CrossMedia:  Why there was a buzz around this show (and why I was buzzing too)

by Matthew Parker

Launching a new show is always a big gamble.  But Cross Media appears to have put in a successful first show.  I spent two days at the show, presenting, networking and learning.  And it was certainly a worthwhile two days.

There was a definite buzz around the show.  And I think that’s because the show focussed on a trend that many people want to know more about.

I spent much of my time talking to printers and other suppliers.  And here are some of the impressions that I gained about cross media and where it’s going.

The first revolves around the name

No-one’s sure about what to call cross media

I heard references to cross media, multi-channel, marketing services and many other phrases.  And every time a phrase was used, I heard several different interpretations of what that phrase meant. 

Cross media means different things to different people.  I think the industry is going to need to work at being a little more specific here.  Otherwise customers are going to be confused.  Personally, I like multi-channel communication. 

Whatever it’s called, people are talking about it.

There’s a buzz around cross media

People were flying in from Europe for this show.  Many of the seminars were packed out.  People wanted to be at this show.  And it wasn’t just people with a passing interest.  Every single stand that talked to commented on the fact that they were talking to serious prospects.  People wanted to take action.

And there’s a reason for this.

Cross media works

I saw some great case studies.  There is now a realisation that to get the best out of any channel, you need to support it with complementary channels.  It’s no longer good enough to speak to your target audience through a single channel. 

And that means that e-mail needs print.  And print needs cross media.

Cross media can help the print industry

There’s a realisation that cross-media offers some great opportunities for the print industry.  It’s not just that’s a way of adding some much needed profit to print jobs.  It’s an opportunity for the print industry to start giving some serious value to its customers.

Printers have the opportunity to stop producing commodity print.  They have an opportunity to start selling on value.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s all plain sailing

Most people are still in the early stages of getting to grips with cross media.

The majority of people who came to the show were not experienced in this area.  Most of the printers I spoke to wanted to offer cross-media services.  But (with some notable exceptions) few felt that they were well equipped to either produce any more than the simplest cross media job.  And few felt equipped to sell it.  

Cross Media has the opportunity to change traditional print business models.  But that can be a difficult journey.  However, at the show I saw a realisation of this.

People want to learn about adapting to cross media

There was a huge appetite for information at the show.  And the most encouraging thing was that printers didn’t want just to learn how to produce multi-channel jobs.  They wanted to understand how it changed the way they should deal with customers.  They wanted to learn how they needed to adapt their businesses.

Many of the people I spoke to realised that adopting a cross media offering is not simply adding a new product or service.  To sell it effectively you need to change the way you think about selling your company.  And you may well need a culture change within the company.

However, not everyone saw things this way.

Some people were wearing rose tinted glasses

Some saw cross media as a magic solution to their problems.  And these people were in for a disappointment.  They won’t be ready for the hard work that needs to be put in if you want to sell it effectively.

But for every person that I met with rose tinted glasses there were plenty with a more realistic view.  And that’s what made me buzz so much. 

There’s a large part of the print industry who are up for change

There really does seem to be a shift in thought, at least in most of the attendees for the show.  And people are keen to share their knowledge and grow together. 

I can’t wait for the next Cross Media.

Matthew Parker is the founding director of Print & Procurement and Profitable Print Relationships.
Connect with Matthew on LinkedIn, Twitter, G+

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