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Printing – 5th Generation 32 GB

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” I had a really good summer, my internship went amazing and they even said they would hire me on once I finish school this year! I was able to increase their Facebook page “likes” from 100 to 250 in one summer and they were amazed at how well I did!” I over heard the young student sitting next to me on the airplane enthustiastically telling her friend sitting in the window seat next to her as I flipped the physical piece of paper to get to the next page in the book I was reading, “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

 

My ears were a little more open now as I tried to mask my eavesdropping on their conversation by continuing to flip through the pages of the book, although my eyes no longer saw the words printed within. Their conversation went on about their internships, how much they missed each other, and most of all how they should keep in touch more with one another on Facebook. My mind began to drift, and I got lost in thought no longer paying attention to their conversation, but instead thinking about the current landscape and future of printing as well as publishing/print buying.

 

Undoubtedly, the landscape has changed since 2008 when the economy took the biggest hit since The Great Depression. In addition, the print market was under the pressure of increasing paper prices, increasing postage costs and postal regulations, and new technologies like digital magazines, Ipods, and Ipads (and other e-readers) were introduced to the market. People began to scream at the top of their lungs “death to the printer” and a massive panic swept through the market. Words like “integrated marketing provider” and “communications provider” were now commonly used among printers to describe themselves eager to hide the word “print” from their company name and services they offer. 

Fast forward to 2013, some printers have consolidated, some have gone out of business, and some have continued to grow. Sure, we have seen the most changes and adversity since film became a thing of the past and all pre press work flow went to CTP (I was still in high school when that happened). The publisher that went out of print and completely digital is now out of business, because like so many other publishers, they haven’t figured out how to effectively sell advertising into their digital magazine nor produce the conversion results their advertisers are looking for. The business with the catalog that stopped printing and instead threw up a PDF of the catalog onto their website now is scratching their head as to why their sales have dipped so much even though they were able to eliminate print and mailing costs. They begin to realize why, and rush back to print much like the way I run towards my children and wife eagerly awaiting me at the airport terminal after a business trip.

We are in a new genre of printers, publishers, and print buyers, what I call the 5th generation 32 GB. The printer has become the 32 GB needing as much storage as possible to provide all the multi faceted channels to distribute their client’s message via digital magazines, app creation, PURL’s, print and much more. As well, we are in a new generation of Print Buyers, what I call the 5th Generation. Most Print Buyers are not “print specific” for their organizations, but instead purchase a multitude of products and have become younger as well as prefer to communicate over email rather than on a phone call. The 5th Generation and the 32 GB correlate with one another, need one another, and become successful together. Ink, Paper, Distribution, Mailing, Digital Reproduction – They are all stored within my 32 GB, and the young or older buyer has access to every single piece of education, opportunity, and consultation. Service, Consulting, Honesty, and Creative Ideas, are what I promise you, the goal always being to have your organization tell YOU “You did an awesome job on that project, here’s a bigger project, I have the TRUST in you to knock this out of the park too!” It’s not about the ink on paper, Closed Loop Color Control systems are common place on presses which eliminate printing errors for the most part. Becoming “green friendly” is common place amongst printers with most being FSC, Soy Ink, and or Rain Forest Alliance certified as well as offering a wide variety of paper choices with recycled content such as JB Kenehan does. (not trying to down play the importance of consisten print quality or being environmentally friendly here). So what’s it all about? Knowing you will not have to babysit your provider, knowing your provider has provided the most cost efficient ideas, knowing they are going to meet your deadlines, and above all else having TRUST in your sales rep to provide you the 32 GB of education to allow you to shine like the brightest star. TRUST. SERVICE.

 

With so much change and adapting in the past 4-5 years, the coming year(s) are looking like that of being in the eye of the tornado, calm, but will the tornado return back to the heavens or will we need to enter the other side clutching one another to get through another storm? 

 

I un-buckled the seat belt as we now had landed and pulled into the terminal. As I stood up, I reached down and grabbed my brief case under the seat in front of me, opened it and pulled out a magazine. I turned to the young college student who was still sitting in her seat, and handed her the magazine ” Here, if they hire you on full time or if you have an internship with another organization place an ad in print. You will increase the “likes” on their Facebook page 10 fold, and you will look like the rock star you so deserve to be, TRUST me.”

 

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September 8, 2013 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

March 3, 2011 Posted by | Digital Magazine, Publishing, Social Media | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment