A message to printers … “the medium is the message.”

The following was a discussion I started in a digital printing group on LinkedIn.

“Why is all the talk concerning 1:1: marketing centered on the input such as pURLs and QR Codes and not the output of the message.

The print industry’s role in content management and ultimately the delivery of the message will be the industry’s salvation. While you may not be equipped to create the content … you can’t ignore the opportunities providing your clients with means to get out their message through text, social media, email and the like. Thoughts?”

And below was a comment I made to clarify why I posted the discussion in the first place at the request of a colleague.

What prompted me to post this discussion, was what I see as a missed opportunity for the digital printing industry. It’s understandable that printers want to sell print. Because of the investment in plant and equipment that’s been made, I can see that. But they are also in a position to do more for their clients.

What the print industry provides is vehicle for communication distribution. And traditionally, that vehicle has been the printed piece. It doesn’t need to stop there though. Depending on the target market of your client, print may not be the most effective way to communicate with them. This is especially evident in the younger generations that rely on electronic mediums for their information.

As Marshall McLuhan said “the medium is the message.”

As printers, we receive our client’s content, whether it’s text or imagery. And with database marketing technology, why can’t that content be sent to our client’s target market via text message, email or social media delivery. These options can still be charged for – and produce income. Really all you’re doing is broadening your product mix by re-purposing content.

As far as the comment concerning the attention being paid to the input side of the equation, it still comes down to getting the message to our client’s target. A pURL will direct someone to web page probably resulting in getting something printed. And then we’re back to the print focus.

I may have erroneously included QR Codes in this comment, however. A QR Code could be used to direct someone from a printed piece to an electronic medium. And I suppose that you could actually use a QR Code to transmit a text a text message. If someone knows this … please comment.

In summary, the point I’m trying to make is, how can the industry take advantage of the opportunities on the table as content manager for its clients through re-purposing using additional mediums.


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


~ by Clay Forsberg on September 23, 2010.

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