As I write this, I’m sitting in a cabin on Wild Goose Pond near Northwood, New Hampshire. The children have been just chased out of the water as a fierce storm blows in, while I sit on the daybed, laptop perched on my knees and my feet resting on the claw foot oak table and competing for space in-between piles of books.
There is no cellphone service or Internet access here. Guess which one I miss more? I miss my phone.
As an analyst for the printing industry, it’s a strange feeling. In my family’s defense, my husband’s attention was held this morning by a calendar of events tipped into an L. L. Bean catalog, and if our scheduled had allowed, we would have been a conversion for sure. He also spent the afternoon reading an old-fashioned book while I worked on a manuscript evaluation for an author who has already pre-sold 700 copies of the book (okay, I also took at nap).
But I’m thinking about those statistics I posted last month—statistics showing a surprisingly high percentage of consumers who only check email or only surf the Web on their phones. Only on their phones.
Now I’m sitting here thinking about how often that’s me. For this week, it is me. I remember the days of discussion about email marketing and how email isn’t print’s enemy. Those were the days of adjusting to opt-in lists, CAN Spam regulations, and HTML vs. text-only versions.
In the end, the industry has come to accept (if begrudgingly) that email is part of the fabric of print marketing, often supporting the mission of clients’ marketing campaigns and helping to boost response rates by serving either as a pre-direct-mail teaser or a follow-up reminder. Today, a very high percentage of printers have abandoned the “I’ll never offer email” mantra and offer email marketing services alongside print.
Now we’re facing the same transition with mobile. Text and mobile marketing isn’t something for marketing firms specializing on social and electronic media. Like email, it’s becoming part of the fabric of print marketing, too. QR and other barcodes are showing up on everything. Short codes are appearing on cups, napkins, posters, and every form of packaging. Opt-in requests for text marketing are being placed on every sign-up form — print or online — imaginable.
We live in a multi-channel universe, and all of these channels are integrated with the success of print. The more indispensible one channel becomes in the hearts and lives of consumers, the more critical it becomes for digital printers and marketing services providers to integrate that channel into their service offerings as part of a comprehensive service package. Right now, that means mobile.