Once again, it’s time to acknowledge that print is not dead. In fact, in some sectors, it’s growing and thriving.
A December 2016 story posted on Thailand’s bangkokpost.com starts out with the ominous headline, “FTI: Print to continue slow death in 2017. But, read on and it quickly becomes apparent that they’re only referring to selective print categories.
The article points out, “The commercial printing sector, including newspaper and magazine businesses, is expected to contract by 5% next year as advertising budgets for print media [are] increasingly directed to online media, says says FTI vice-chairman Kriengkrai Thiennukul…Mr. Kriengkrai said commercial printing comprises 45% of the printing sector, while packaging business is 55%…Mr. Kriengkrai said the packaging sector will continue to grow by 5%-6% next year, thanks to growing e-commerce and food business.”
Based on the article’s predictions, food product labeling and packaging will be an especially sweet spot this coming year. All of this supports the contention that print is not “slowly dying” in some sectors but rather is surviving—in fact thriving—in such areas as packaging and labels.
Growth of print in the packaging and label sectors is important news to share with your customers and prospects to reinforce the viability of this medium, and the wisdom of continuing to invest strongly in it. For that matter, print is proving surprisingly resilient in other areas as well.
For example, a Huffington Post article from last winter notes, “92 Percent Of Students Prefer Print Books, New Study Shows…The smell of old books is among the reasons students say they aren’t going digital.”
A Columbia Journalism Review article emphasizes that Roger Fidler, a “forefather” of digital journalism, is not so sure about an all things digital world: “Even though his iPad is never far away, Fidler still subscribes to the print editions of The New York Times, the Columbia Daily Tribune and the Columbia Missourian. ‘I have been wondering,’ Fidler says, ‘whether we have completely underestimated the viability and usefulness of the print product.’”
Echoing that belief is a bizjournals.com article that says, “…the idea that print is dead is mistaken. It is true that non-traditional media continue to grow as digital platforms emerge and access to technology expands. Smartphones are becoming less expensive and more consumers have access to wireless broadband connections on multiple devices…As a result, mobile apps are driving nearly 50 percent of all time spent with digital media…By 2019, it is believed that marketers will use 50 percent or more of their media spends on digital media…Despite the rapid growth of online content, consumers are actually seeing no significant divide between digital and traditional media. In fact, when it comes to when and how they consume content, what they want is greater flexibility and convenience…The experience outweighs the delivery platform, and media that combines relevancy with inspiring, personalized content will ultimately deliver the impact marketers crave. This is a win for print…”
Other messages to your marketplace include:
- Look for balance. Those committed to a “digital only” policy when it comes to product marketing may want to think this through a bit further. Print and digital can and should support each other for maximum effectiveness. Nowhere is this more evident than the prevalence of product packaging and labels in tandem with the largely digital platforms marketing those products.
- It’s about content, convenience, and flexibility. Per the bizjournals.com article above, talk with customers and prospects about their objectives, then recommend solutions that best meet them. In many cases, this will dictate a blend of print and digital.
- Forget the fads. As the above examples help prove, the “print is dead” fad is fading. Well-thought-out use and coordination of digital and print platforms often will offer the most successful outcomes.
Far from being on its way out, print is very alive and well in the packaging and labeling world, and elsewhere.
Mark Lusky is president of Lusky Enterprises Inc., a marketing communications and content development company. Since 2008, he has worked with Lightning Labels, a Denver-based all-digital custom label printing company, as a content developer specializing in expert advice articles. Lusky presents common-sense ideas grounded in doing what’s real and right for managing and enhancing public image.