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Barb Pellow: Combining print and new media

Published on January 31, 2011

Barb Pellow thinks combining print and new media work better together for savvy marketers.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi, Cary Sherburne and Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I’m here with Barb Pellow, who is my colleague and fellow WhatTheyThink contributor.  And you’ve really been a thought leader in the digital printing industry and now in the cross media industry and so why don’t you talk a little bit about the mix, how really print and new media are better working their work together.

Barb Pellow:  You know, we hear a lot of information from the printers that are just panicked about everything from Facebook to mobile marketing.  And I think what the savvy marketers are figuring out is that that combination of print and new media really do work better together. 

What we’re finding is that people are using direct mail to get people to text to win with specific offers and build up that mobile database.  We’re finding, and I’m going to give an example in my presentation today about hotels.com, where they actually use what they call virtual vacations and they link to that virtual vacation through a quick response code in print media.

And what we’re looking at when we see the market today, and what that savvy marketer is figuring out, is it’s not one media or another media, but synergistically using media together to get and engage that always-on consumer.

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  And so you do see a future for print as continue then?

Barb Pellow:  I think that what you’re going to find out is that over time, there are two things that are going to play together.  I will always have access to printed material, whether it’s a large format sign, it’s a piece of direct mail, it’s a catalog, and I’m going to have a mobile device and I better figure out how to make those two forms of portable media work better together.

Cary Sherburne:  And then how does the printer play a role in this then?

Barb Pellow:  The printer is going to need to understand mobile technology and print technology.  They’re going to have to understand how to take that SMS text information and blend it in and build it into the next campaign, or that response to a quick response code.  All those things are going to need to be an integral part of those offerings that a print service provider/now marketing services provider, delivers to customers.

Cary Sherburne:  And you know, the final question I have for you is, you know, we talk a lot about what Coca Cola is doing or what Amazon.com or Zappos, what these big names are doing, but there’s a huge opportunity in the small to mid-size business market, isn’t there?

Barb Pellow:  Yeah.  I would tell you that Info Trends has done a lot of work in the SMB market place and what you’re finding, and we surveyed about 2,500 small and medium business customers in a project I did with them, and what we found was that SMB, and there are 6.5 million of them that are non-micro businesses, wants to do the same things as that very, very large organization.  They want to do print, they want to do email, they want to do SMS texting, and they want to deliver integrated campaigns.

The other thing that I think is going to be very, very important, is that that print service provider that figures out how to aggregate the SMB volume to deliver multi-channel communications will also be tremendously successful.

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  Well, it’s a very challenging, but very exciting time to be in this business, isn’t it?

Barb Pellow:  I think it’s ripe with opportunities for the aggressive provider.

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great!  Thanks, Barb.

Barb Pellow:  Thanks, Cary.

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By Mary Beth Smith on Feb 02, 2011

Ladies, thank you for continuing to point this out.

We're all part of the greater discipline of communications, and it is to everyone's advantage to not engage in sibling rivalry. Over the last century, radio, movies and television learned to live together and cross-promote to the benefit of the marketplace.

In our corner of the communications industry, we now have the wonderful opportunity to expand what we're able to offer our customers by embracing the media mix in a way that, once again, will be to the benefit of the marketplace and, by extension, to our companies.

100 years ago, there were people who questioned whether or not they should wire their homes and businesses for electricity. There were also those who wired, but ignored the step of learning HOW to do it, resulting in obvious problems.

As printers, we have to 'wire up' now - but we put our efforts at risk if we don't learn how to do it properly. Investing in the learning curve is well worth the effort, and is going to result in a wonderful new-media world for all of us!

Mary Beth Smith
Dallas, TX


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