Aug. 5 2008 11:29 AM

Why is it assumed that content can only be delivered digitally (over the web) or through the physical distribution of ink on paper? And why haven't the printing/mailing industries developed innovative products that compete with the web?


I'm not talking about production innovations that reduce costs. I'm talking about marketing innovations that increase the functionality and value of the finished product. These industries must develop the kind of innovations that positively impacts consumer satisfaction with the physical delivery of content.


Why haven't the printing/mailing industries incorporated web functionality, interactive multimedia, into their product design?


Magazine publishers and catalogers should be delivering the sights, sounds and video craved by the U-Tube world with their print products by incorporating CDs, DVDs or other digital media into their packaging. I'm not talking about throwing a disc into the outer wrap as a ride along but redesigning the print product into a print/digital hybrid that directly competes with on-line advertising by delivering greater functionality!


A magazine could print executive summaries of their articles, providing a quick read for the subscriber, with the complete article provided on disc. Not only would the disc contain the in-depth article but interviews and video clips of the subject matter would be integrated into the article through links to on disc information. Page counts and form size could be reduced to a letter sized mailer saving paper, postage and environmental costs.


Advertisers could pay a premium to be part of the print sections and have TV style commercials or product demonstrations on disc. These on-disc ads would of course be linked to specific landing pages on the advertiser's web sites.


With a hybrid catalog, there would no longer be cost constrained page counts. Catalogers could move from the flat mail stream to automated letters, substantially reducing costs while increasing the functionality and value of the piece to consumers.


Hybrid catalogs could be designed to be light entertainment, a mailing list consumers would beg to be on. The print portion could be a mini catalogue of all the specials or close outs with the disc carrying the full product line. There could be product demos and 3600 views of items. The disc could also carry infomercials, the latest movie trailers, free tracks from a new musical group and inside information on the hottest video game, all with links for on line purchases.


Innovation in the printing/mailing industries must happen! To be viable in the future they need to deliver print products that deliver greater functionality than on-line advertising. Either these industries innovate, delivering greater value to consumers, or their future will be as bright and healthy


as that of newspapers.


For more information, contact Todd Butler, Butler Mailing Services, at 513-870-5060, or visit