Cross-media offerings may not help every printing business increase workloads, but no stone should be left unturned in the hunt for opportunities. Cross Media 2012 might have just what you're looking for
In some ways, Cross Media 2012 has made its mark before it has even started. Last month, the fledgling exhibition for cross-media services acquired its rival MediaPro, attracting much publicity and comment.
"I think the MediaPro deal came as a surprise to some in the market, but we had kept our eye on it for a while," explains Nick Craig Waller, marketing director at Informa Print Group, which runs the show. "In some ways, we were punching above our weight – a launch show acquiring its close competitor – but it has put us in a really good place. We are in a very strong position with our offering."
Craig Waller reveals that at the time of writing, just over a quarter of the MediaPro exhibitors had migrated to Cross Media 2012, while there was already some crossover with some exhibitors signed up to both shows. In terms of exhibition space, 98% was sold with a month still to go and Craig Waller expects the pre-registrations for visitors to hit 4,000 by the start of proceedings. The Business Design Centre in London will, then, be a-buzz with cross-media aficionados and those that are curious to find out more. However, these numbers will not be just made up of printers.
"The audience will be mixed. We will have printers, but we will also have a marketing audience and publishers," says Craig Waller. "So although we have Canon, Ricoh, Fujifilm, Adare, Precision Printing and Communisis exhibiting, we also have massive players in other markets such as Silverpop, market leader in email campaigns and social media consultancy, we have Click2, Vertical Leap, MediaWide. I would say that it is 50-50 print-related mediums to others."
Many printers will ask why they would want to attend an event not solely dedicated to print. Well, it will be a way for some to become the true marketing services providers (MSPs) that a few of the bigger printers have already transformed into.
"If you look at what I call the ‘bigger printers’ – Communisis, Adare, St Ives or Precision Printing and their ilk – they are changing from being a PSP to an MSP and so they certainly understand what cross-media is and what it is about," says Craig Waller. "What we need to do, though, is ensure we are communicating with the SMEs as well. Here you have guys who have always put ink on paper and we need to show them that cross-media is an opportunity not a threat.
"My hope is that by getting the bigger printers like Adare explaining in the seminar programmes what it is they are doing and how they have done it, the smaller printers can take practical advice home and apply the knowledge they gain to their business. We fully realise that for some SMEs, cross-media is intimidating because they think it is going to require substantial investment, but partnerships can be a really affordable route that does not have to be a massive expense and they can make those discoveries and meet those partners at Cross Media 2012."
However, becoming an MSP is not something all printers desire, yet Gary Peeling, managing director of Precision Printing, says that to be a successful printer in the future, a realisation of print’s place in the wider spectrum is still essential.
"Success in the cross-media field will not always end up being about single companies offering everything from one place – no one can do it all and by the time you think you can, it’s changed anyway – it will be about being able to collaborate and integrate what we do, so that printing can take part seamlessly," he explains. "We don’t all need to be MSPs, but we do need to learn to integrate and identify where and how printing can add value."
Precision will be demonstrating its fully integrated print solution, OneFlow, specifically demonstrating how printed products can add benefit to cross-media and social campaigns, especially when they are triggered from real-time data. According to Peeling, whether you know it or not, if you’re a printer, the reality is that you are already part of the cross-media landscape.
"We are all in cross-media. Our products are already being used in multimedia campaigns. If printers want to see how best to play along, they should go," he advises.
Ricoh UK value proposition manager for production print Gareth Parker agrees that printers need to wake up to the cross-media reality. Ricoh will be showing its Print and Beyond concept that it took to Drupa, which centres on web-to-print and cross-media integration tools, plus the InfoPrint range of solutions. Parker says printers of any size need to embrace tools like this to secure a position in the market.
"There are clear market trends that indicate cross-media is likely to play a dominant role in the future," he says. "And, through strategic partnerships and advanced technology, most print businesses can integrate other communications media into their portfolio and maintain their key position in the marketing supply chain."
What is perhaps making the need for this realisation more pressing is the fact that European printers are already catching on. Canon, for example, is bringing printers from the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Norway to see a number of products such as new technology around Direct Smile, the social media aspects of Taopix, DocuMobi technology and "a number of applications and use cases to demonstrate the practical side of cross-media". The crux of the Canon strategy is, as with Ricoh, to show that cross-media is not something reserved for the bigger printers, something the Europeans have realised already.
"The ambition is that there should not be any barriers to entry," says Antony White, European and UK professional print product business developer at Canon Europe. "We have a few companies across the EU where a business of fewer than 15 people is still very heavily into cross-media. Over the next six months, I think we will see cross-media become even more accessible, it will be key for printers going forwards."
Canon is also involved in the seminar side of the event, sponsoring the Print And Innovation Theatre. Craig Waller says that, increasingly, the seminar and knowledge aspect of any event is becoming more important.
"In this day and age, we have to be realistic that not everyone who comes through the door is going to buy something, so we have to cater for everyone," he explains. "Where we would like to come from is that we can be a thought leader. We have some amazing brands working with us on our seminars, the likes of Microsoft, Sony, MTV, British Gas, Heinz – the list goes on. We need to give something back to our visitors. "
Cross Media 2012 is certainly attempting to do that on a grand scale with a number of different theatres packed full of talks. There is the Cross-media Theatre, two Digital and Direct Marketing Theatres, the Print and Innovation Theatre, the Publishing Strategies Theatre and the Creative Theatre. Discussions scheduled include ‘the joined-up customer experience’; ‘future of print in the marketing mix’; ‘using mobile technology’; ‘monetising content across multiple platforms’; and ‘digital design for enhances usability’.
"It is all about the customer journey – how can we provide the printer with the tools and the understanding that cross-media is not just this mystical word – it is about looking how a business can transform and grow and how a business can reposition itself," says Craig Waller of the combination of the above seminars and of the exhibitor line-up. "The problem printers tend to have is to work out what staff or what kind of services you have to offer to make the marketer’s job so much easier – something that would mean more work in the direction of that printer."
Everyone should aim for more business to the printer. Whether cross-media is ultimately the route to achieving that is, of course, a matter of opinion. Still, no stone should be left unturned as a potential opportunity. Attending Cross Media 2012 should be a way for printers to make an informed decision on cross-media – rather than a reactionary one.
Date 3-4 September
Opening times Monday 10am-5.30pm; Tuesday 10am-5pm
Address Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH
Travel information Within walking distance of Angel Tube station and only minutes from King’s Cross and Euston, the event is serviced by numerous bus routes (4, 19, 30, 34, 38, 43, 56, 73) and is conveniently located outside the Congestion Charge zone. The venue benefits from on-site car parking, an adjacent Hilton Hotel and has full access for those with disabilities
Tickets Online pre-registration for the event is now live. Go to
www.crossmedialive.com/register to pre-register for free entry to the show and the seminar theatres
Key exhibitors Canon, Ricoh, Adobe, BPIF, Dalim, DirectSmile, Fujifilm,