That Place Where Print Meets Technology

 

No surprise: traditional printers, by definition, print — on something. It might be paper or plastic or some kind of convertible substrate for a point-of-purchase display. In contrast, technology-driven companies use data and apps to create online, interactive customer experiences.

Oftentimes, this duality is portrayed as either/or. Printers clamor to defend their craft with “Why Print is Not Dead” LinkedIn posts while digital companies hold up the Internet of Things as being the only game in town.

The whole print versus digital discussion is moot. It is a short-sided view equating to a solution of “this or that.” There’s no value in that offering.

Your customer dictates the right and best strategy. In almost all cases, this means a thoughtful, measurable blending of both print and digital.

We have chosen this topic for Fuse’s first blog because the amalgam of print and technology was a shared vision of three companies who sought to deliver a fuller solution, not an either/or solution. We could not fully hit our mark as individual entities so we combined forces in 2016. Together as one team, we adopted “where print meets technology” as our motto. The meaning behind these words comes, not from some internal creative session, but from our customers.

We’ve seen the hybrid of print and technology result in the smarter delivery of automation, elevating print communication to online platforms, and, without fail, prompt deep ideation centered around two small but important words: what if.  

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Print and technology, together, changes the conversation for companies who want to make a difference in how they deepen their relationships with their customers and in all the ways those audiences stay connected to their brand and messaging.

For most marketers, that conversation is riddled with questions: How do those we engage consume information? What’s our customer journey? What triggers buying decisions? How will our brand show up? How do we create brand loyalists? How do we create a collaborative culture? 

Again, we go back to audience.

A working parent hurriedly leaves the house, orders their coffee via an app, and picks it up in-store on the way to the office. There, we see technology streamlining a daily routine. But we also see print come into play. The images and witty phrases on the cup connects the consumer with the brand as they take that first sip. The logo on the paper bag is the “plate” for the blueberry muffin sitting on the passenger side seat.

Or what about the teenager who tears open the packaging of a new video game console. She follows the instructions on a printed voucher to join the branded gamer community online. Without thought, print transitions that gamer into a digital experience. Win-win.

Where print meets technology is a power play for B2B organizations too. The regional director of a national association needs to order last minute conference collateral — at 11 p.m. He logs in online to the association’s e-commerce site and orders branded memo pads, pens, and postcards. These items ship the next day. Storefront technology as a communications hub has endless possibilities to connect salespeople, franchisees, nonprofits, regional offices and higher education campuses. Print and fulfillment on-demand collateral and communications accelerates time to market with customized products and messaging for an audience of one — all the while honoring brand integrity. Technology and print. Seamless. 

And then there’s the journey of data. CMO.com, the online magazine by Adobe, cites data-driven creativity as the top marketing differentiator in 2019. The article notes a study by Forrester Consulting that reveals 80% of business decision makers aim to improve the customer experience.  

Data is a compelling path to brand love. 

Like a self-driving car, data travels from customer list to marketing template to e-proof to digital printing, finishing, and off to mail fulfillment — with minimal physical interactions throughout the production process. The automation of this process extends far beyond the personalized mailer and creates opportunities for market sectors like quick service restaurants needing the production of market specific point-of-purchase materials and customized product promotions.  

All of these examples come to life, where print meets technology. It’s not either/or. Print and digital empower people to do more with greater meaning. Print and digital moves us forward. We see it every day at Fuse. For us, where print meets technology is our happy place.

So what does “where print meets technology” mean to you?

Will every one of our readers understand this jargon? I have no idea what “convertible” means here. I’m always leery of alienating people with industry terms unless it’s a technical piece OR we explain what the term means. One thing that came from our research is that we have a lot of educating to do with our audience. The grouping here is general (paper), general (plastic)and very specific (POP display). Do we want to convey that?

 
Charisse McAloon