thINK, an independent community of Canon Solutions America (CSA) production print customers, solution partners, and print industry experts, held its third annual thINK Conference last week in Boca Raton, Florida. This year’s deep dive into all things inkjet attracted a record 570 attendees to preview the latest inkjet technology from CSA’s Océ division as well as to network with peers on everything from the marketing advantages of variable digital print to new paper and inkset options.
thINK Conference Keynotes Focus on Seizing Shrinking Attention Spans, Prioritizing the Essentials, and More
As regular attendees have come to expect, the thINK board and CSA put on another strong event with a great mix of keynote speakers and enlightening seminars. As a postal guy, I enjoyed the keynote by USPS Chief Customer and Marketing Officer and EVP Jim Cochrane. He talked about how the “mailing ecosystem” is evolving as marketers are reinventing direct mail through greater use of data and technology (like variable data color inkjet) to make their mail more personal and relevant, which is driving enhanced ROI. He also encouraged the audience to help their clients create more “goldfish moments,” an allusion to the fact that modern consumers now have an 8-second attention span, which is actually shorter than that of a goldfish.
Astronaut Mark Kelly discussed the importance of open communications when making complex decisions to be sure all details are accounted for to minimize risk. Author Greg McKeown encouraged the group to adopt “essentialism,” which he defined as “the disciplined pursuit of less, rather than undisciplined pursuit of more,” reminding his audience “if you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”
Don’t Rely on Technology Unless It’s Backed by Data
Even with the exciting and informative presentations, the thINK Conference was far from “all talk.” The CSA team shared two new pieces of technology at the conference: the Océ ProStream, CSA’s next generation of continuous feed inkjet, and the Océ Voyager, a device designed to produce photographic quality print on highly coated papers, which will debut in the U.S. early next year.
Industry expert Marco Boer described the printing industry as “stable, but…” He noted a decline in traditional analog print methodologies, while variable data inkjet presses continue to play a larger role across the industry, observing that inkjet press sales now exceed those of offset lithographic presses. He also predicted that by 2020, sixty percent of direct mail will feature digital print.
In her break out session, Deborah Corn, Print Media Centr’s “Intergalactic Ambassador to the Printerverse™,” reminded attendees that just having cutting-edge technology isn’t enough. As service providers, we need to learn to “speak the language” of agencies and marketers and then educate our customers so they better understand what print technology can do to help them meet their marketing goals.
Inkjet is Powering Data-Driven Marketing Programs
thINK is a great venue for IWCO Direct’s technical experts to meet with and learn from our supply partners and other service providers to help us enhance our already industry-leading digital print platform. The hot “technology” topics at this event included working with color in a digital environment; advances in papers, treatments, and inksets to continue expanding inkjet color gamut; and the need to focus on efficient workflow―both pre- and post-press.
But the most important take-home message from the thINK Conference was although having the right technology is essential, the strength of variable data color inkjet is its ability to leverage data to create relevant, personal printed communications that get the attention of recipients no matter where they are on their customer journey.
Just as we learned at PRINT 17, print and mail remain important players in our data-driven multichannel marketing world, and inkjet is the right technology to take advantage of those opportunities. Get in touch with us today to find out how IWCO Direct can help you leverage those opportunities to Power your Marketing.
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