In times of transition, there are setbacks and opportunities. I have had the advantage of perspective over the last 6 months – stepping back and looking at the really big picture of how communication is changing. It’s the change in communication channels that is the underlying force behind the radical changes in the print industry.
With perspective, my outlook has changed on this transition. Yes, there is and will continue to be disruption, but there is an unbelievable amount of opportunity for those printers who want to embrace the change rather than defend against it. I don’t accept the statements, “we don’t have the skill set to move into the digital economy” or “we don’t have the money to invest in the new technologies.” These are merely excuses because radical change is unsettling.
The reality is – nobody has all the skills because the “experts” in these new channels are about two months ahead of everyone else. Because things are moving so fast, expertise is built in weeks not decades. I think it’s no longer relevant to start every conversation with “I’ve been doing X for XX of years.” Just remember that, the experts are 2 months ahead of you, that’s all. The technologies are almost free so that’s not a valid excuse, the digital economy’s infrastructure is racing towards the radical price of free – jump on and leverage every bit of it because you can’t remain isolated and stay competitive.
In times of transition and disruption, our inclination is to buckle down and work harder – just the opposite of what we need to do. Please pull your head out of day to day emergencies and look up and out because working harder will not get you through this transition. It’s not just working smarter either – it’s working in a very different capacity for your customers. Remaining a passive manufacturer of print products will not sustain your business in the long run.
I have been invited to present at WhatTheyThink’s Print CEO Forum, October 2-3 in Chicago. I don’t believe I can teach you anything, yes you read that correctly. Taking notes on what I say will not change anything about your business. Change only happens if I convince you to “want to learn.” My job as a presenter is to show you where to direct your most precious resource – “time” and help you understand the context of this transition, along with providing strategies for moving through it. It will be your job to learn and apply the guidance provided.
The digital economy is the big picture of this transition. There are point solutions that get too much air time in our industry like web to print, marketing service provider, etc… At the Print CEO Forum I intend to pull back and look at how to transition your offline business to an online business and fully participate in the digital economy with your existing print products and eventually extending your communication products to pure digital products (e-mail marketing, multi channel marketing campaigns, etc…).
The transition starts with a plan for how you will participate in the digital ecosystem which today consists of your web site(s), ecommerce, search, social media (your level of engagement with your customers), etc… A holistic view is one that you can understand and most importantly communicate with your team; the alternative is incremental unconnected steps that will leave everyone confused.
I would like to invite print executives who are looking for a holistic approach to building their online business to attend the Print CEO Forum. Perspective requires that you step out of your day to day lives and reflect on where you’ve been, where you are today, and where you want to be tomorrow. A weekend in Chicago with peers and a group of independent industry thinkers is an excellent venue to raise the level of your thinking above tactics to the strategic direction required in these turbulent times.
I hope to see you all there. Register here