When Julie Shaffer from APTech invited me on April 1 via LinkedIn to speak at the PRINT Innovation Exchange, I thought it might be an April Fool’s joke. She said it was my post on CCPA and taxing of professional services that caused her to reach out.
That seemed counterintuitive to innovation, unless she wanted to put a “Kick Me” note on my back. When we connected via phone and she proposed the topic of “Direct Marketing: The (Really) Good, the (Not So) Bad & the (Potentially Very) Ugly,” I accepted her invitation on the spot.
The Lowdown on APTech’s New PRINT Innovation Exchange
As APTech VP Business Development & Industry Relations Ken Garner said in his introductory remarks, this conference was intended to spark conversation and ideas among the attendees, who represented a wide range of disciplines, companies, and roles. Ken did a great job as moderator for the panel discussion titled, “A New Reality for Print.” The program promised a “no-holds-barred discussion” about the future of print. Ken kept his promise: the group exchanged ideas, challenged perceptions, and gave everyone something to think about and continue discussing over lunch.
My session was followed by Daniel Dejan, Print & Creative Manager for Sappi North America. Daniel’s topic was “Special Effects Printing and Its Growing Importance in Marcom.” His handouts and samples stole the show as every member of the audience immediately picked up the beautifully designed and produced brochure, “True or False,” which demonstrates how to make stunningly effective use of paper, special coatings, and varnishes that invite the reader to “not just look, but touch.”
Using Print to Engage the Bi-Literate Brain
While Dejan is a very entertaining presenter and he had great materials to accompany his words, I really started paying attention when he mentioned the concept of the bi-literate brain. He cited the work of Maryanne Wolf, who currently directs the Center for Dyslexia, Diverse Learners, and Social Justice at the USCF Medical School. While at Tufts University, Wolf was director of the Tufts Center for Reading and Language Research. I suspect it was at Tufts that she collected a lot of the content for her 2018 book, Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World.
According to an excerpt published at the Sudikoff Institute Public Forum, the book is “written as a series of letters addressed to her readers” and “draws on neuroscience, literature, education, technology, and philosophy . . . Wolf offers her comprehensive proposal for the development of a bi-literate reading brain—a brain that reads differently depending on the medium involved.”
As Erin McGinnis wrote for SpeakingDIRECT last year, our brains absorb print content differently than online material. We have been taught to search paper for context, content, and nuance—or as Dejan said in his APTech presentation, we search for the story in print. Conversely, viewing online content usually prompts readers to skim for information (not context or nuance) as quickly as possible in order to move on to the next digital page or action. When we seek a deep understanding, we seek it in print.
Need to understand how marketers should approach the bi-literate brain? Contact me here. When you do, I’ll share my address so you can send me a letter that will lower my blood pressure, slow my heart rate, and decrease my stress.
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