Thoughts from Wild Goose Pond

By | August 5, 2012

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.

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One thought on “Thoughts from Wild Goose Pond

  1. Joel Salus

    Thanks for your “thoughts from the wild goose pond.” I hope you had a wonderful, relaxing time.

    My thoughts about this (call these “my thoughts from the regional train”, as I’m now sitting on a train from NYC to Boston.)…

    I must be a completely different “consumer” than most.

    1) I absolutely hate it when any company sends me an ad or promotion via email. As soon as I realize that an e-mail is ad/promotion related, it goes into the trash.

    2) I hate it even worse when any company resorts to texting me an ad or promotional e-mail.

    Even though I am only semi-retired, I value my time, all of my time. I use e-mail for business and for personal contacts. Unwanted e-mails, unwanted e-mails of any type, are huge waste of time to deal with. There is such a thing as negative goodwill. I’m wondering if companies think about that when they resort to using e-mail and texting for ads and promotions.

    3) I prefer receiving “marketing related” ads and promotions by U.S. mail. That doesn’t mean that I read all that I receive by mail; but I don’t consider regular mail to be an intrusion into my personal space, which is how I feel about ads and promotions sent to my e-mail address or texted to my cell phone.

    Full disclosure: I think Twitter is stupid and a waste of time. I can’t see any reason why a business needs to use FaceBook or Twitter for promotion or marketing.

    On the other hand, Google search is awesome. I use it whenever I want to shop for anything. I haven’t used s hard-copy yellow pages in years.

    Perhaps it’s just that I’m old school. One last thing. I do use a cell phone, an iPhone, but I much prefer checking e-mail using my laptop, rather than on my cell phone. If I want to “reply” to an e-mail, doing that on my cell phone is an agonizing exercise, since I type very fast, something that’s much easier to do on a laptop, and a chore to do on a cell phone.

    Almost all of the print-industry web-sites and blogs are heavily promoting print (and digital services) related to marketing, advertising, promotion. The Internet has, as all in the print business know, done a significant amount of damage to printers who’ve relied on “hard-copy print” for most of their sales and profits. It’s only going to get worse, for there’s only so much marketing related hard-copy print work to go around. I can only think of one printing-industry segment that’s not up for obsolescence…. print for packaging. Potato chips need bags.

    Reading Dr. Joe’s projections – for the future of the printing industry – are depressing.

    Yours truly,

    Joel

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