Domtar recently had the pleasure of sponsoring the Ricoh INTERACT event in Boulder, Colorado. Historically focused on inkjet printing technology, this year’s conference expanded to accommodate users of Ricoh inkjet, toner and wide format equipment. As a first-time attendee, I was pleased to see less of a focus on specific printing technologies and more on.” With sessions that challenged the attendees to rethink their offering and the way they promote themselves, INTERACT stands out as a truly unique event in the industry.

Though out the sessions, keynotes and conversations with attendees, three themes stood out as pillars for the event:

 

1. Know Your Audience Today. Know Your Audience Tomorrow. Printers are notorious for speaking about their equipment and capabilities, but not explaining to their customer how this information is relevant to their business. At INTERACT, I was relieved to see knowing your audience and understanding what the customer values.

Another component of this was the focus on considering the customer of tomorrow. During the first keynote, Ken Gronbach gave a riveting presentation on human analytics (i.e., measurements of population shifts) and how studying predictive demographics and learning the nuances of each generation can better position and secure your business for the future.

I’m looking forward to reading his book Upside: Profiting from the Profound Demographic Shifts Ahead. If you’d like to learn more about generational marketing, check out Domtar’s download on the topic titled Print, Digital or Both? How Brands Can Reach Multiple Generations.

2. Embrace the Omni-Channel Experience – Omni-channel marketing is defined as “using the strengths of various communication mediums to integrate a single message and sell to customers, seamlessly and interchangeably.” In other words, you’re not just using multiple channels, you’re presenting a unified message that crosses them all.

Many of the sessions at INTERACT were focused on the multiple facets of the omni-channel experience, allowing the attendees to understand the opportunities to both promote themselves and better understand print’s valuable role. The sessions on social media drew the largest crowds and sparked the most conversations!

3. Embrace the Advances of Print Technology, but Be More Than a Vendor – There’s certainly a lot to get excited about with digital print these days, but to be a “go-to” printer you have to be more than a vendor to your customers.

Many sessions at INTERACT were focused on how to be a better resource to customers beyond printing the deliverable. In order to be successful today and tomorrow, printers need to come to the table understanding a customer’s goals and providing solutions instead of taking orders. Whether it’s educating customers on personalization, omni-channel opportunities or a multitude of other facets, printers have a lot to offer their customers.