When you visit the Printerverse, you’ll learn how printers can Carpe Printum — seize the print and get ahead of the competition! The Printerverse is a cool trade show feature at Print 17 aka Graph Expo. It is brought to you by Print Media Centr and its Intergalactic Alliance of the Printerverse.

This year’s Alliance kept up the tradition of new concepts, thought leadership, and leading-edge print  technology. Throughout the show, panel discussions were Livestreamed online. You can catch the replays on Print Media Centr’s YouTube channel. This year in the Printerverse and at Print17 the topic of print was enthusiastically seized, cogitated and celebrated.

Carpe Printum_Print Media Centr

Let me know if you agree with my Printerverse takeaways on how printers can Carpe Printum!

1. Efficiency is where it’s at.

Whether it’s called workflow or something else, you can only save time and money if you improve it. Customers rarely pay for improved quality or your new press. You have to capture your savings on the other end, by improving everything — from how the job is sold to how it enters your shop to how it’s produced and how it’s delivered. Every place where you gain workflow efficiency unblocks a bottleneck and opens a new place to improve. Do this.

2. Integration is the wave of the future.

Integrative technology is bringing together silos of information and production in new ways. It can be through open source solutions, plug ins, software, or other “enablers.”

You’re probably facing choices right now about whether to maintain silos and use proprietary technologies — or start choosing open tech now because it will be the future

Print leaders will choose some version of integration to get ahead. Integrators will merge and go out of business. Will your choice be the winner? Maybe not, but you’ll still be ahead because you’ll be implementing this, incorporating it into your company culture, and learning how to adapt to change on the fly.

3. Smart interfaces and mobile apps are what users want.

This isn’t the same as #2. That is about how technology can solve a problem, whereas #3 is about customer interface and experience. A smarter interface may mean augmented reality or artificial intelligence. It may push your comfort zone. However, customers increasingly want to interact with you, their print project, with their co-workers, and more…using a smarter interface than you’re probably using right now.

4. Long runs of anything will become short and custom sooner or later.

As you buy equipment to meet future needs, know that you’ll ultimately need the flexibility to do variable and custom work. No matter what you’re producing, machines always get faster, run lengths always get shorter, and custom work is always at the end of that logic chain.

5. Show customers things that are DIFFERENT.

Even though they say they want “something like this,” their eyes go to exciting color, sparkly bling, entertaining interactivity, and substrates that push the limits.

6. Pay attention to EVERYTHING.

Solutions can come from non-standard places. Ask customers about their businesses. Get out and see how other  businesses handle your types of challenges. Watch your competitors. Listen to your equipment and paper suppliers. Research and watch trends.

7. Understand the power of data.

Learn how to work with data, and see what people in other industries are doing to push the limits. Understand security, privacy and regulations. earn how to gain insights for your own company and for customers from data.

8. Be first.

Work with vendors to test new technologies, and talk to them about what’s coming, even if you don’t understand how it applies to your business (yet).

9. Say yes!

Embrace change, network generously, help students and schools, keep yorself moving forward.

10. Tell the story of print’s success.

Never stop talking about ways that print can solve a problem, fit into (or be central to) an integrated campaign, do something better, catch more attention, drive more results, and make customers more money. There’s plenty that customers want to know about how print can work for them. Tell them!

The Printerverse at Print17 aka GraphExpo is an exciting place. Things move quickly, crowds keep it lively, and the ideas that are discussed are usually mind blowing. These 10 Printerverse takeaways may not apply to your company right now, but they will, and soon. The time to get ahead of the competition is always NOW, so get cracking!

Read more from Sandy here.

Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds sales and marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find @sandyhubbard on Twitter each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.

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