The mailing and printing industries are oft-changing and will continue to see unprecedented change over the next several years. I hosted a panel of industry experts at PRINT 17 that came together to discuss some of these changes, from uncertain legislation to major disruptions in the workplace. The panel also addressed how companies can ensure they continue to be successful.

A Changing Workforce

While still a major and influential industry, mailing and printing companies have had to hold their own in a world that is seemingly being overtaken by digital advancements. This is especially true when it comes to the next generation of consumers and workers — millennials.

Millennials are not teenagers anymore — they range from ages 20 to 36. They have expendable income and are beginning to reach major life milestones, like purchasing homes. They are working professionals entering the workforce and filling managerial roles.

Millennials grew up in a digital age. They are digital natives and deeply understand its workings and will keep up with trends and changes. Because of this, they need to be marketed to by companies who understand the importance of digital, and they are looking to become employees at organizations that do the same.

What does this mean for companies in the print and mail industry? Industry leaders need to ask themselves the following questions:

  • With so much “hype” around digital, how can the print and mail industry get a new generation of employees not only interested in, but dedicated and passionate about, their work?
  • How can marketers ensure that their direct mail messages are resonating with millennials?
  • How does the legislative landscape affect all of this, as well as business in general?

Millennials are marketing managers, industry employees, and consumers. This means that it’s essential for all content put out by leading industry companies to cater to them. Millennials are looking for more from companies than generations before them did, so this content can’t be the same as it was before.

This is not to say that direct mail does not influence millennials. Yes, they were born and raised in a digital age, and technology is frequently second nature to them, but they are not “digital addicts.” With such a saturated marketing, they are accustomed to digital advertising and messaging, meaning direct mail is refreshing for millennials, and because of this, it resonates with them.

However, as consumers, millennials need messaging to be personal. With so many different brands and companies vying for consumer attentions, a personalized message is the one that will stand out. With advancements in print technology, this can be easily realized. Neurological studies have been conducted that prove that direct mail pieces activate four of the five senses — touch, smell, sound, and sight. This alone makes it more powerful than alternative marketing methods, like social media or email marketing.

How can companies remain successful during industry changes?

The complex and fast-moving nature of the print and mail industry has similarities to the Information Technology field, a field that has been drawing millennials. It’s essential for companies to encourage younger generations to come in and bring new ideas to the table. From trade shows to local organizations, there are plenty of ways to get involved with the industry so that your company and employees can stay ahead of the curve.

On a side note as we look to the future, as of September 2017, there is no Board of Governors for the USPS. If there is none appointed by the end of the year, USPS promotions will not be carried into 2018, which will be another change that the industry will need to deal with.

About the panel:

PRINT 17 brought together some of the most influential minds in the industry. BCC Software was proud to host a panel discussion on current changes in the industry and how businesses can prepare for the future:

Host, Chris Lien, President, BCC Software

Lien is president of BCC Software and has been active in the mailing industry for over 20 years. During that time, he authored several software solutions utilizing Mail.dat for electronic auditing, distribution, and logistics planning, palletization, and electronic postage payment. He has been heavily involved in industry associations such as the Association for Postal Commerce, the Association of Marketing Service Providers, Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, and the IDEAlliance where he is currently serving as a board member.

Prof. Chris Bondy, Rochester Institute of Technology

A Gannett Distinguished Professor in the School of Media Sciences at Rochester Institute of Technology, Bondy leads the effort to transform the School of Media Sciences into a cross-disciplinary educational experience, refreshing traditional courses and teaching new courses in cross-media, asset management, and database publishing. With three decades of industry experience, Bondy has extensive experience in strategy, business development, product planning, process engineering, and marketing communications.

Thayer Long, President, NPES

Currently the President of NPES, Long has 20 years of association experience, serving most recently as EVP and CEO of the Independent Electrical Contractors and prior to that as President and CEO of the Manufactured Housing Institute.

David Steinhardt, President & CEO, Idealliance

Steinhardt has spent more than 25 years building, re-inventing, and managing successful non-profit organizations in media, print, and publishing. He led the transformation of the print-focused Graphic Communications Association (GCA) into the dynamic International Digital Enterprise Alliance (Idealliance) that exists today.

To watch a recording of the panel discussion, please visit: