PRINT 17 Opens a New Era for Graphic Communications Trade Shows
Welcome to Chicago and McCormick Place! You may have attended PRINT before. But you’ve never attended a PRINT like PRINT 17.
This year the event has a new spirit, a fresh agenda, and an enriched set of value-adding features. PRINT 17 is a five-day celebration of the people whom it is ultimately all about—the showgoers who’ll throng the aisles of the South Hall from today through the close of the exhibits on Thursday.
“PRINT’s theme is ‘Grow Your Business,’ and that’s our promise to attendees,” says Thayer Long, President of NPES (Booth 3255). “With all of the ROI-enhancing resources that PRINT has to offer—many of them free—there’s no way you’ll go home without something of significant value to the future of your business.”
Much of this value can be found in the stands of the nearly 500 vendors. Together, their presentations create a panorama of printing’s transformation from a machine-age analog process into a digitally enabled medium with new reach and relevance in an omnichannel world.
This is why Kristina Marchitto, Public Relations Manager for Konica Minolta Business Solutions (Booth 2031), calls PRINT 17 “the perfect venue” for her company’s current and future product offerings. “It allows us to introduce and demonstrate new products, reach a broad international audience, keep an eye on critical trends in the industry, and align our company with the needs and requirements of our graphic communications customers.”
Eric Hawkinson, Senior Director of Marketing for Canon Solutions America (Booth 1213), concurs. “PRINT 17 is arguably the largest gathering of print and graphic arts buyers, decision makers, and manufacturers in the world,” he says. “It is THE place to be in our industry for unveiling new equipment and showcasing perennial favorites.”
No one knows better than PRINT 17’s exhibitors how the industry’s needs have evolved and what solution providers must now do to meet them. “This year, shops are really seeing that automation is the key to profitability,” notes Joanne Gore, Director of Marketing, Avanti Systems (Booth 635). “They’re realizing that if they want to grow, succeed, and be profitable, automation is the only way to do it. We’re here to share that message of ROI.”
In recent years, the nature of what people want to see exhibited has changed—and so have the contents and the layout of the show floors. Live equipment demonstrations are still prevalent at PRINT 17, but they’ll correspond to new business models that have emerged as print production tilts increasingly toward short runs, just-in-time manufacturing, personalization, and value-adding special effects.
Frank Tueckmantel, VP of Corporate Marketing at EFI (Booth 2302), notes that a show like PRINT 17 is a best-of-both worlds combination of “clicks and bricks”: a physical venue where attendees can see and evaluate devices that they’ve researched online. EFI is looking forward to interacting with these well-informed customers in face-to-face meetings at its stand.
PRINT 17 showgoers will find the answers they need along the aisles, but particularly in areas dedicated to software for design, workflow, and prepress; press and finishing; materials; in-plant operations; mailing and fulfillment; and news print applications.
Among the solutions on view are more than 40 MUST SEE ’EMS: innovative new products deemed by an expert judging body to be of special interest. Also offering guidance are the Printerverse, a social media hub for general idea exchange; and the Workforce Solutions area, focusing on industry recruitment.
Perusing exhibits remains the number one reason for coming to trade shows, but Long notes that those who attend PRINT 17 will judge the event on more than just what they discover in the booths.
Today, he says, a trade show must deliver learning and networking experiences as well as exposure to new technologies - an objective that NPES has placed front and center at PRINT 17 with a revamped educational program and expanded opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions among showgoers.
The extensive educational program kicked off this morning with OUTLOOK 17, a high-level overview of industry tech and business trends, and the Educator Experience Forum, exploring trends in educational programs in the printing and graphic communications arena. Through Wednesday, attendees can register for more than 50 interest-specific seminars in seven tracks: commercial print, in-plant, packaging, creative and marketing, publishing, franchise print, and mailing and fulfillment.
Led by experts, the seminars are compact in duration (50 minutes) and scheduled to make it easier for attendees to divide their time between the meeting rooms and the show floor.
PRINT 17 will go an extra mile for its attendees with a number of experience-enhancing features that haven’t been seen at the Chicago shows before. Long urges showgoers to take advantage of:
- the free “Distinguished Leader” Speaker Series, with a Monday morning presentation by Tod Szewcyzk (Leo Burnett) on “The Future of People, Technology and Advertising”; and, on Tuesday morning, an overview of the “Print in a Digital World 2018 Trend Report” by Michael Chase (St. Joseph Communications).
- The Learning Experience Theater (Booth 3861), where free sessions will address subjects including patent trolls, capital investment, the future of in-plants, attracting the right talent, and LED UV curing. It also will be the site of open-mic discussion forums and networking happy hours.
- Workforce Solutions, an area where visitors will learn how colleges, universities, and the industry scholarship programs that support them are nurturing the next generation of graphic communications talent. Look for a workforce-themed networking reception on Tuesday at 3 pm.
- the “Celebrate PRINT! Party with a Purpose” takes place from 5:30 to 7:30 pm on Tuesday at House of Blues Chicago. The event, to which all showgoers are invited, will raise money for Family Rescue, a program dedicated to eliminating domestic violence in Chicago.
Other amenities will help to keep time spent at PRINT 17 productive - and maybe even make it fun. There’ll be high-speed Wi-Fi access at no charge throughout the convention center. At the exhibit floor entrance, attendees will find an instant photo op in the form of the life-sized letters P, R, N, and T - the visitor poses between the second and third characters as the I in the name of the event.
These features demonstrate that PRINT 17 is about interweaving the interests and the aspirations of everyone who attends.
Brian Dollard, Director of Strategic Planning and Business Development for the Commercial & Industrial Business Printing Group of Ricoh USA (Booth 2022), credits NPES with making PRINT 17 “a more inclusive event” where all those with problems to solve will find solutions to take away. “Being part of a community and being an advocate of that community” is high on Ricoh’s list of reasons for supporting the show as an exhibitor, Dollard says.
As an attendee, there are ways to maximize the return on the time you’ll invest in exploring what PRINT 17 has to offer.
All of the exhibitors we spoke with agree: have a plan for making your way through the show floor, and don’t base it simply on products. First, identify the problems you want to address and the objectives you want to achieve, and focus your search for solution providers accordingly.
The “My Show Planner” tool at the PRINT 17 website (www.print2017.com) lets you roadmap all the exhibits, seminars, and events you want to cover. With the PRINT 17 mobile app, you can plan your itinerary and carry it with you on your portable device.
And, don’t forget to check each day’s edition of The Daily PRINT for coverage of product launches and other developments that you may want to add to your agenda.
Above all, network. Be a resource for your peers, and let them share the benefit of their experience and success with you.
Have a great, productive, and profitable show!