales) or shotgun (broadcast media), there is an obvious void that only the cost-effective commercial printing industry can fill. To me, this is the optimistic message around which printers should be rallying.
You see, relevance isn’t even in question.
Non-sequitur: Meet in Düsseldorf?
Let me repeat the same offer from a couple of weeks ago. If you want to put sales growth, relevant content marketing and lead generation on your drupa dance card, contact me. I’ll be in Düsseldorf June 3-6. Reference “Christmas in June,” and the first Altbier’s on me.