Business Board Director Nigel Elkes speaks up for the printing industry

We are essentially a platform for the print and direct mail sector to engage and communicate with each other and prospective clients. Through our business directory, kit exchange, recruitment centre and consultancy services we enable our members to generate genuine business leads, buy or sell print equipment and advertise their job vacancies.

We’re basically here to support and serve the print and direct mail industry in any way we can.

What are the biggest changes you see happening in your industry? And how do they impact you?

There are a few, but the increasing perception that ‘print is dead’ or a fading industry is probably the biggest challenge we face. We live in a digital age, and perhaps to some, print has become something of a novelty. We’re seeing a lot of print businesses making positive changes to challenge this perception, whilst continually coming up with innovative ideas to integrate print with digital to take consumers on the journey from offline to online.

We’ve seen printed magazine adverts that can actually charge your phone with the help of a solar printed panel to lenticular printed displays that have messages only visible to people of a certain height, targeted specifically to children.

Digital channels, whilst perceived by many to be a threat to the print industry, have actually pushed and driven print businesses to be innovative and think outside of the box as more marketing departments and agencies are looking for unique and creative ways to engage with their audience. For the most part, many printers are embracing these changes and stepping up to the challenge, our job is to encourage them to do so and support them in any way we can.

What do you want people to know about your work?

Anything that is seen as competition to an industry or a process should be seen as an opportunity to progress and evolve. The opportunities for print to embrace and integrate with digital channels are endless, it just takes a little creative thinking and research.

One of the challenges the print industry has is that it is estimated that 80% of the industry as a whole is aged 40+. On the plus side, that’s a whole wealth of knowledge and experience to tap in to. The flip side of that is that it means there is a real lack of fresh ideas and new perspectives funneling into the industry. If we can collectively effect a better balance between experience and youth, print will continue to evolve and prosper.

By finding solutions and ideas to integrate print with digital, the end result will be exciting and engaging content that really appeals to the target audience.

What are your biggest goals?

Many businesses measure success in terms of profit margin. Whilst profit is of course integral to any business, we tend to measure our success by the number of people we can engage with and influence.

Our biggest goal is to support and assist the print industry as it evolves and progresses by educating and influencing our members to take a look at how they do things currently. By challenging the status quo of how print has been traditionally carried out through the years, we strive to help businesses offer a more complete and flexible service that can really engage consumers across a number of channels to create a strong marketing mix.

Part of this process will involve encouraging young people to choose print as a career path, so we can facilitate that influx of fresh perspectives and ideas. We’re champions of the apprenticeship model, and actively promote the many print related courses available.

By working with colleges and schools, we can really make a positive impact on the industry and help bring a better balance between experience and youth to ensure the industry remains a vital part of the marketing mix for years to come.

Who and what would you need to reach your goals fast?

Our business model is built upon engagement and interaction with printers and print related businesses and professionals.

In order to reach and exceed our goals, we need their buy in to achieve them. We’re very much aware reaching these ‘fast’ may be unrealistic, educating and promoting change can be a slow process.

We are making good progress and reaching out to a lot of printers and schools and colleges who have really bought into our ethos and what we are trying to do, we just need to maximise our exposure within the industry which we continue to work hard on doing.

Finally, who should contact you and why?

Any print business or print related company or professional who is passionate about the industry and its progression.

We create genuine business opportunities through our trade directory and offer a marketplace to buy and sell surplus equipment. Through our recruitment centre we continue to place print professionals at print businesses whilst also offering apprentices to companies who wish to take the apprenticeship route.

Through our network of consultants we cover a plethora of financial, HR and production advisory services that businesses can utilise and benefit from.

If you work in the print industry, you’ll find we can offer assistance in most areas and if you’re just looking for advice or guidance, our support network will be of genuine value to anyone who needs our help!

Interview courtesy of Printing2web

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