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Infotrends's Barb Pellow's Observation on Graphic Communication Trends

Published on March 13, 2012

Richard Romano and Barb Pellow from Infortrends discuss the upcoming trends of 2012 at how this year's drupa could affect that outcome.

Richard Romano:  Hi.  This is Richard Romano from WhatTheyThink.com and we’re here in New Orleans, Louisiana, at the 2012 GUA Annual Conference.  And we’re talking with Barb Pellow an analyst for Infotrends.  Thank you for joining us.

Barb Pellow:  Hey thanks, Richard.

Richard Romano:  What are some of the top trends that you and Infotrends have been following in the graphic communications industry?

Barb Pellow:  I think there’s three or four things that everybody needs to be cognizant of as we look forward at 2012.  I think the first thing is it’s a year of inkjet and while 2008 was called the Inkjet Drupa, I think 2012 is the Inkjet Drupa on steroids.  And I think the big thing about the inkjet revolution-evolution is that there’s going to be a renewed focus on applications.  I think we heard a lot about it at the GUA this morning where people are going to focus on publishing.  They’re going to focus on direct mail, transaction documents, and packaging.  And they’re going to leverage inkjet technologies to deliver those applications cost-effectively.  

I think the next big thing in the market is really cross-media communications, and this is going to be a year when we’re going to see people combine media into integrated campaigns like never before.  You’re going to see a drive to blend print, mobile, social, and online into campaigns that truly deliver results.  The successful service provider is going to have to comprehend how to participate in that value chain.

Richard Romano:  Now what are some concrete examples of companies who are starting to develop these types of integrated campaigns?

Barb Pellow:  I think you’re seeing a number of firms that have really embraced the challenge of cross-media.  I think about the Ace Group who did large format signage for Calvin Klein with quick response codes.  I look in Detroit at organizations like what used to be SugarBush Printing and is now SugarBush Media who are delivering marketing solutions.  I look at Tukaiz out of Chicago.  All of these companies have embraced the concept of print blended with social, mobile, and online.

Richard Romano:  Now what do GUA members, what should they know about these sort of integrated campaigns in order to sort of help take their businesses to the next level?

Barb Pellow:  Well, I think the focus that GUA has cut across a blend of commercial, digital, and packaging.  And our view at Infotrends is that cross-media is going to transcend all of those applications.  I did a session on packaging this morning.  Well, we’re seeing packages created that have augmented reality game boards on them.  We’re seeing large format signage with QR Codes so that I can capture somebody’s interest at the point of purchase.  We’re seeing packaging with QR Codes that I can scan the label and get a discount when I check out.  All of these technologies are going to come together.  And what we’re really seeing is that print is going to be not just part of but an essential ingredient to any cross-media campaign.  And it really will be print, social, mobile, and online, all of those channels working together.  And that’s what the GUA members need to take away.

Richard Romano:  Now have you had any experience with mobile-to-print applications and how would that be of use to GUA members?

Barb Pellow:  First of all, the mobile-to-print side of it we see as a big, big business opportunity.  I think if you look at what you’re carrying with you today—you’ve got your cell phone, your wallet, and your car keys.  And when that’s what everybody has when they leave the house, well what they encounter is a sign; they go to a grocery store they encounter a package.  I can blend that mobile technology with the printed package or the large format sign to take advantage of an offer, a discount.  I could text to win something if it was posted on a sign.  So those things will come together very quickly.

You’re also seeing catalogues where I can point and click on a quick response code to place an order.  All of those things will make print and mobile work well together.

Richard Romano:  Now what about so-called mobile-to-print applications where you can sort of upload mobile phone pictures to a print server and then send custom-printed postcards or greeting cards like Apple’s iCards application?

Barb Pellow:  We’re seeing—we’re seeing a fair amount of that.  I did a couple of articles, actually for WhatTheyThink, and one of the people that we featured was a company called Shoot-It where I could take a picture at an event.  I could link in my contact database, and I could text in a message, and that postcard would be delivered.  I think that’s a powerful application in today’s market, especially when you sit down—people love pictures, and so what a great way to tell people about what a fantastic vacation they’re  having.

Richard Romano:  Thank you very much for joining us.  

Barb Pellow:  Well, Richard, thanks for having me.  It’s good seeing you.

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By Clint Bolte on Mar 13, 2012

Cross media is surely a trend but it is not enabled by inkjet. It can be accomplished for a fraction of the investment cost of webfed inkjet.

And with the exception of transactional documents the vast majority of live inkjet is definitely analog not variable products. As a matter of fact when addresses and simple text mail merge is excluded from the digital variable (because we've been doing data addresses and mail merge DECADES before digital printing) the industry is not even close to the tipping point for variable versus analog digital printing.


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