With innovation in mind most speakers brought up the idea of linking print and digital channels


Hosted by Fujifilm in its Bedford showroom, the 2018 IPIA Innovation in Print conference on 10 May aimed to educate both its members and the market to find opportunities where others may only see challenges, writes Stephanie Anthony.

Particular focus this year was of course on GDPR, but the overall message was positive – print can benefit from GDPR and printers shouldn’t be afraid of the changes coming into place. As with all IPIA events there was also ample opportunity for networking.

Andy Kent, new business manager at Fujifilm UK kicked off proceedings with a discussion on marginal gains and how in this communications game ‘print has a lot to offer.’ Kevin O’Donnell from Xerox UK took up this message, saying ‘we need to shout about print more’, as ‘print solves problems.’

With innovation in mind most speakers brought up the idea of linking print and digital channels, through multi-format platforms, social media and smart packaging, for example. Antalis’ Powercoat Alive sparked a buzz, with Jim Whitehead explaining the technology behind the “connected” paper.

The keynote was given by Dee Blick, chartered marketer and fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing, and lifelong advocate of the power of print and ‘lumpy mail.’ She forecasted that GDPR would make e-marketers turn to direct mail, and explained how printers should prepare for producing targeted, personalised communications.

The afternoon formed the bulk of the GDPR-focused content, with presentations from Amanda Griffiths of Royal Mail MarketReach, Charlotte Graham-Cumming of Ice Blue Sky, and Nick Eckert from GDPR365. The overall theme was consistent, that print can benefit from this ‘data challenge’. 

Rob Finnie of Nettl gave a case study of how his own company has diversified to grow print revenue in this changing climate, and advised other printers to do the same – share knowledge and consider other platforms throughout the creative process. 

The conference was a celebration of print, reminding us what we can achieve as an industry, and to not be afraid of change. ‘We have to drive our industry. Talk to customers and make them reconsider their relationship with print,’ added Marian Stefani, CEO of the IPIA.