A raft of speakers from across the marketing and adjacent industries came together at the Everything’s Possible in Integrated Communications (EPIC) 2019 event to hail the unique opportunities offered by print as part of an integrated marketing mix.
Organised by the Independent Print Industries Association (IPIA), the annual event for marketing professionals, which was previously known as Everything’s Possible in Print (EPIP), attracted around 300 delegates and 20 exhibitors to London’s Congress Centre yesterday (3 July).
The event was hosted by journalist and broadcaster Juliet Morris, who opened proceedings with a plea for businesses to not dwell on negatives in times of uncertainty, but to instead “look for new opportunities and new ways of doing things”.
“I believe that [we are all] as well placed as any politician to guess what may or may not happen on 31 October. On that basis then, we need to turn ‘the B word’ into a different interpretation because there isn’t somebody guiding us and therefore it needs to be B for brave and B for bold,” she said.
Karen Fraser, head of strategy at Credos/Advertising Association, was the first keynote speaker, and took delegates through the latest Credos report that examines why public trust in UK advertising has been eroded, and how this can be addressed.
Peter Docker, co-author of Find Your Why, followed with a passionate pitch about how purpose lies behind every business that inspires trust and loyalty and that people don’t buy what you do, but they buy why you do it.
Mark Wright, founder of ClimbOnline and winner of BBC’s The Apprentice in 2014, opened the afternoon’s sessions with an enthusiastic telling of his rags-to-riches story before taking questions about print and marketing from the audience and Morris.
He implored printers to talk more to marketers about what print can do for them, rather than speaking about it in technical terms.
“Stop trying to talk about the features because we don’t understand it or don’t care. Talk about why I should have it and what it’s going to solve for me and watch your sales go up,” he said.
“Print is so important in your business and we do as much print advertising as online and any other advertising that I do. I don’t look at the ROI on flyers or putting an ad in a magazine, I look at marketing spend as one whole and then the ROI on the company.
“Because if you break the ROI down it would never make sense and no business would be marketing. You need to look at a longer cycle going across more channels and watch how successful you become.”
He added: “As long as one person that didn’t know about your business sees your business from a marketing campaign, that’s now successful. You don’t know when they might buy your product down the line.
“People switch things off too soon. Cancelling a whole campaign because a first drop didn’t work is craziness to me. Marketing is an attempt over a good six to eight months of saturating the same area with the same message consistently before you know the results.”
Other speakers included REaD Group customer engagement director Scott Logie, Hashtag Ad founder Rupa Shah, Whistl managing director Mark Davies and BPMA chief executive Jon Birrrell.
Speaking after the event, the IPIA said it had already received some great feedback from delegates.
Chief executive Marian Stefani called EPIC “an important and very different type of event that shows marketers what print can do” while chairman Mike Roberts added that it “demonstrated that within our industry there are impressive levels of skill, talent, knowledge and insight, all of which is available to brand owners and marketers”.
He also highlighted the use of a wide array of printed collateral around the Congress Centre to support the event’s cause, including large-format banners, posters and textiles as well various leaflets, magazines, personalised letters and promotional items.
Exhibitors also praised the event. Fujifilm product manager for digital printing and press systems Mark Stephenson said. “The value of events like this is to learn how the industry works and what we’re missing, and to stop living in a box. Unless you can take everything in like a sponge then you will just end up pushing the same buttons and getting the same results.”
Business development executive Wallace Coxon added: “Events like this are very thought-provoking and help us to learn and achieve more by thinking in different and progressive ways.”