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Print is Good. So What? Print is Intimidating. That Matters.

Dr. Joe went to lunch and heard a three-word sentence that changed his Graph Expo and his industry conversations thereafter. When he said those three words, jaws would drop, but curiosity would rise. The three words? “Print is Intimidating.” And we always thought we were being nice. Find out why in Dr. Joe's column.


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About Dr. Joe Webb

Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink's Economics and Research Center.


By Robert Lindgren on Nov 28, 2016

Print is invasive--that's why it's a necessary of every marketing campaign. Websites are great but they can't reach out and touch their audience, they're dependent on being reached. emails are almost free, but they're eaten by spam filters and delete buttons. Print will get unto increasingly uncluttered mailboxes and be seen. We agree that it's the print community's challenge to get this reality into the minds of 30 somthings, to get them to see the power of graphics and personalization. That's what the Choose Print campaign and www.chooseprint.org is all about. Also, don't forget the power of packaging to say "buy me" when it's on the shelf in the big box store.


By Joe Webb on Nov 29, 2016

It's pretty clear that print is not a necessary part of every marketing campaign, and that websites are reachable by their audiences, and more so with every smartphone purchased. E-commerce is still growing 15% or more each year, and all other retail sales channels are declining, some, like department stores, for decades. The email situation is not as meaningful as it used to be since social media and special retail apps direct to consumers are very very effective. Already, for example, Starbucks sales are 25% use their phone apps, and that's only headed higher. If print was still necessary, it would not have declined by more than half on a per capita basis over the last 20 years. Google's market capitalization is $540 billion, Amazon's is $364 billion, and Facebook's is $345. Based on 20x earnings in late 1999, the value of the US commercial printing industry would have been about $330 billion. Today it is about $54 billion, about a -85% decline. That doesn't seem as necessary as it used to be. The media rules are far different now and so are the decision-makers and the consumers. We need to engage them on their terms and to enhance their ways.



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