23 April 2010
Print show panelists call for “sexing up” the print industry
PHILADELPHIA—One of the answers to the “war on print” is to make print sexier, urged panelists at the On Demand show in Philadelphia that wrapped up yesterday.

“Talking about print just doesn’t excite people,” said panelist Jeffrey Hayzlett, chief marketing officer for Eastman Kodak Company, speaking at a presentation entitled “The War on Print and How to Survive It” attended by PrintCan.com on Wednesday. Hazylett compared this to the fascination around electronic devices and videos games.

But print can integrate with the electronic world through innovations such as QR codes that can be scanned by camera-equipped cellphones. “That makes print come alive. Let’s sex it up a little bit.”

Panel moderator Charlie Corr, VP of corporate strategy for web-to-print firm Mimeo.com, said the printing industry has had “a good 500-year run” and now needs to catch up with marketing-focused industries. “I don’t think we’ve done a good enough job.”

His words were echoed by panelist Ben Cooper, executive director of the Print Council, a U.S.-based industry organization that promotes the value of print to media buyers. He expressed frustration with the level of industry support for marketing initiatives. “I’ll be blunt. The industry doesn’t put up enough money to do marketing.” He compared the $80 million spent on marketing by the milk industry in the U.S. to the $500,000 “at most” that the industry contributes to the Print Council.

He suggested the industry consider a levy on every single printed piece — similar to the way milk and cheese boards raise money through production — to generate funds for industry marketing. “Maybe we need to start another revolution here in Philadelphia,” he joked.

The panelists highlighted prints’ many advantages, including impact, permanence and authority. Hayzlett noted that online shoppers are twice as likely to buy if they are also using a printed catalogue. The U.S. Direct Marketing Association has calculated that every $167 spent on direct-mail campaigns generates $2,100 in spending.

Corr noted the trust and authority placed in printed documents, such as doctor’s diplomas. “When [your children] are going for their diploma, ask them whether they’d like to receive a tweet saying ‘congratulations’ instead,” he quipped.

The On Demand show focuses on digital printing and attracts 10,000 attendees. Next year’s event will be held in Washington D.C.

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