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The Soap Box

Promoting print to the world

Genevieve Lewis listens to print’s most influential trade associations and bodies as they consider key industry challenges and the steps print companies can take to secure a successful future

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Information is power: EPIC 2019 is dedicated to inspiring its delegates and helping them shift their perspective on how to solve their client’s challenges

Believe in epic 

Marian Stefani,

Chief executive officer,

At the IPIA, we are passionate about raising the tide for print by ensuring we can educate the UK’s print buyers about its technological sophistication, impact, and ability to deliver a long-term ROI. We need to demonstrate to them the strong part that print has to play within integrated communications campaigns.

Imagine the scene. A marketeer’s brand or client has given them goals, provided them with a budget, and set the key perfomance indicators it expects to be hit by the team. They have confidently assured them that their wonderful box of marketing magic tricks will be able to help them reach their growth nirvana, champagne will flow, and everyone will be slapping each other on the back by Christmas.

Now, they sit two months in, at a weekly team meeting, work in progress document in hand, and the underlying emotion will be, by and large, one of furiously suppressed anxiety: “Surely it will be ok, if we all keep smiling, reinforcing each other’s biases and just ‘bombing along’ they won’t notice we aren’t quite hitting the KPIs this month, perhaps we can fudge them a little to make it seem better than it really is; I don’t understand why using social media micro-influencers didn’t work; it will almost definitely all be OK. Won’t it?”.

The channels to market have exploded, but what that means is that the esteemed and trusted place of the marketing professional has been diluted

The truth is that being a marketeer in the 21st century is a tough gig, whether the specialism is PR, marcomms, brand positioning, project marketing, digital collateral development or anything in between. The channels to market have exploded, but what that means is that the esteemed and trusted place of the marketing professional has been diluted.

This is not just because the brand can use cheap and often ingenious digital tools without needing to consult them, but because these tools and the ways to wield them effectively evolve so quickly that it is much harder to proclaim expertise, and actually back that claim up, than ever before.

That is the challenge, and the solution for them must be focusing on their ‘why?’ not their ‘how?’ The most effective campaigns today are based upon this simple idea. If you can figure out why people use a product or service, and truly understand what your brand or client’s product actually is, then you are off to a solid start. For example, why did Blockbuster, the biggest entertainment franchise of the 20th century go bust? Because it thought its product was a film in a box. It wasn’t. Its product was a night on the sofa being conveniently entertained. When Netflix and its peers found a better way to deliver that product, they wiped out Blockbuster. Why? This is the important question, “How?” is just the system to answer the question.

Reframe and reboot

This is the founding principal of the EPIC (Everything is Possible; Integrated Communications) campaign, which sees its crown jewel conference take place on July 3rd at Congress in London.

With brand experts and leading thinkers leading the day’s agenda, marketeers and PR professionals will come away with new ideas for maximising the impact of their brands, insights on marketing in a digitally-led age, and new knowledge of the extraordinary, technology-led capabilities of pivotal channels such as print that have romped back up the marketing agenda over the last few years.

Let’s shout louder

The BAPC believes that more in the industry need to shout about print

Sidney Bobb,

People in this industry know that print is one of the most powerful and effective communication tools an organisation can use. Today, it is much more than simply putting images on substrates; research has clearly illustrated that people pay much more attention to the printed word than messages (as clever as they might be) received on a mobile phone, tablet or computer. What is printed is invariably read and absorbed, with the document having a longer lifespan than perhaps digital images. Making use of both technologies results in a very powerful message.

Print is one of the most powerful and effective communication tools an organisation can use

Professionally designed and printed documents are certainly effective, ensuring that any message, be it a report, study document, promotional literature, pamphlet or brochure is absorbed by the reader who can react to the communication.

There is always the question of cost, but surely it is the impact of the document and the response to it that provides a return on investment rather than the production cost. Indeed, the development of technology means that in real terms, professional printing is now more economic than it has ever been and in a number of cases less expensive than doing the work in-house.

All this is true – the real question is why are people involved in the sector not shouting this from the rooftops? Look at any advert for print or visit many websites everyone appears to be obsessed with price, too rarely do enough businesses promote the effectiveness of print and what it achieves.

Printers compete on-line and, if their offering is cheap enough, they get the business, as they say “what you get on price you lose on price!” In order to survive and succeed, more must be done. Every commercial operation needs a USP and companies should perhaps consider demonstrating what they can do to benefit their customers. The BAPC and other representative bodies can provide advice and guidance to help point businesses in the right direction.


The British Print Industries Federation is holding a one-day event in Leeds to bring together members of the sector

Charles Jarrold,
Chief executive officer,

Welcome to a world of innovation and sustainability. Part of our role as the industry’s trade body is to help facilitate connections. Our Visual Media Conference (VMC) on April 16th, a free to attend one-day event in Leeds does just that. Providing vivid insights into marketing communications and bringing together agencies, brands, printers and creatives.

Providing vivid insights into marketing communications and bringing together agencies, brands, printers and creatives

Organised by our special interest group CDi, this year the VMC will return to Leeds to explore how businesses can be truly sustainable in all areas by having an innovative and creative mind-set. With an extremely impressive line-up featuring speakers from Channel 4, Newsworks, HP and Communisis who will be sharing truly inspiring insights, real world experience and best practice, the VMC will also reflect on the creative sector’s growth in the region.

I hope you can join us. This year's event intends to take delegates to a place that they may have heard of but not actually seen – the cutting edge of thinking. Exploring mixed, virtual and augmented reality the VMC will create an occasion where people from marketing and communications, printers and designers can see examples of the latest technology and ask themselves, ‘Is this something I should be using?’

To book your free place at the VMC 2019 or to find out more, please visit www.visualmediaconference.com.

Public Notice:

  • Focus on the ‘why’ and not the ‘how’
  • Shout louder about what print can achieve
  • The BPIF’s Visual Media Conference is on April 16th in Leeds

To find out more about the issues discussed in this article please contact the relevant organisation via their website: www.bapc.co.uk, www.britishprint.com, www.ipia.org.uk

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