Andrew Brown, public affairs adviser, BPIF
What do you think will be the greatest opportunity for and threat to the print industry next year?
The main 'threat' will continue to be the substitution of print by electronic media such as e-books, electronic catalogues and directories, e-marketing campaigns, and web-based magazines and periodicals. But opportunities will also continue to be available to those printers who invest in technologies that enable them to become multi-channel content producers who can integrate web and print solutions. Harnessing innovative processes, such as printable electronics, for example, will also be important. But to remain successful, printers cannot afford to lose their focus on improving efficiency and cutting waste – especially against a backcloth of high raw materials and energy costs.
What do you believe is the most under-recognised aspect in printing that is likely to gain more prominence in 2012?
One aspect that is so often under-recognised is print’s effectiveness in engaging people’s attention. Research has shown that advertising in print is twice as effective as on television for retailers, while catalogues and customer magazines allow brands to engage with customers for up to 25 minutes per session. Door-to-door media also offer impressive recall and activation rates (47% and 32% increase respectively over the average media. Print is accessible, portable, tactile, environmentally-friendly, and integrates well with other communications media. As the Print Power campaign gathers momentum across Europe and beyond, this message will be reaching more and more buyers of communications media.
What do you hope to get out of Drupa 2012?
Deliverable inkjet engines for mainstream commercial printing that printers can afford to invest in and start producing print with; the first digital colour press that consistently has no 'banding' effects; realisable economic PDF workflows for the medium size printer; and colour-management unified from offset to digital and back again.
What can the industry do to increase its profile next year?
We can continue to get across to customers and the general public that print is an environmentally sustainable communications medium: the Two Sides website does a great job of exploding the myths and greenwash directed at our industry. We can work with schools though initiatives such as PrintIT! to show young people how print offers a clean, creative and stimulating work option. And by keeping close to customers and taking time to understand their needs, we can ensure that they are fully aware of the range of marketing solutions that our industry can deliver for them, and the value that these can add to their businesses.
What will you do differently next year?
I will continue to support the BPIF in a consulting capacity as its public affairs adviser, lobbying government and other decision-makers on key concerns affecting our industry. What we are doing more and more nowadays, though, is working with other organisations that have similar concerns to us. We are working with other manufacturing trade bodies through the Associate Parliamentary Manufacturing Group to lobby on cross-sectoral issues, and we recently joined with the Forum of Private Businesses and others in a letter to Business Minister Mark Prisk, highlighting the need to action to tackle late payment of commercial debts.