The Power of Print and 1 Big Roadblock to Innovation

Maybe it was the mountain air, and my getting used to it. But seeing some cool technology at work, hearing about how it results in eye-catching work, and thinking about the possibilities for print and direct mail … well, it can leave you a little breathless.

I’ll explain.

In November, I had the privilege of attending and speaking at Ricoh’s first Engagement Marketing Executive Symposium, held in Boulder, Colorado.

The event brought together experts, executives, and customers from various parts of the printing and direct mail ecosystem. Together, we talked about strategies, tactics, and tools that can help create relevant, measurable, and state-of-the-art multichannel campaigns.

And a guided tour of the company’s Customer Experience Center gave us all a close-up look at its latest inkjet press capabilities. It’s impressive and powerful stuff when you see people’s eyes light up as they see it in action, or review all kinds of crisp printed samples with near-offset quality.

Ricoh USA, Inc. logo. (PRNewsFoto/Ricoh USA, Inc.)
Ricoh USA, Inc. logo. (PRNewsFoto/Ricoh USA, Inc.)

Among the objectives of the conference was discussing and showing how data-driven print and direct mail can be an Important part of marketing, whether you call it multichannel, omnichannel, or whatever.

I saw and learned more in two days than I could have on my own in a few weeks. So, it’s hard to pick a most memorable moment or narrow a long list of lessons from other attendees that resonated with me.

Like Diana Baldwin of SunTrust Bank: “My best friends are the data guys.” I loved that.

But I think the biggest was the challenge most mentioned across the group, by both printers and marketers: getting buy-in.

To use new technologies that deliver more personalized offers in print, other people have to be convinced to make the investment. Marketers and PSPs have to be advocates, or evangelists for this cause.

It’s not easy. Resources like money, time, and personnel, are limited.

White papers and case studies help. So do statistics, especially on how millennials love print and direct mail because they’re tactile and durable. It’s all about demonstrating the value in engaging customers in a more relevant way, starting with this new equipment, and the right marketing strategy to go with it,

These are exciting times in our industry!

For much more on these topics, please check out the first Marketing Innovators magazine here. It includes valuable insights from thought leaders, and case studies on increasing customer engagement using the latest print and paper technologies.

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