Hooray for Kellie Northwood, Executive Director of TSA Limited which runs Two Sides Australia (environmental campaigns) and VoPP (effectiveness campaigns) for the paper and print industry. Kellie has loads of experience and her writing is backed by research. She’s fed up with the pervasive lack of confidence in the industry about the future of print. Instead, she encourages people to stick to their guns, do the research and talk up the benefits with customers. We dig her attitude!

By Kellie Northwood.

Whether an industry event, a training session or a meeting, as I journey throughout the print industry, I find myself twitching when I hear some people talk in a way that concerns me. A voice that can become more powerful and more concerning than declining industry metrics, government cut-backs and site closures – I twitch when I hear a lack of confidence. Nervous comments over whether there will be a print industry in ten years, five years or three years. Fear over whether people will have the skills to work in the industry. A lack of confidence that print has no value and more.

Some fears have merit – with print companies folding we can be concerned as to our future employment prospects. With a communications revolution we can also be guaranteed that our industry has and will continue to change over the years ahead. However fears concerning print’s value, relevance and future prospects carry no weight with me. As an industry we must stop focussing on each other and start focussing on print as an effective, cost-efficient and powerful media channel.

A media channel that offers greater return on investment (ROI) than Online, TV and Radio. Is reported by the largest research companies across Australia – Roy Morgan Research, Neilsen, and GfK to name a few – as the strongest performer in effectiveness and influence surveys. Surveys that deliver consistent high-performance results across all socio-economic and age demographics and reveal print is the most trusted, credible and reliable. Print is also the most sustainable media channel from carbon footprint, renewable raw materials and industry initiatives over TV, Radio, Digital and Email.

No need to gain confidence from me, the research and data supports everything I am saying – Roy Morgan reports ‘Heavy print media users are more likely to be above average income earners, better educated and big spenders’. Music to marketer’s ears. Roy Morgan continue, ‘Print media continues to be the dominant media channel among those who are asked for advice on a range of product and service categories’.

Psychology reports continue to reinforce the strength of print when retaining messaging – brand awareness is stronger when communicated via print and commercial communication is most effective via paper and print. Your customer’s need to have these conversations not ones forecasting the industry’s doom and gloom. If we as an industry believe our industry has no merit then how can we expect our customers to invest valuable marketing budgets in print?

When asked are printers doing enough? My advice is to stick to your guns, declare proudly that print is still king, gather the research, collate the case studies and take them out to every sales call, every cross-media event, tag them to your websites, brochures and other marketing initiatives. When your real competitors – TV, Radio, Digital, Outdoor – talk to their customers they do not focus on who has the best camera equipment, microphones or ADSL line. They talk about one thing – results. They talk to their prospects about the effectiveness of TV, the ROI of Digital and so on. It’s time we do the same and start reclaiming some of the precious marketing dollars our industry may have lost in recent years. Trust me, the research and data will back you up.

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