Two Sides summed up its Print Power conference in London last week with a press release saying “Wow What a day!”. And for the first time since the event began half a dozen years ago, this optimism feels right. Previously there has been an attitude that we had gathered to comfort each other against the digital onslaught. Print was defending its role. This time the whole event simply felt more upbeat.
For a couple of years it has been clear that ebooks were not about to kill off printed books. Now that is spreading to other types of print, direct mail, marketing collateral and more. Print achieves cut-through against the digital noise; print is trusted while digital is not; print engages through touch as well as sight. And so on. A new day is coming. This does not mean print is going to recapture mass markets, but it has a valid role alongside and as part of the digital media mix.
Of course this may be a false dawn. Despite the clear advantages of ink and paper, agencies have committed so much to digital, to targeted messaging and more, that to admit that digital is not that effective is so damaging to their self belief that they will continue to deny what is now clear: print has real power. If they can’t acknowledge this, printers need to keeping driving the message home. Price is important. But engagement is worth more.