Heritage Envelopes chief executive Mark Sears believes that printers need to adapt to the changing market and invest in the future to prosper.
What’s at the top of your Christmas wish list this year?
I would like to receive the planning permission for our new 40,000sqft (3,716sqm) factory extension.
What trend (business or technology) do you think 2015 will be remembered for?
Technology is emerging continually and 3D printing is an interesting development. Although this will not necessarily apply to envelope printing it could help develop how people think about print and direct marketing, which is becoming an important method of marketing.
What do you think will represent the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2016 and why?
I think the single biggest opportunity for printers in 2016 will be the increase in direct mail. It is becoming very clear that direct mail is by far the most effective way of advertising, therefore, generating more business.
What do you think will represent the single biggest threat for printers in 2016 and why?
I think the single biggest threat for printers in 2016 will be not adapting to the changing market. Not investing in the future, therefore, unable to move forward.
What’s the one thing that the industry should do more of, or do better, in 2016?
I think more time should be spent lobbying the local MPs and the government to help promote the industry. They need a better understanding of how big the industry is and how many jobs it supports. In the USA lobbying congress has had a massive positive effect on direct mail.
What was your biggest disappointment in 2015?
The impact caused by mailings being supressed following the concerns echoed in the press of ‘pressure tactics’ employed by some charities. I think that many charities who do good work and follow good practice have pulled back from direct marketing and suffered a downturn in donations as a result.
What was your highlight of 2015?
The highlight of 2015 for me was winning the FTA award for printed flexo envelopes in the USA, up against the whole industry in America. A fantastic achievement of which we are very proud.
What are your hopes for 2016?
My hopes for 2016 are for stable paper prices and overall stability in the envelope industry.
What was the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
The best piece of advice I have been given is "Always look forward, back is history".
What was the most important thing that you learnt in 2015?
Successful marketing campaigns require both internet marketing and direct mail working together.
What if anything will you do differently in 2016?
We all know how much more we feel valued when we receive personalised mail and, in my opinion, proportionately fewer greetings have been sent and received by mail, instead receiving e-greetings which often aren’t even opened and make you feel like you’re just another name on the database.
We will be communicating more with customers and the mailing industry to promote the use of direct mail which is an industry supporting many jobs in the mailing, manufacturing and print sectors.
If you’re thinking of going to Drupa next year, what are you keen to see?
At Drupa next year I would like to see the advancement of digital print.
What’s your favourite Christmas cracker joke?
"No matter how hard I try to move the envelope by telepathy, it remains stationery!"
What was the best Christmas present you ever received?
The best Christmas present I ever received was Christmas in Dubai with the family.
Are you making any New Year's resolutions? If so, what?
My New Year’s resolution is to ‘get into shape’ for my daughter’s wedding.