While the death of print as a marketing tool was greatly exaggerated, it clearly lost its sex appeal as marketing professionals embraced e-mail, social and mobile media as their methods for delivering their message to an increasingly connected audience. Thanks to a ever growing palette of emerging technologies that make print more relevant and interactive (think Print 2.0), not to mention a track record of results, print is on the rise in marketing circles once again.
As a veteran print professional with plenty of ink beneath my fingernails, my recall of the industry stretches back some thirty-something years, both on the buying and manufacturing sides of the desk. In some ways the concepts have not changed, but new tools at our disposal only make it easier to execute on ideas with a finer point, a more individualized style of message.
A favorite challenge of mine was working on complex “versioned” projects where paying attention to minute details mattered a great deal. One such regular project was producing five monthly in-flight magazines provided by various airlines for that seat pocket in front of you. Each version was specific to a region, including regional ads. Keeping it all straight with the help of lots of id codes was a challenge I embraced while sorting the pieces of film for the strippers.
Today, thanks to innovations in digital technology, the capability to create versions of printed pieces has been greatly simplified, using data to deliver relevant, engaging messages that resonate with the individual recipient. We have come a ways since the days of linotype and paste-up, ruling pens and color separations made with a camera as long as a car!
I can’t wait to see where print goes next. QR codes, pURLs and materials printed on demand and ordered through an online storefront, each element part of the same campaign and all of them “talking to” each other. Best of all, tracking and reporting that can definitively say whether or not what you are doing is “worth it.” Being able to see and show results is the golden nugget in all of this technology and we’re getting better at it every single day.