By: Toni McQuilken
It seems that social media is the buzz of most of the world. The chances are good that your marketing department is finding new and innovative ways to connect with readers through various social media platforms. But what about your printers?
Social media tends to be thought of, for businesses at least, as a way to try and sell products or information to end users. But it can and should be so much more. Print service providers are starting to realize the power of the social media realm, and this is something publishers should not only be aware of, but take advantage of, too.
LinkedIn, in particular, is a great place to find your printers. It is growing as a place where your printers are congregating to share information among themselves. And, it’s a good place for publishers to get educated, as well.
There are multiple LinkedIn groups that are geared toward print professionals, and some of them do have open membership. If you want to be more aware of what challenges printers are facing, or if you want somewhere you can go to ask questions, these groups are a great place to start. Don’t think of it as marketing, think of it as networking on a much wider scale than was possible in the past.
Next time you are on LinkedIn, do a search. There are currently 537 groups dedicated to various aspects of print production, with 21 of those focusing on offset print technologies, including digital offset.
The key is not to go in expecting it to lead to immediate returns. Getting to know not only your own printers, but the print community better will pay off long term as you become more knowledgeable about how the various processes work, and how each one affects your own publications. You will be able to make better decisions about what potential changes to make to your production, how the costs will vary, and what the end results will be, rather than having to rely on the explanations of your local printer alone. As publishers look for new ways to reach readers, knowing the print community better will give you a much wider range of not only ideas, but ways to accomplish them. Social media is the best tool for creating the networks you’ll need tomorrow.
PIA Addresses Federal Reserve, Patent Trolls
The Center for Print Economics and Market Research of Printing Industries of America (PIA) released a statement regarding the announcement of the Federal Reserve on monetary policy.
The Federal Reserve released the following statement: ‘Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in October indicates that economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. Labor market conditions have shown further improvement; the unemployment rate has declined but remains elevated. Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, while the recovery in the housing sector slowed somewhat in recent months. Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint may be diminishing. Inflation has been running below the Committee’s longer-run objective, but longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable.’
In its statement, PIA noted, “Based on these improved fundamentals, the Committee believes it is time to begin tapering purchases of mortgage backed securities and Treasury securities. Going forward they will purchase $35 billion of mortgage backed securities each month instead of $40 billion and $40 billion of Treasury securities instead of $45 billion. The market’s initial reaction to the news was extremely positive with the DOW increasing 292.71 or 1.84 percent on December 18. This is a positive signal to businesses that the Federal Reserve is becoming more confident that the economic situation in the U.S. is becoming more stable. We have not changed our forecast for economic growth (2.3% in 2014) or changes in Printing Industry Shipments (no growth in 2014), but this makes us more inclined to believe that there is an increased likelihood that economic growth may exceed 2.3 percent in 2014 and print shipments could increase by a slight margin, less than 1 percent.
“PIA’s economic outlook for 2014 and 2015 is for relatively tepid growth. Our view is that the negatives will slightly outweigh the positives over the next two years, resulting in around 2.3 percent growth in 2014 and 2.5 percent growth in 2015. This economic scenario leads to a forecast of fairly stable total printing shipments of $161 billion in 2014 and $159.9 billion in 2015.”
To read the full text of the Federal Reserve statement, visit http://www.federalreserve.gov/newsevents/press/monetary/20131218a.htm.
Taking on Patent Trolls
PIA President and CEO, Michael Makin also testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the topic of “Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse.” Makin spoke on behalf of printers who have been threatened with litigation for using software products that allow for the use of CTP, Web-to-Print and QR code technologies, among others. This testimony was broadcast live from the Senate Judiciary Website.
The hearing was chaired by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), who noted his fondness for the printing industry and his family’s background as former owners of Leahy Press. In total, 15 Senators (9 Democrats and 5 Republicans) were present at Makin’s testimony and all participated in a Q&A to learn more about the issues that the printing industry has faced at the hands of patent trolls.
According to the PIA, this was a great opportunity to voice the print industry’s views on public policy, and to share concerns about the severe impact of patent trolling on its membership and the industry as a whole.
The chances I would use LinkedIn to find a printer are nil.