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Here is something to consider if you think print is dead

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 14:35 -- Chris Cooke

When I got the call I thought my wife’s head was going to blow off.

Mrs. Cooke had just spent $140.00 at Sunripe Freshmarket in Sarnia and stumbled across a sign that read, “we only advertise on social media”.

To make matters worse there was a jar by the front door offering a prize to customers that provided their name and email address so they could receive email blasts.

“They appear to be abandoning print,” noted my wife who co-owns Huron Web Printing and Graphics in nearby Wyoming, a company that prints millions of grocery, furniture and retail inserts and employs 92 people locally.

At this point I should point out that while Mrs. Cooke has the latest in technology to build inserts and web sites and dabbles in electronic marketing you would not find her on social media.

Aside from being hacked, she has little interest in the Facebook, Twitter and Instagram online crowd.

I should point out while Mrs. Cooke’s husband is old, at just 48 Mrs. Cooke is not.

Which brings me to Covington, Kentucky and the Laurel Grocery Company food show.

There the guest speaker is Kenneth Gronbach, author of The Age Curve and his latest book Upside, profiting from the profound demographic shifts ahead. We print thousands of inserts for Laurel’s chain of independent grocers in Ohio, Kentucky and Pennsylvania.

I introduce myself as Laurel’s printer adding “print is dead you know?” Surprisingly he responds, “no it is not and I will tell you why”.

During his 90 minute presentation Gronbach, who lists himself as a demographer, stops, centers me out and throws up a slide of mailboxes. “These boxes are at the end of my driveway” and he proceeded to explain how print drives t the Internet and drives social media. “People love to pore over the printed word and ink on paper has the right feel and a longevity”.

As I write this the Canadian Tire catalogue is being delivered throughout Sarnia. According to my mailman it weights a pound and is an onerous delivery task that will take three days.

On the landing to our loft is a black and white picture of my dad and mum with me sitting in a little red wagon purchased at Canadian Tire. I ripped a picture of the wagon out of the catalogue and left it on the kitchen table for my dad to find at Christmas.

Sunripe Freshmarket won a Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Business Achievement Award for marketing. All of it of course was online which attracted both positive and negative comments.

I can’t help but believe the Chamber should consider the Judith and Norman Alex Art Gallery next year. The Gallery’s exhibitions and programs booklet, which arrived by direct mail, is outstanding.

It mentions Facebook, Twitter and Instagram but the printed version; the hard copy is still kicking around our house. There is an Art of Writing course in December.

I think I will rip out the page and stick it on the refrigerator.

Fine Print