Digital – it’s the data, dummkopf!

By | March 31, 2016

“Only 2% of the 50 trillion pages printed today are done digitally.”

Will the number of ‘pages’ being printed continue to explode, no matter what printing process is used?  Probably.  But the places that printing is being printed, may not be at the local print shoppe.

Print consumption is platform agnostic nowadays, and importantly, ’print’ is no longer about pages only, today the types of print can rival the range of devices comprising the Internet of Things (IoT).

If print can be seen as an interconnected tool to much deeper immersion in all kinds of fields from retailing to education, then certainly commercial printing as we have known it can prosper, but that good fortune will not be accomplished via the commercial printing model as we have known it.  Print is not merely ink on paper, print is becoming: ‘digital imaging on any imaginable substrate.’  And crucially, it’s about engagement and the data flows that arise from the consumption of digital print.

This article on personalized printed bags to make Waitrose customers feel more special at the holiday season 2015.  How cool, and effective. And data driven. The truth that the marketing impact of print is NOT ABOUT THE PRINT.

Moving closer to the present, from Australia, a review of the Aurasma Augmented Reality platform at SXSW in Austin Texas.

Print is the trigger to a massive increase in sales conversion.  And maybe conversation too.

Now – as a card carrying member of “The Print Protagonists”, I may beg to differ with using print as the static launch pad into the cloud seeking for the image recognition trigger.  I think a better path forward for traditional commercial print is to embrace Interactive Print because in that model “The MAGIC is “IN” the PRINT.”

Maybe only 2% of the 50 trillion waterfall of pages being produced today are digital, but trust me on this, that percentage will ratchet fast.  This report from the esteemed Boston Consulting Group released in February of 2016 has some spot on graphical charts, but for my money the seventh paragraph talking about the use of RFID to drive sales and reduce costs is the killer app.  I have no ties to RFID, and often question the green bona fides of RFID, but the impact of that digital tool (sometimes incorporating printed tags) is not debatable.

I do have ties to the fervent belief that old school printing is replaceable by print drivers in homes and offices which may be resident in a host of IoT devices.  If print as we have known it is to have a seat at the marketing feast-table, then we need to embrace data driven Interactive Print pronto.

As we mark again the Ides of March, we do well to not drink the Hemlock flavoured Kool aid that claims everything is good and healthy in traditional commercial printing.

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