05-07-2011

Marketing, have you been introduced to print? It’s just over there….!

When I registered to attend Marketing Week Live I didn’t expect print to play a central role in the event. My reason for attending this event, intended to challenge marketers with innovative ideas, trends and strategies on marketing & communication, was its rich and attractive programme of conferences. And, as I looked at its schedule in more detail, I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t spot any print related sessions.

Author: Isabella Schiavi

When I registered to attend Marketing Week Live I didn’t expect print to play a central role in the event. My reason for attending this event, intended to challenge marketers with innovative ideas, trends and strategies on marketing & communication, was its rich and attractive programme of conferences. And, as I looked at its schedule in more detail, I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t spot any print related sessions.

Therefore you can imagine my surprise last week when I discovered that, even if print was not on the list of topics for discussion, it was very much alive in the grand hall at Kensington Olympia (London), where Marketing Week Live took place.

The event was divided into 5 branches; Marketing Week Live played the role of the leading brand with all its respected publications (Marketing Week, Design Week, Creative Week and New Media Edge) and was surrounded by the Insight, Data Marketing, In-Store and the Online Marketing shows.

Print service providers, media suppliers and producers of marketing and promotional tools for the retail space filled the In-Store area with countless applications: POP & displays, digital signage, shoppers, billboards and green solutions On the other hand, agencies, analysts, consultants, solution integrators, creatives and marketing specialists crowded the three remaining sections.

All things considered I was amazed by this well-attended show, and I appreciated both its mixed value proposition and the high quality of the workshops. It seemed to me that Marketing Week Live can truly provide marketers with a good overview of the latest trends in the media mix.

Nevertheless, it is striking that the Data and Online Marketing shows plus the Insight and the core Marketing brought in both thought leaders and exhibitors as speakers, while the In-Store show and its representative print community were presented only with exhibitors, none of whom had any clear marketing involvement. If I had been a marketer visiting the event, I would have found the In-Store proposition really interesting but isolated from the main show and its essential marketing drive.

During the conferences the hot topics covered included brand communities, to tweet or not to tweet, data protection, development and measurement of creative, targeted and effectively integrated campaigns – but print was conspicuously absent from the agenda. I can only assume that this is because print is considered a simple tool, visible in and around every stand, as opposed to a vital component of effective marketing strategies

I can see just two possibilities for why hardly any of 70 workshops (!) covered print: either print is no longer trendy, or print manufacturers don’t know how to appeal to marketers. Although it is evident that print has entered a battle with new media and has to refresh its image and values, I’m convinced the second possibility holds the most truth.

As a matter of fact it reminds me of another event, where I sat alongside some poor marketers, listening to a conference given by a print manufacturer whose talk lacked incisive or marketing focused content.

I wonder if they are still trying to figure out the ROI of a print head…