When I read how the 4Q Total annualized inflation adjusted dollar profits dropped 60% in the printing world I was not shocked. I have been aware of the steady decline in relevance print has relegated itself to in the marketing world.
I remember a time when I would go to printers and ask them for samples to show to clients. Paper stocks, foil stamping, embossing, die cutting, varnish, gloss coating, spiral binding. I go back to hot type. OK, I gave away my age but, when did print become irrelevant?
I operated my marketing shop for over 38 years and print was what brought in the business for all of my clients and quite a few awards for me.
When I discovered the power of on-demand digital printing in 1997, I promptly put a small footprint digital copier in my firm. Big drum, but you could personalize each print. We used it to proof our pre-print projects.
It was during our launch of the Sharp AR-C color printing systems that I got to play around with the value of a straight paper path and a Fiery controller. I also started on a path to understanding how VDP operates in the communications world.
Sure, you personalize letters and envelopes, but having seen what my competition was entering during these awards shows gave me great insight into understanding a new philosophy for strategizing my marketing using personalization. When I looked around I realized that nobody was using digital VDP designed especially for short run marketing. By the way, marketing agencies have commoditized themselves, just like printers.
Insight to manufacturers: If you want to build demand for your systems, sell the value to marketing agencies then to local print providers. These people need training the most. Their strategies are still rooted in 60’s mass communications tactics; get the message out to as many people as possible for a cheap as possible and run an average response.
Maybe in the 60’s it was a 2% average response. When I entered the industry I just wanted to make the best mailing pieces in any SIC my clients dwelled in. Now that I had VDP at my fingertips, what could I accomplish?
Turned out, a lot.
Here’s what I would like you to understand; Print communications is not dead, just the way you’ve been selling it! VDP needs to be used in short, targeted, hyper-personalized, emotionally positive messages that build trust and make your reader smile. Yes, that’s my secret.
Here’s your take away!
For any message to be absorbed, an emotional charge must pass through the amygdala to the frontal cortex, and I choose VDP coupled with humor to ensure my pitch gets through.
Printers need to use VDP in their marketing to other businesses, and become the local authority in helping those businesses use VDP to market themselves. That is how you grow an industry! Demonstrate the efficacy of a marketing product as compared to all other competitive media. Then become a local authority and dominate your territory!