On Monday, December 7th, we all got a bit of good news (I’m kidding!) from WhatTheyThink.com. In comparison to October 2008, sales in 2009 were estimated to be down by nearly $8 Billion. Dr. Joe Webb stated, “This year continues a trend of displacing print with new media on the part of retailers and others. In today’s dollars, those October 1994 shipments would be more than $11 billion.” Shipments had not been below $8 billion in an October since 1994.
That same day I also had a conversation with one of our industry leaders who was remembering the way it “used to be” and noting that the “old days” are probably gone. His sense of frustration was palatable. Thus, it’s probably best for all of us to reboot and dump all that stuff out of our memory; otherwise, it’s just going to frustrate us.
To quote the “other” Joe (Webb), “While there is a compelling case for print media as a part of a total communications strategy, the size, scope, and frequency of print use has been changing. It’s up to each printing business to join in this communications chaos with new ideas, compelling services, and creative approaches directed to individual client objectives.” It truly is chaos, and it’s not just printers who are affected. Dave Torok, with Padgett Printing, shared with me a conversation he had with a photographer. “Now I know what the typesetters felt like,” stated the highly-experienced photographer who is watching high-end photography lose its value just as the typesetters saw the Mac replace the million dollar front-end systems of the ‘80s.
If we keep on looking in the rear view mirror and waiting for the “way it was,” we may miss out on new opportunities to reshape our business and succeed. Granted the rules will be different, but we’ll still be in the game.