Yes, we know drupa 2020 has been moved and Covid restrictions mean that there will be no trade shows for 2020 at least. Still vendors want to launch new products and since even open houses are out of question for now the last resort is virtual events. There have been a few in the last couple of months.
There are pundits that extol the virtue of virtual, but I find them somewhat unsatisfying – and I know that I am not alone. There are big differences in the quality of the virtual events as well, in terms of content, presentation and getting the attendants enthusiastic. But the main point is that marketing anything around print, which distinguishes itself as something multi-sensory and tactile, only virtually is a bit dicey.A remedy is to send print samples for virtual events and thanks to all companies that did so. Seeing a slide talking about premium quality is one thing, but holding a print sample in my hand and looking closely at it is something completely different (and if you think this is a completely unrealistic criteria of a print geek, talk to printing companies buying equipment). Ideal would be getting samples direct from the press (yes, I too helped in a print shop selecting good prints as specimens for the print buyer), but we all need to make compromises nowadays.
The prints collected might bring home the point of nice quality but seldom do the print samples cause something like excitement. I can usually tell this by the jaded look of my wife when more print sampled are piling on my home-office desk. With the last box arriving it was somewhat different. It was printed on the outside, contained a model of the press launched, and a bunch of print samples on different substrates and with different types of finishing for the Canon ProStream 1800 launch. The motives were nice to look at as well. My wife even took the box to a friend to show how nice prints can be. For me this is a sign how print can still engage and surprise – in addition to proving the print quality of the press.
OK, we are all print converts, knowing that you can do wonderful things in print. But it is still reassuring to hold examples of that in your hand.
It is understandable that the Covid crisis is affecting all companies and watching costs is paramount in the current environment. But I believe it is a good investment to put some of the money saved into materials that excite and demonstrate the strength of the new piece of technology launched. Print samples for virtual events might not be the only way, but it can be very effective.