Fall tradeshow season is in full swing in the Northern Hemisphere. This post is about two that I attended so far, and why I believe they should matter to you.

Print 17_ Label Expo-Print Media Centr

PRINT 17 aka GRAPH EXPO in Chicago

To start, I have it on good authority that the organizers of Print/Graph Expo are going to stop changing the name and the length of the show every 4 years. It’s time for a change on that. Progress.

Progress in many other forms was clearly evident at Print 17. The attendees progressed from being tire-kickers to informed consumers; the exhibitors progressed prospects to buyers in record numbers, and overall the attitude of the show progressed to helping print businesses with reality-based education and solutions for their needs in 2017, and beyond. I like progress.

The show had a new sense of self as well. It is no longer a sheepish “please come, I really want you to” event. The show stood up this year and said “HEY – you… you want to make money with print then join us. If not, good luck.” OK, maybe a bit of that was me, but that idea felt supported and the show delivered on attracting like-minded attendees and exhibitors who all came to do business, and learn.

We have almost a year before Graph Expo, or Print, or whatever they decide to call it from now on, rolls around. I already booked my Printerversiens, my photographer and my videographer for 2018. Consider this your formal invitation.

Label Expo Europe in Brussels.

I am very lucky to represent the citizens of the Printerverse, and never more so than when I have the opportunity to attend a global show and report back. So here is my report from Brussels: GET INTO PACKAGING. This is not new, you know you HAVE to land here. Get moving.

If you are already in this space with offset equipment, look into the digital solutions to take in shorter runs and not turn them away, plus the myriad of options for packaged-based marketing that digital printing comes with. Open doors to new conversations.

If you are new to this space, there are plenty of multi-use digital presses out there and prefabricated packaging substrates and templates to help you get started. Open doors for new customers.

If you are already up and running in either of those spaces and don’t want to make another equipment investment – PARTNER UP! Offset printers find digital print packaging friends, and digital print packaging friends find offset friends. Need help finding industry friends – find me. I have 125,000+ to choose from.

hurricane-irma-florida_print media centr

Insert poignant anecdote here…

While I was at Print 17, Irma blew over my house and knocked out the power around here for a few days. When I came back from Chicago, I had 2 working days to deal with errands and dry cleaning before I took off for Label Expo Europe. My dry cleaner was open, but they were backed up 3 days and no chance in hell I could get my clothes in time for the next trip. Although they had other stores in the area, the women behind the counter told me to try a dry cleaner down the road. I did.

I had avoided this dry cleaner in the past because their pricing was substantially less than most in the area. I equated that with less quality – aka you get what you pay for. The web had mixed reviews but more were positive, so I sat in the parking lot and watched customers go in and out. I looked at their dry-cleaned clothing for business attire, their cars and anything else I could use to ascertain the clientele of this “cheap” dry-cleaner. After enough suits and such went by I asked a few people I felt were picky based on solely on assumption, for a recommendation. I decided to take the chance with my clothes and went inside.

The new place doesn’t accept credit cards. They do all their dry-cleaning on premise. That is why their costs were so much lower. They cut out everything but them from the pricing and passed that savings along, though honestly, they could charge a bit more and still be way under the market.

The poignant part comes now… my original dry cleaner didn’t have system in place to help customers when they couldn’t. They didn’t make arrangements after the hurricane to help customers IF they couldn’t. They literally sent me to a business that had all my needs under one roof, and provided better service for a better price. Guess who does my dry cleaning now?

Print 17 and Label Expo (and my dry-cleaning experience) strengthened my core belief that one-stop print shops are the future of the industry. The key is partnership, you don’t have to have all the services under your roof, but you MUST have a solution in place for the services you don’t provide, or can’t provide due to circumstances beyond your control.

Both shows also strengthened my core belief that collaboration with the print community through education is the clearest path to help print businesses succeed. The manufacturers are looking for ways to connect with you and hear from you so they can provide more targeted tools, products and services to help you grow your print business – and/or help you understand better how to optimize the ones you have. Partnership.

I covered Label Expo for you thanks to Team HP Indigo and Team Xeikon. You can see plenty of pics and videos from Brussels on PMC’s Facebook page.

At Print 17, The Printerverse hosted more than 2000 attendees (2nd most at the show) who came to learn, network and participate in conversations with our Intergalactic Alliance and invited industry guests. Some of the Alliance partners forged partnerships with each other during Print 17 – always a bonus outcome for me, and you!

You can see all 30 panel discussions and events on the Printerverse at Print 17 playlist to catch-up. After your binge watch, start your plan-making for the future.

I am proud to report that I have seen a re-dedication from suppliers to help printers grow their business with marketing ideas and applications to inspire, provide tools and systems to help printers help their customers get the most for their money, and a real interest to learn from you and create long-term partnerships. Progress.

Next up on the Fall event tour for me: thINK Conference 2017, Xeikon Cafe North America and IPEX 2017 where I am also giving a keynote — I know!! Crazy! October 18, 2017 is International Print Day …Get involved! Even though I have a conflict and cant attend this year, SGIA Expo is always worth the time.

Hope to see you out there!

DeborahCorn-PrintMediaCentrDeborah Corn is the Intergalactic Ambassador to The Printerverse at PrintMediaCentr, a Print Buyerologist™, Integrated Marketer, Industry Speaker and Blogger, Cultivator of the Print Production Professionals Group, the #1 Print Group on LinkedIn, and host of #PrintChat, a weekly industry gathering on Twitter every Wednesday at 4PM ET. She has 25+ years experience working in advertising as a Print Producer, and currently works behind the scenes with printers, suppliers and industry organizations helping them to achieve success with their social media marketing endeavors, and create meaningful relationships.

Connect with Deborah: Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn / Instagram / YouTube / Pinterest / Print Production Professionals Group / deborah@printmediacentr.com

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