CEO Perspective: John F. Papalia
What will the print-media industry experience in 2010? Will this be a year of cost reduction or growth?
From Gutenberg to Xerox, technological advancements always change print-media into a new animal. Digital print has made small runs and versioning of nice four color pieces more feasible. One of my colleagues in the printing business told me that while it is true digital printing or combining traditional offset with digital may be at a greater expense, it also has the potential of bringing a better ROI. Digital technology promises to make print media more useful to the marketer and more relevant to the audience, so investing in it may actually help growth.
What one technology will be transformative?
Marketers are communicating with an individualized audience through channels of email, mail, websites, call centers, mobile phones and social networks. They need to maintain a digital inventory of images, customer records, transactions, prospect data and promotional history. The single most transformative technology within the marketing services industry will probably continue to be the marketing database technology that enables todayâ€™s marketing communications.
Will the Web be strategically central to the industry?
Yes. We interact with the web from everywhere we are, from our desktop, laptop and mobile phone. It is at school, itâ€™s integrated with almost all entertainment and utility devices. The web links people together socially and commercially. The web is a part of human life and is certainly becoming more and more strategically central to our industry.
What skills do publishers need to succeed in this era?
If â€śeffective passionâ€ť is a skill then now is the time to be skillfully and effectively passionate about doing business. Embrace technology but donâ€™t forsake the blue chip techniques like in-person meetings and eye contact. I have seen many great meetings conclude with a firm handshake. We cannot be order takers, distant from our advertisers. Instead, we have to really understand our clientâ€™s needs and aid them in achieving their goals. Providing great service is paramount, to be delivered in every department. Within sales and service, hire knowledgeable people that are passionate about their careers. In our front reception we use live people to answer phones. Being passionate about service is vital for success.
Is this a great time to be an entrepreneur in this business or a terrible one? Why?
As long as they have the combined passion, knowledge and experience,
itâ€™s a great time for entrepreneurs, and itâ€™s a great time to be selling. We have large clients that are coming to us with test budgets as low as $2,000 and we are rolling out national programs with them, incrementally increasing as the responses come in. This was impossible to do with direct mail, but we can do it with email and co-registration. Technology has enabled new ways of doing business. This makes for a good environment for entrepreneurs.