If you had a southbound view down Lake Shore Drive this morning, you may have seen half-marathoners racing along the lakefront. Today also is opening Sunday for the 2013 National Football League season. Between the Chicago Bears-Cincinnati Bengals noon kickoff at nearby Soldier Field (listen and you’ll hear the raucous fans) and the long distance runners who took off from Jackson Park on the South Side, there is a lot going on in the Windy City on this late summer’s day.
September 8 also is Grandparents’ Day, a “Hallmark holiday” that bodes well for printed greeting cards. But let’s get one thing straight before halftime of the Bears’ home opener: This isnot your grandfather’s print industry, or even your uncle’s, for that matter. To prove it, let the quadrennial PRINT show begin! This edition of the industry event of the year (North America’s largest of its kind, by the way) is about more than print media in 2013—more so than ever before, according to Ralph Nappi, President of show manager the Graphic Arts Show Company (GASC). (SeeNappi’s complete interview below.) There are big online and mobile presences on the show floor this week, to be sure. (See sidebar.)
Make no mistake: Ink and/or toner on paper and other substrates are here, too, of course— all kinds of print—offset, digital, inkjet, flexo, and hybrid. For a full breadth of converting, label, and package printing exhibitors, technologies, and offerings, PRINT attendees can walk the co-located Converting & Package Printing (CPP) Expo. And the Future Print pavilion, sponsored by FlexTech Alliance,returns, featuring today’s hottest technologies such as printed electronics, radio frequency identification, and 3D printing.
For a large-format print focus, there is the new “BIG” Wide Format Pavilion sponsored by the International Sign Association (ISA). “ISA is excited to partner with GASC to provide relevant information on the growing sign industry,” comments Lori Anderson, ISA President and CEO.” This partnership will enable both organizations to reach out beyond our existing customers to help the industry grow and prosper.”
With the involvement and resources of ISA, print professionals from sign and display shops have their own “one stop shop” here at the show. Meanwhile, commercial printers can learn about the latest applications and opportunities in wide format direct from industry “gurus” in the Ask the Expert station sponsored by The Big Picture magazine. For the next five days, education ISA Innovation and Application Theater will focus on new entries and veterans in the sign market with individualized guidance on why and how to diversify and grow their business into signs/displays. See the technology in action in the Inkjet Candy Store and at other locations throughout the show floor.
“The growth in co-located events and special-interest pavilions at PRINT 13 means that the diversity of showgoers will be greater than ever,” says Hal Hinderliter, coordinator of the MUST SEE ’EMS program, which has responded to that change by adding additional judges to its selection committee. “We’ve grown to a roster of 32 experts in the fields of newspapers, packaging, flexography, gravure, design, and other specialties.”
Hinderliter adds that this broad spectrum of knowledge gave him the confidence to encourage many first-time entrants for 2013. “As a result, we enjoyed our highest-ever number of entrants—141, an increase of 28% from last year—as well as our largest number of participating vendors. I’m proud to say that these efforts were not in vain,” he continued. “The 2013 MUST SEE ’EMS include quite a few smaller companies with exciting new products. This year also saw our first flexo winner, as well as a UV coating, a retrofit curing module, technology for the newspaper, packaging, and mailing industries and several small-format digital printers.”
Competition organizers and judges also responded to the ever-evolving technology landscape with the creation of three new categories and made a name change to better define another category. Three “Finishing” categories have been combined into one “Postpress and In-Line Finishing” category. Two new categories have been split off from the “Prepress” category; they are: “Color Management and Quality Control” and “Variable, Transactional, and Multi-Channel.” Finally, the name of the “Future Print” category has been updated to “The Future of Print: Technology Demonstrations.” (See additional MUST SEE ’EMS coverage on page 4.)
Simple Multichannel Marketing
Visit the Xerox and XMPie booth (1202) to learn how to prepare data and implement effective cross-media campaigns, not all of which need to be complex. One example, conducted by Time Magazines Europe, employed the simple addition of an online, personalized uniform resource locator (PURL) to its printed subscription notices, which are mailed to millions of prospects in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America.
U.K. firm Latcham Direct assisted in enhancing Time’s traditional subscription method, which had relied on customers completing and mailing order forms through the postal system. This process was time consuming and costly and did not always provide the optimum experience for new subscribers. The answer was in creating an online subscription process using cross-mediapowered by XMPie solutions. With XMPie’s PersonalEffect system and uProduce Marketing Console, Latcham Direct executed a tightly coordinated campaign that spanned multiple channels and improved the customer experience, with precise marketing analytics tools thatallow for real-time monitoring of campaign results.
The campaign was launched by distributing a mailing pack consisting of a subscription solicitation letter, loyalty card, flyer, and return envelope, all produced on Xerox 525 Continuous Laser Printers. Each subscription letter led recipients to a personalized landing page where they could subscribe online to Time magazine, if that was their preference. Throughout the campaign, Latcham Direct monitored results and statistics. “XMPie allowed us to develop and manage a complex cross-media campaign through all stages and provide the client with a demonstrable return on investment in real-time, using the Marketing Console,” praised Account Director Garry Ford.
Results have far exceeded Time Magazines Europe’s goals. Thanks to the cross-media approach, 30 percent responded online. To date, the campaign has reached nearly 1.6 million potential subscribers in the U.K., with a conversion rate of nearly 75 percent for recipients who visited their PURL. The addition of the online ordering option via a PURL proved to be an asset for many reasons aside from boosting response rates. Sign-ups were completed faster and at a lower cost, as the delay caused by mailing back the order form and the expense of manually processing them were eliminated. From the customer perspective, the PURLs made ordering quicker and easier. Additional cycles of the campaign are planned through 2013. New features are in development on the use of the PURL and metrics available through the Marketing Console to drive additional sales from visitors who don’t make a purchase.