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Commentary & Analysis

NPES Responds to Print United Announcement

Many in the industry were surprised by this week’s announcement by SGIA and NAPCO about the launch of a reinvented SGIA Expo called PRINT United, designed to draw in more segments of the print market, including commercial print, publishing, 3D printing and more. I had a long conversation with Thayer Long of NPES, the organizers of two longstanding events, PRINT and GRAPH EXPO, to understand the organization’s reaction. Long was kind enough to provide a statement.

By Cary Sherburne
Published: October 12, 2017

Many of us wondered what the NPES, the industry’s vendor based association, reaction would be to the SGIA/NAPCO PRINT United announcement released on October 10th, the first day of the SGIA Expo. I had the opportunity to speak to Thayer Long, NPES CEO, following the announcement. He didn’t have much to say directly about the announcement, as he is focused on his own organization’s direction, strategy and purpose in transforming itself, its events and its efforts on behalf of the industry.

One of those strategies which I believe is very important is the partnership between NPES and the CMO Council to draw in the perspective of the brands – after all, they drive the spend that brings revenue to our industry! And it is not secret that the role of print has changed significantly with the emergence of digital alternatives of all kinds. But based on research I have been reading and other sources, the pendulum is beginning to swing back – not that the role of print will ever again be what it was in the past, but simply that marketers are re-examining the role and value of physical communications, whether it be point-of-purchase materials, packaging or any other printed content. That’s good news for the industry, but also a cautionary tale, since we can’t continue to do what we have always done and expect to be successful in a dynamically changing environment. That’s why this partnership with the CMO Council is so important.

NPES and the CMO Council will be conducting a round table discussion next week with about 25 brand owners and 30 of his members. Long has promised to share insight from that discussion with our readers, and we are looking forward to that.

Meanwhile, here is the statement from Thayer Long following the PRINT United announcement:

On a very macro level, what this announcement demonstrates is that industry change leaves no one untouched. Many, including the industry related media companies, are being forced to seek new revenue opportunities.

Digging deeper, as part of its own transformation in 2017, NPES, which is a vendor based (manufacturer and supplier) organization, created a very data driven and industry-centric strategy, focused very heavily on the premise that manufacturers and suppliers need more, not less, interaction and visibility with their supply chain partners and prospective customers.

As the organizer of the only vendor-driven/ print industry focused events, which include GRAPH EXPO and PRINT (and especially after coming off a very awesome PRINT17 event just concluded in Chicago) NPES will continue to focus on helping industry members grow their business, it’s just that simple. Therefore, we measure the success of events for vendors and attendees by delivering on that promise, and not the number of nor the size of the events. We are also not tone deaf, and are constantly looking, evolving, and changing how we do it. So stay tuned, print world!

In addition, as a non-profit organization, all the proceeds of NPES events go 100% back into programs and services to support important and necessary industry-wide initiatives. 

We are an 84-year old company acting like a startup.

We look forward to building on our legacy by helping our print world keep rockin’!

Cary Sherburne is a well-known author, journalist and marketing consultant whose practice is focused on marketing communications strategies for the printing and publishing industries.

Cary Sherburne is available for speaking engagements and consulting projects. To get more information contact us.

Please offer your feedback to Cary. She can be reached at cary@whattheythink.com.

 

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