Founder and cultivator of Print Production Professionals, the largest print group on LinkedIn, Deborah Corn has more than 25 years of experience working in advertising and marketing. As the Principal, Chief Blogger and self-styled “Intergalactic Ambassador to the Printerverse™” for Print Media Centr, Corn is dedicated to bringing relevant and topical information and resources to the print and Integrated Marketing Services communities. Working behind the scenes, she helps printers to form meaningful relationships with customers and industry suppliers and assists printers in achieving success with their social media marketing endeavors.
How did you find the print industry as a career?
It found me!
I ended up here by accidental association provided by my 25+ year career as an adverting agency print production manager. I was networking for a new position and started a LinkedIn group – Print Production Professionals. Within a few years the entire print industry supply chain from manufacturer to end-user had joined the group. As a result, I found myself in a unique position of being able to speak to and help many people find help and access information by virtue of sitting in between them. Today, Print Production Professionals has over 95,000 members and is the number one print group on LinkedIn.
How does your work with Print Media Centr uniquely suit you to influence the industry?
My goal has always been this: Help everyone create and produce the most effective and efficient print communications as possible – and have a little fun along the way.
The LinkedIn group, in addition to the 30,000+ industry professionals that have gathered through my site and social channels, give me access to events, industry leaders and resources. As the “Intergalatic Ambassador to The Printerverse,” I am able to stay diplomatic and help all sides get the information they need without taking any sides. In simple terms, the entire graphic communications community is my client. I work with industry partners and share printspiration, information and resources to get them whatever they need to succeed.
What role will social media play in the success of print?
Social media contributes to the success and effectiveness of a marketing campaign, and, when effectively used, contributes to the success of marketing a print business. In that sense, we could say that social media is a tool for amplifying all we have to offer.
Whether that is successful, however, is completely reliant on how its used. Not all social media is good, but no social media is definitely bad – especially with the digital natives rising to power by 2020. If you aren’t somewhere in the socialverse – you don’t exist.
How does International Print Day work to serve the industry?
I started International Print Day in 2014. It grew out of an existing weekly, international celebration of print. Every Wednesday the best and brightest print and marketing industry pros from around the world gathered on Twitter for my weekly #PrintChat. These are the real influencers: the print professionals who go to the webinars and read the blogs and attend the demos and go to events and search the sites and USE SOCIAL MEDIA – and share the information they gather to influence their companies, products and services. Taking it global was a natural next step.
Using the same formula of open knowledge sharing through social media, I picked a day in October and – for 24 hours, starting in Australia at 6PM ET (their 9AM) and ending in the US at 6PM ET – we pick a theme and “Help Print Trend the Planet.”
Since its inception, our holiday has been celebrated on six continents, recognized by the US Capital and the United Nations, and generated more than 80 million impressions dedicated to print, shared by thousands of global contributors on Twitter alone. #IPD18 is set for October 17th…save the date!
What are some industry trends you’ve witnessed over the last few years?
The most significant trend lies in the lack of formal communication from the industry directly to the print creators and purchasers. When the paper industry consolidated and, in some cases, removed their spec. rep. force, the end users really took a hit on getting information about new print possibilities that paper swatch books and promotions illustrate so well by example.
Yes, print customers can seek out this information if they know whom to ask, but they don’t in many cases. That leaves them at the mercy of their vendors and the equipment they have. Is a vendor going to share information about a new print technology that they dont own but that could be a better fit for their customer? They aren’t neutral, so no. Paper companies and paper merchants, for the most part, are. They have their partners, but they spread the love and make it clear who they are. The press makers also have paper certified for their machines, so, for me, swatch books and paper promotions are still the best way for a print customer to truly understand and see for themselves what is possible with paper, ink and finishing.
How do you predict these trends will develop over the next few years?
I think the industry lightbulbs started going off in 2017 that there is a huge gap between what is possible and what is actually purchased and produced by print customers. That’s what led me to start #ProjectPeacock and partner with suppliers like Canon Solutions America, Domtar, Scodix and Miralupa to create a digital print show-and-tell program. Our mission is to share printspiration and show the new possibilities with digital print, inkjet, wide format and integrate some cool augmented reality (AR) technology. #ProjectPeacock created digital print fans and new digital print customers. The end game here is to keep the education flowing online 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
How will social media continue to shape the future of the industry?
I think we will see more tie-in to social media channels through print campaigns as AR and other such bridges to digital gain more consumer popularity through brands. However, that is a marketing decision, not a printing decision. As I mentioned earlier, specifically related to the print, I believe social media is a critical communication and marketing tool that is preferred by digital natives. Anyone still ignoring that has no chance of survival – in any industry.