Is print dead?

The last couple years have brought enormous changes in the world of communication.  Facebook and Twitter have … need I say more.  And central to these changes is the question – “Is the printing industry relevant anymore.”

In other words – “Is the printing industry dead?”

I think the question is more – “What niches can printing, or more specifically, direct marketing not only survive but flourish in?

1.  I think that first we have to break down the demographics – mainly age, and then divide the demographic into segments.  Of course, the younger the target demographic, the more likely they are to be internet oriented (Facebook, Twitter and texting).

2.  Next we have to look at the status of the target demographic with the marketer.  Are they a customer, a defined prospect or just somebody out there in space.  Each of the three segments involve a different strategy.  From a digital printing standpoint, the first two, customers and defined prospects offer the the most significant opportunities, via variable data marketing.

3.  Thirdly, is the message more effectively communicated via the internet or physically on a piece of paper.  All you paper merchants out there – this is where you need to step up (earn your pay beyond being an order taker)

4.  Fourth, are there any niche opportunities out there that are more prone to be taken advantage of  in the physical rather than the virtual world.  This one takes some thought but it will not only provide survival for some printing firms … but prosperity.

5.  Fifth, are there any inherent advantages to receiving a piece of mail vs. an electronic communication and vise versa.

6.  And finally, are there any internet or virtual opportunities that can be exploited due to current resources already in place (i.e. content management and repurposing)

I don’t think print and the printing industry will ever really go away.  It just needs to find its niches and within those niches it needs to strategically flourish.  And what actually is the printing industry?  Is it putting ink on paper … or is it helping our clients communicate their message to their clients?

Until we decide which it is, then the entire question moot.

No Johannes, we will still be around to throw back a Stein or two in your memory.


If you like what you read … please Tweet and follow me on Twitter @variable_edge.


~ by Clay Forsberg on July 22, 2010.

2 Responses to “Is print dead?”

  1. Clay, you are echoing my sentiments almost word-for-word. Once printers decide what business they are really in, the correct answer NOT being “putting ink on paper”, but “helping organizations and individuals communicate effectively” we will see the path to the future much more clearly.


  2. Great Blog. Couldn’t have said it any better.

    Respectfully, Tyler

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