Building the future with print: Deborah Corn

This article first appeared in the September issue of Australian Printerauthored by Deborah Corn

The viable future of print business is dependent upon how print is used, and what it’s used for. We saw this firsthand in 2020. If printing wasn’t essential, it wasn’t produced. And when things started to open, ‘essential’ was applied to the spending, not the materials; was/is it essential to spend money on this?

The essential spend scenario which continues today has shifted industry focus to justifying the use of printing to anyone who will listen – fighting for dollars and cents.

That is not a position of power, and we know print is a potent and powerful communications device.

To get our power back we need to look beyond the ‘essential spend’ crowd and infiltrate the spaces where the future is being realised. The spaces that require our help make printed communications and materials essential to getting businesses started and promoted to generate buzz and income.

For that much impact, we need to look to the future and become part of building it. Here are three examples to consider:

Remote work is here to stay

According to projections by Ladders, “25 per cent of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022, and remote opportunities will continue to increase through 2023”. This is a situation many countries are experiencing worldwide.

Start doing your research and find the developers and municipalities that are investing in remote working complexes. Currently referred to as Remoteville, these mini-cities within cities will have state-of-the-art technology, commercial and retail businesses, childcare, and schools. Even the need for representation may arise as they grow.

Strategise; develop a pitch and pitch the essential power of printing to bring these communities to life.

Phygital = physical + digital

It is a marketing and sales strategy. Consumers exist in both the physical and digital worlds, and they can buy things in both places. Meta Commerce, aka m-Commerce, is coming. Think online storefronts transformed into digital spaces you (or your avatar) can enter and recreate the in-store experience, virtually.

But it goes way beyond retail. Any business you can think of that has a physical presence can have a digital presence. And when the boundaries are crossed print is an essential factor in the process, and printed goods can be sold in both places.

To illustrate, I visit a home décor store in the metaverse, and I order wall art from their inventory and throw pillows I can personalise with photos. That order must be printed, fulfilled, packaged, and shipped in the physical world through printing partners.

The opportunity is practically endless, and it is just starting to get underway. Consider making an investment in opening a store in the metaverse. It can be a print shop. It can be a poster shop.  It can be a postcard shop. It can be a B2B marketing shop. Whatever you can make in the physical world, you can sell in the virtual world – get creative!

Once you have mastered m-Commerce, you can educate your customers and help them migrate to the metaverse. You will own the conversation and the print business that comes from it – if you are FIRST. Be first. Start now.

A room with a view

Picture this – staying at a Sky Cruise above the clouds with a 360-degree view. It is powered by nuclear energy so it never has to land, and is equipped with stabilisers that adjust as needed to prevent turbulence.

The Sky Cruise can accommodate over 5000 guests at a time and offers something for everyone in the form of dining, entertainment, shopping, and recreation. Imagine watching the sunrise and sunset, shooting stars, and the aurora borealis with an unobstructed view.

The Sky Cruise is conceptual, but I included it in this post because there is a NEXT LEVEL out there, and next-level companies are working on reinventing experiences – not pricing out brochures with six printers for the lowest price.

Plan the future with print

Now is the time to invest in the future of your customer base – with those investing in the future of the world.

Follow the science, health, and technology sectors for insight into what is coming and tailor your services and offerings to be essential for their success – whether on the ground, in the sky, in the metaverse, or crossing the phygital divide.

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