The flexibility of print has always been its portability. Anyone can receive, transport, use and store it anywhere. Now, after hundreds of years, there are mobile digital media from Apple to Zoom ready to provide much of the same.
The opportunity for our profession is to provide every possible linkage between the oldest and the newest portable media. This means we first sell a formatted mobile version of each printed piece. Of course it won't be as attractive and extensive in the mobile phone edition but, as we know, there are those who'd rather be texting and don't prefer print.
Second, we include a device-readable code: QRs are great for the moment with 3D and better ones to come. Barcodes are dead. In addition, we print a "text-to" legend that prompts the reader to reach our customer. The trick is for us to own and control both linkages. This means providing the visual code, the typographic text-to name and short-code, the landing page and, most importantly, the data acquisition once the mobile device has connected to the landing page. Call this the generation of an outbound database. It contains much more than a name and number; and it's yours to maintain for each client.
The increased value of the formerly "print-only" project is exponential. A $20,000 newspaper insert, for example, billed with each of the above extras adds another $10,000 to 15,000. Better, the gross margins on the extras are four to six times higher than that of the print. There also is perpetuity in the proposition. Unlimited outbound short-messages may be sent (and billed) for your customers' event invitations, appointment reminders, exclusive offers, transactional statements, loyalty accruals and to distribute discount e-coupons.
Only printing intermediaries can cash in on this new frontier. Manufacturing printers will pass up P2M (Print-to-Mobile) as another "fad," yes, just like the Internet and personal computing in past decades. Besides, they only care about feeding their presses. That's not the way to do business.
Vincent Mallardi, C.M.C., is a the chairman of the Printing Brokerage/Buyers Association International (PBBA) and is a Certified Management Consultant in the paper, printing and converting industries. He is also an adjunct professor in economics. Contact him via email at firstname.lastname@example.org