View from the publisher – December 2016

If anyone reading this thinks that print is somehow dying, here’s a reality check. A recent promotional campaign from electronics giant Sony was attempting to get 20% more repeat business. It rolled out a marketing program that involved both online and print advertising. Guess what? The print program pulled about 75% more than the digital program – and most importantly, resulted in 90% more repeat business than the digital one. The simple fact is that, in everything I’ve read to date, printed direct mail continues to outperform online digital marketing by about 4 to 1.

This is not surprising to us in the industry, even though the competition out there is still extremely tough. It’s also not surprising when you consider something called “e-mail fatigue.” I get dozens of e-mails daily, as I’m sure most of you do. But when I get one colourful printed piece that I can hold in my hands, it gets my immediate attention – and I usually read it. Best of all, I don’t have to go through dozens of e-mails and trash half of them! So please, keep your focus and keep selling and promoting print, which is what we all do best.

In my column last month, I mentioned the sad passing of Manroland Sheetfed CEO Michael Mugavero. Once again, I feel just as sad hearing of the death of two more industry leaders:  Sparsh Bhargava and Warren Wilkins. Presstek President and CEO Sparsh Bhargava died unexpectedly on Oct. 28. He led the company to great success during the four years that he directed the business while at American Industrial Partners, owners of Presstek. Warren Wilkins started Webcom over 35 years ago. Today, the Toronto-based printer is a leading book manufacturer, serving publishers worldwide. He died peacefully on Nov. 3 at 88.

As 2016 comes to an end, I’d like to thank our advertisers, readers and website visitors who helped us substantially increase our website traffic compared to last year. We’re looking forward to another successful 2017. Finally, a callout to the underdog Ottawa Redblacks, who beat the favoured Calgary Stampeders 39-33 in a heart-stopping overtime win in this year’s 104th Grey Cup.

It’s that time of year to get some well-earned R&R and think about the reasons why we all work so hard:  our families, loved ones and close friends. From all of us at Graphic Arts Magazine, have a wonderful Christmas and a holiday season filled with love, joy and hope.

As always, stay positive and stay focused.


Joe Mulcahy Publisher, Graphic Arts Magazine