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It benefits you, and if it benefits you, it benefits me to know about it.

I am known within my company as the “technology” kid for two reasons: first, my age compared to almost all of my cohorts – I could be their kid – and second, I get so excited about new technology, people begin to wonder how I could possibly be a print representative.

I was in a meeting earlier this week, we hit it off, and then I laid it on him and asked, “What are you doing to bring the web into your publication and bring your publication to the web?” He looked at me the way a dog looks at you – confused, kind of cockeyed. His blank canvas of a look was easy to read, “This guy couldn’t possibly be in printing if he is asking me this!”

After about 30 seconds of stillness, he said, “Well, I have a digital magazine.” As I nodded, he continued politely, “But it’s a free one. I know printers offer digital magazines, but I really am not interested in paying for one.” I immediately thought to myself, are printers only synonymous with digital magazines? I prodded a little more about his digital magazine. Did he see it as a way to engage his readers or a way to increase profits from his advertisers by being able to offer rich media and the like, or hopefully both? The conversation went on for a few more minutes about digital magazine capabilities and what he liked and didn’t like, etc. I asked again, “What else are you doing?” And again that look came over him, but this time I didn’t wait for silence to fill the air. “How about QR codes, Augmented Reality, PURL’s? How are you using social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to interact with people?”

He immediately said, “Are you sure you’re in printing? How does any of that benefit you?” I smiled and said, “It doesn’t, but it benefits you, and if it benefits you, then it benefits me to know about it.” Through further discussion, I found out that he creates videos for his website, and we spoke about how he could easily incorporate Augmented Reality and QR Codes with the skills he already possessed. And how he might be able to offer it to his advertisers for additional profits and create more market share for his publication. We also talked about his social media strategy, and I shared my point of view. When I left the meeting, he looked at me and said, “You really seem to be up on your stuff!” We shook hands and agreed to talk soon.

On my drive back to the office – it was a long, three hour drive back – I thought of a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with my old boss. He is the reason I am in printing, the person who hired me without any background in printing, but knew I was a bill collector at one time and had no fears about picking up the phone and establishing relationships. He is now president of a major publisher/marketing communications provider.

At first, it was a conversation about how life was, but then I quickly realized what a great opportunity to get some insight that not many other print reps have into the publishing market. We spoke about iPad apps, and I learned they had just begun to create some apps for their magazines. I asked him, “What are you looking to do? Are you trying to go all digital or just supplement the printed magazine?”

He gave me the best answer anyone could ever give, and changed my view on everything when he responded, “Noah, I am not trying to dictate anything. I am giving the readers and advertisers what they want. Where they go, I go. If this is what they want, then this is what we will do. If it is all print, then so be it; if it is all digital, then so be it; but ultimately the market will decide.”

Now, driving back from this meeting, I fully understood what he meant. Why should a printer only educate, sell, and consult about print when there are so many integrated communications available to publishers? Why should a publisher limit themselves when the market is demanding all of these channels to be open to them? The answer is, they shouldn’t, and as a young guy in printing, I am confessing I am in love with print AND technology! We all should be, and we all should look at ways we can gain the most market share available to us.

Times are changing, print is still relevant, but even more there are now additional channels to use to create the most effective brand possible.

“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.” – Helen Keller

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March 3, 2011 - Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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