2020: The Pandemic, the Pivots and the Perseverance of Print

I am counting the days to 2021 as if it were my release date from prison. I’m keeping my head down, not rocking any boats, just trying to make it through the next few weeks without being sent to the hole or getting shivved.

This year has truly been unprecedented and although that word has been overused, there is no better description for the upheaval COVID-19 combined with social and political issues created in our personal and professional lives this year. Social distancing meant every interaction was carefully planned and executed whether in-person or online. Social and political lines were drawn, sides were defined, and stances were taken in public and private.

2020: A year in Print

2020 was also unprecedented in regard to how people came together and found ways to help and support each other and their communities and nations. Charles Dickens wrote it, and 2020 embodied it… “it was the best of times; it was the worst of times.” Here are a few takeaways.

The Pandemic.

We have all experienced this disease in different ways, and it has affected us in different ways. One positive aspect was the reinforcement of print in society as an ‘essential’ communication device. It started with the mail and moved into education and distancing signage and graphics. On top of that service, many printers and manufacturers invented and adapted processes for creating Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including face shields, masks, and partitions. The print industry stepped up in unbelievable ways using their creativity, equipment, and partners to keep people safe. I wanted to do something to give back, so I enlisted the help of Morten Reitoft and Jan Majnik from Inkish.TV and we created “Thank A Printer” to share this story and show our appreciation to the print industry. Watch, pass it along and tag with #thankaprinter… be PROUD of your contribution to society… and thank you!

The Pivots.

Pivot is another overused word, but like unprecedented it applies. No matter how you had to change and adapt to a contactless world if you did it even semi-successfully you are still in business and congratulations. Others weren’t as lucky or rather, prepared. For years the industry has been talking about automation from a cost-saving perspective, now add business-saving and yes dare I say, lifesaving to the list. There is no excuse not to rectify every obstacle you faced doing business, and every obstacle your customers faced trying to do business with you, during a pandemic. This can only make your business and customer relationships stronger. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring, be prepared the best you can to carry on.

The Perseverance.

I am all about forward motion and creating new paths to help print and marketing pros connect. This year my focus also pivoted a bit to helping printers connect with and come up with ideas to help their community stay in business, generate some business in the process, and make new, long-term relationships. I have zero doubt one of the biggest opportunities waiting for you is Digital Marketing. I know, I know. I can feel your eye roll… and that is why this is under perseverance. I am NOT giving up on providing information and resources to help you get on board with this and get started helping your business bring new business to you, and helping your customers do the same. It’s not hard, it’s just NEW. There are people out there who understand the print business and are uniquely qualified to help. Check out the replays listed below to get your digital marketing ball rolling.

Winston Churchill end of the beginning quotation

The End of the Beginning

With a COVID vaccine approved and rolling out and an extended and polarizing election season finally ending in the U.S., 2021 brings a visible light, small and flickering, at the end of the pandemic tunnel. We have a long way to go but we are moving from “the end of the beginning” to greener business pastures and perhaps even gathering at large events towards the second half of the year. No matter what the future holds, the worst is hopefully now behind us.

To everyone who helped me create content this year, contributed content to PMC (Sandy Hubbard, Kelly Mallozzi, Tod Cordill and Karis Copp), everyone who participated, shared, and engaged at events and on social media… and all of the companies, industry organizations, and friends that supported me and PMC during this crazy year – THANK YOU!!!!!!!

In case you missed any of it, here are some picks for your pre-2021 watch and listen binge-list:

Elevate Print Conference

Girls Who Print Day Conference

Fierce Fabulous Fridays

Digital Marketing and Consumer Research


#ThePrintReport Podcast

#ElevatePrint Podcast

From Inkish: Check out the replays from Smart Factory Europe and replays from Smart Factory US about Industry 4.0, automation, robotics, and IoT.


More posts from Deborah

DeborahCorn-PrintMediaCentrDeborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse™ at Print Media Centr, a Print Buyerologist™, industry speaker and blogger, host of Podcasts from The Printerverse, the cultivator of Print Production Professionals the #1 print group on LinkedIn, Girl #1 at GirlsWhoPrint, host of #PrintChat every Wednesday at 4 PM ET on Twitter, the founder of International Print Day and the founder of #ProjectPeacock. She is the recipient of several industry honors including the 2016 Girls Who Print Girlie Award and sits on the board of The Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi and is a Member-at-Large for the Advertising Production Club of NYC.

Deborah has 25+ years of experience working in advertising as a Print Producer. She currently provides printspiration and resources to print and marketing professionals through PMC and works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers, and industry organizations helping them create meaningful relationships with customers, and achieve success with their social media and content marketing endeavors.

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