Print is an essential part of marketing, but changes need to be made to make it effective. In a panel discussion covered by Print Week, design students aka millennials discussed the future of print. They determined that print will continue to be a big part of content marketing but that people need to start seeing it with fresh eyes. Here are three major proposals and how professionals in the print industry can progress towards achieving those goals.
1. Don't stifle innovation
The group agreed that designers, printers and brand owners need to collaborate to ensure that a company's brand doesn't get stale. If everyone knew how to achieve that, people wouldn't be debating the demise of print in the first place. However, there are ubiquitous ways that companies in any industry can work to be more innovative.
As Forbes asserted, organizations aren't the ones that innovate anyhow, that's the job of the people. The publication held a Twitter discussion to gather a list of ideas that are meant to boost innovation in 2014. Abhijit Bhaduri of Wipro wrote in that he constantly examines how millennials are dreaming. This overwhelming demographic certainly influences how businesses think, pitch and sell products. They can be pegged as the culprits behind mobilization. Basically what they say goes.
Bhaduri also explained that he tries to take into consideration things that he finds annoying when he's trying to innovate. After all, the definition of the word does mean something new or different. If you'd like to offer something that hasn't been done before, look internally for the answers. Try to offer a service that can overcome a challenge. Companies started offering protection services to mobile devices in the business world to hush concerns over data security.
2. Move into ROI
Beyond just innovating, the group highlighted by Print Week also believe print companies need to move on from just budgeting into determining return on investment. This can help shape the mold of print products as being either useful or irrelevant. Since print products, such as flyers and catalogs, aren't connected to an infrastructure, like say a digital advertisement, it can be a little tricky to learn how many people are reading them. But it can be done.
To start calculating ROI, all you need to do is follow a few simple calculations. Entrepreneur explained a series of steps to figure out the ROI for any business. Create an Excel spread sheet and enter the amount of time (weeks, months, years) that you expect your print product to work for you. A major plus of print is that it doesn't really expire. Next, plug in the amount of money that you've invested in your new products and then track your revenues in a separate column to see how your marketing alters them.
Now, you're going to add your negative, which is what you paid for your product, to your positive, which is how much money you're earning because of it. This number is called a "new cash flow," according to Entrepreneur. Typically your ROI is determined by dividing how much you made by how much you invested and you'll get a ratio.
3. Turn threats into allies
Finally, the group of students agreed that print has to start becoming a lover and not a fighter. This suggestion should come as no surprise as journalism professors all over the country are preaching convergence as the new j-school buzzword. Companies that offer print products should also blog and vice versa. It's the true way to reach everyone. Pew found that 13 percent of Americans still don't use the Internet, which means marketers have to look beyond strictly using Web or print channels.
To get ahead, companies should try to join forces with digital counterparts to advance. This could be particularly useful when it comes to measuring ROI. Include a QR code on your flyers and catalogs so that people can scan them and immediately navigate to your website. That'll give you an idea of how many people are buying through your catalog. It'll also be more convenient for your clients.
Print companies that adhere to these millennials' suggestions might find themselves in better positions than their competitors. Giving the young generation what they want worked out pretty well for other industries.