3 Ways Collaboration Can Enhance Your Print Marketing Strategy

Today is International Print Day, a day that unites global print and marketing communities in an entire day of collaboration. Now in its 5th year, International Print Day is marked by a 24-hour virtual networking discussion and educational platform. The event - which is organized around a unique theme and hashtag each year - brings together marketers, designers, printers, paper mills, equipment manufacturers, and more.

The event was founded in 2013 by Deborah Corn of Print Media Centr, who wanted people of the print industry to have a single unifying occasion. Last year, the IPD hashtag generated 30 million impressions across six continents and each year it continues to grow and be more widely recognized.

“In 2015 the United States Capitol Building recognized IPD by sharing pictures of their printed admission tickets,” Corn recalls. “In 2016 Good Morning America gave us a shout-out which was incredible considering their massive following. But when the United Nations Library Geneva reached out to share their 2017 event news, I felt that International Print Day was validated as a legitimate global celebration of print.”

The theme “Collaboration” for International Print Day 18 could not be more fitting. Marked by the hashtag #PrintWith, the theme shows how print connects many professionals. By sharing our work we create better products, improve distribution, reduce our environmental footprint, and push the industry forward.

In the spirit of #IDP18, we wanted to share 3 ways that you can enhance your print marketing strategy through collaboration with printers and print industry suppliers.

Take a Print Shop Tour

One of the easiest and most helpful ways to generate print marketing ideas is to take a physical tour of your print partner’s production floor. In fact, we recommend touring several printers because you’ll get a behind the scenes look at how each company operates. The tour should show you the breadth and depth of in-house services provided by the printer and include lots of visual samples of their work. It should also give you a chance to meet additional members of the team beyond your account representative.

Although many printers may share images of their work or their equipment online, there is no substitute for physically being “on the floor. Just like touring a new home or college campus, sometimes you just “get a feeling. One vendor may come across as more confident, organized or capable than another. Or you might just have a better connection with the team members you meet. Either way, a print facility tour will give you much more information to work with when deciding which vendor to select for your next project.

Take a Paper Mill Tour

If you’ve never taken a tour of a paper mill we highly suggest it. The process is fascinating and having a basic understanding of how paper is made can help you specify the right paper stock for your next print job.

Every pulp and paper mill around the globe has a different and unique way of making paper. From the types of equipment and ingredients used to transform pulp into paper, to the technology and processes used to finalize each product. One thing is for sure, visiting a paper mill will be an eye-opening experience. The size of these manufacturing facilities alone is impressive, with some paper making machines stretching more than a few city blocks.

Many paper mills also include a sample or experience center where they showcase beautiful design work on a variety of their stocks. Plus by visiting a mill you’ll undoubtedly leave with lots of great samples and swatch books that can help you create more engaging designs.

Participate in #PrintChat

When we talk to marketers and designers who are looking for interesting print ideas, one of our suggestions is to participate in #PrintChat. This weekly Twitter chat covers all things print and integrated marketing every Wednesday at 4 PM EST.

The hour-long virtual event is hosted by Deborah Corn of PrintMediaCentr and moderated by co-host Sandy Hubbard. It attracts the best and brightest industry influencers from the print, design, and marketing community. The community has even created its own collective fictional ad agency called “Lather. Rinse.Repeat.” The agency allows the group to brainstorm campaign ideas and solve solutions to real client challenges without worrying about competition. That effort has also helped companies steer clear of ideas that were tested by others and didn’t work or capitalize on the group’s resources to more quickly execute campaigns. The chat moves fast and the network often continues to collaborate and engage outside of their weekly Twitter meetups.

Collaboration is one of the underlying themes of creating great print materials. Think about it, without designers there would be no art and without mills, there would be no paper for printers to run through their equipment. The entire industry is built on collaboration, which is why we were delighted to share these three ideas for International Print Day. We love this year’s them and agree that when we are able to combine our mutual interests, resources, and marketing muscle with like-minded professionals and organizations we are able to accomplish much more than we can independently.

Tags: International Print Day, Print, Production, Strategy

Picture of Michelle Cardin

Michelle Cardin

Michelle Cardin leads Shawmut’s creative team in developing print, direct mail, and digital marketing campaigns. Some of our work includes projects for Dell EMC, Boston College, athenahealth, Insulet, and OBP Medical. She is an experienced marketer and copywriter who enjoys helping clients solve communication challenges and create successful marketing campaigns.

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