I love this time of year. I love seeing all the decorations and festivity, and I smile when I start hearing Christmas music being played. More than the holiday season, what I love most about this time of year are all of the lists. Yes, my friends, I have a confession. I am a list addict. I love reading everyone’s predictions on… everything. I can read about fashion trends, fitness trends, health and wellness, marketing and yes, even print.
When it came time for me to write my own list of 2018 predictions, however, I had to take pause. Predictions are based on many things. Like facts. And trends. And observations. And yes, a little bit of gut instinct.
But this year was different. This year something happened. Politics aside (remember, I’m Canadian), what was the community talking about across all platforms? And how were these conversations impacting the print industry?
5 hot topics from 2017 that will impact your print business in 2018…
The Vendor Community: As the shift to a more comprehensive marketing and services provider landscape continues to grow, so will your network of vendors. From hardware to software, creative services to IT, you will have access to a vast network of subject-matter experts eager to help you grow your business. Embrace your vendor community and drive more business in 2018.
Data is King: Managing not just your own, but your customer’s data has taken on a whole new meaning with the customer community demand for an Omni-Channel experience.
Folks, it’s time for the world of transaction and commercial printers to work as one. I hate to break it to you but the customer communications industry has been laser focused on data and data mining before many printers implemented a CRM. Not only do they speak the language, literally, but they are also well-versed in matters such as compliancy, security and data management and quality control.
Harness the value of data in 2018 and its impact on your bottom line.
Automation: Time is money. And the more time you spend “touching” something, whether it’s manual data entry, preparing estimates and proposals, reconciling accounts, or creating email campaigns, the more you eat away at your profits. There is an urgent need for printers to become more efficient, streamline their processes, and stop costly mistakes in their tracks. In 2018, automation is critical in order for your print business to thrive.
Community: Clearly the role of the community, and the voice that it carries, will continue to be more and more of a driving force in not just the print industry, but every industry. If you haven’t yet tested the waters my friends, it’s time to take a dive into the deep end. Start with LinkedIn, still one of the top sources for business and industry information. Read the comments, not just the articles. Hop onto a #Printchat Wednesday’s at 4. Join the conversations (but remember, no selling!) It’s not too late…yet. Engage with your community and learn what problems your business can help them solve.
#MeToo: I would be remiss if I didn’t include this volatile topic in this post. Subject matter aside, the impact that #MeToo has already had in the media and technology industries is staggering. Throughout my own career I have experienced gender and religious discrimination, and more sexual harassment and workplace improprieties than most can fathom.
While there is no doubt that every industry must bear its own shame, including Print, the business impact will be far reaching. Think that your business could be off the hook? Think again. In order to avoid future incrimination, corporate policies must be reviewed. Sexual harassment education must be introduced. What is acceptable, and most definitely not acceptable, must be outlined, and enforced in every business across every industry.
Let’s lead the next generation by example and set the stage for equality, fairness and respect in 2018.