If you didn’t know any better it would be easy to make a conclusion that innovation in marketing and promotion is limited to the Internet and social media. Technology is interesting, it’s sexy and it comes at us fast and furiously. True to form, the marketing world has continued to evolve along with – and at times drive – innovations in digital technology. Marketing has always been at the cusp of and the force behind media technology, even those that are today considered old-fashioned. Yes, there was a time when printing was considered high tech, and of course marketers flocked to it and pushed it to new limits.
Although it may seem like all eyes are on digital evolution, printed communication, believe it or not, is still evolving and still pushing new limits. For marketers that haven’t been blinded by the glow of the latest mobile screen technology that’s good news! Printed communication continues to offer an opportunity for creativity that goes beyond visual to physical. There’s no scratch and sniff on an iPad! Just as digital media did in its early years, printing now provides a manner in which a message can stand out and be seen in a way that’s not expected. And, on top of that, the latest offerings of the print marketplace are a unique chance to be innovative.
Print Innovations Available to Marketers
The printing and graphic communications industry is rapidly witnessing a change. We may not be printing the same things as we used to, but there is still a ton of printing being done for the purposes of marketing, branding and promotion. New materials, processes and capabilities have changed the look of what rolls off printing presses to the point that it might not be immediately identifiable printing in the traditional sense.
Printing industry innovations abound. Not only do marketers and designers have access to new materials and processes; those that were prohibitively expensive in the past, like unique stocks, complex cutting and folding, non-traditional inks and even holographic and lenticular printing, are more affordable and accessible than ever. In addition, utilization of various virtual tools, such as near field communication, augmented reality and scanning technologies bring printed and digital marketing communications together in harmony.
Whether it’s in design, production, post production or distribution; the advances available in the marketplace mean that printed communication should be anything but stagnant. The time has come for brochures, billboards, packaging materials, point of sale displays, and all other forms of print marketing to rise to new levels of creativity, appeal and impact. All it takes is knowledge of what’s available and how to access it. Of course that can be tricky.
Accessing Innovations in Printed Communication
It may well be that, because today’s innovative printing is so far removed from what has been common for so long, we simply don’t recognize it as printing. That’s not surprising since you don’t generally see too many headlines proclaiming the latest and greatest from an industry that so many have unfortunately written off. The question, then, that comes to mind is how exactly do you go about discovering what’s new and available to you in the way of printed communication?
For one, having access to a broad range of vendors, is helpful. Sometimes you need to break free from what is comfortable to understand the opportunities that lie beyond. That’s not to say that you need to scrap the years of good service that you’ve received from your current printer. It’s just that if you keep doing what you’ve always done, you won’t give yourself the opportunity to bring your printed marketing materials up to the latest and greatest.
Another step to consider is the way you are buying your marketing materials. If you are locked into long term contracts or even buying off of an established rate card, you are basically stuck with the same processes, same formats, same sizes, same stocks and the same old materials that the contract or rate schedule was based upon. Interestingly enough, you may even find that changing things up and taking advantage of newer, more efficient production technologies can even save you some money.