As we say goodbye to 2013, the banner year where the persistent mantra that print is dead finally subsided (I dare not murmur beneath my breath: “I told you so”), the focus of the 2014 manifesto demands the attention of the one thing I have no problem adhering to: the amplification of print in a digital age.
The 14 truths may be preaching to the choir for some, but hopefully they are still appreciated and valued as truisms that merit the time and consideration of our faithful congregation. And for those agnostics out there, maybe there will be a dawning of print spirituality they failed to consider until now.
Here they are – in the Fourteen Points spirit of Woodrow Wilson (a print guy, of course): Mr. Magazine™’s 14 Efficacies of Enlightenment regarding the future of print in a digital age…
1. Print comes lately. What do allrecipes.com, style.com, pitchfork.com, etc.,share in common? They were all conceived in the womb of the Internet, but discovered their power in the mother’s milk of print. Nourishment that can neither be denied, nor ignored as the proof is in the growth of the infant.
2. Print – old and new – has value. Whether it’s the first ever printed book or the premiere issue of Playboy, the value of these collectible treasures could send your children to college, never mind the enrichment they bring to your life and consciousness. I wonder how much the first online edition of slate.com will fetch 60 years from now.
3. Print’s bragging power. How often does your iPad lying on the coffee table start a conversation? I would hazard to say, almost never. Unless one of your guests knocks it off and breaks it and you realize just how much money you’re out. But my magazines fanned out across the table, with their colorful and interesting covers never fail to initiate a discussion. Oh, and if they get knocked off during the debate… so what?
4. Print is ownership. If all my belongings are up in the “clouds,” what do I have? Without physicality, human beings are obsolete. And I can safely say that anyone reading this absolutely does not want that.
5. Print is ad-friendly. When I open a magazine and see those magnificent ads that are sometimes as entertaining as the articles, I realize once again why print brings in the revenue and must be preserved. When a digital ad pops in, uninvited, for a seemingly interminable 15 seconds (or more), my first step is the escape key.
6 .Print still generates the profits. As stated, print still brings in the revenues, there’s just no disputing that fact.
7. Romancing print. After years of having a digital love affair, there is nothing wrong with coming home and apologizing and confessing your unfaithfulness to your lovely print spouse. After all, we’re all human and make mistakes.
8. Print keeps history alive. On a personal note, I have ink on paper letters from my late father that I can show my kids anytime I want. What will my children have to show their kids when it comes to memories? My texts or emails?
9. Print is the brand propeller. Ink on paper is the marketing tool that moves the brand in front of the customer. From the newsstands to direct mail, print is the mechanism behind any real movement. It takes the product and puts it in-your-face without apology.
10. Print is relevant. When you have a print product it can take you places – real places and give you customers – real customers – and form those all-important relationships within a community. An audience in China has absolutely no value to an advertiser in the United States. You have to target your community and form that real bond. And print can do that.
11. Print is a detective. Ink on paper can find you no matter where you are. Whether it’s on the newsstands or in your mailbox or gracing your coffee table, print “calls you by name.” No buttons to push, no mouse to click and no screen to scroll. You –not the machine – are the “person of interest.”
12. Print is integrated. Think about print as the foundation of your brand in which you can build many, many platforms. Without a solid foundation, those platforms will displace like The San Andreas Fault and you could lose everything.
13. Print deals with humans. More than 60% of Internet usage is machine-driven and generated. While print is 100% human-generated and driven. Can digital compete with that? No! And…
14. Print is the future of digital. Media’s destiny starts, continues and ends with print. It’s just common sense.
I wish everyone health, happiness and a wonderful print and digital-integrated New Year!
The Mr. Magazine™ 2014 first appeared in Media Industry Newsletter, Jan. 6, 2014, Vol. 67, No. 1, Pages 1 & 7.