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Is The Death of Print Being Over-Stated?

Every day, you see proof that print’s dying. Almost all publications — from newspapers to magazines to catalogs and brochures — are getting smaller, both in page counts and trim sizes.

But every now and then you come across some encouraging signs that there just may continue to be a viable role for print down the road. This morning I read a small article in The New York Times about how e-commerce shoe retailer Zappo’s is succeeding in mailing print catalogs. The article made me recall the kinds of articles I used to write during the print catalog’s heyday when I was an editor with the former Catalog Age magazine (now Multichannel Merchant).

The Zappo’s article showed that Zappo’s can bring in much bigger orders from customers who respond to its print catalogs than it does from online customers. That’s always been the case since the Web came along, and it’s showing no signs of changing. Makes me wonder if the costs of print, postal and paper can level off in the next few years whether that business may be rejuvenated.

As for newspapers and magazines, that remains anybody’s guess right now.

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The Media/Marketing Blur Gets Blurrier

Last week, I blogged in this space about how the lines between media and marketing keep blurring (see https://paulmiller1960.wordpress.com/2009/11/11/how-the-marketing-media-lines-keep-blurring/). Since then, I’ve experienced this first-hand, as it pertains to me, my skills and my background.

Having taken a very aggressive approach to job hunting since I heard of my impending layoff as editor-in-chief of All About ROI magazine (allaboutroimag.com) a couple of weeks ago, I’ve zeroed in on these two industries. Media being the one I have the hands-on skills and background in; marketing being the topic I’ve mostly covered throughout my career.

Now the opportunities are starting to roll in on both fronts. Some people showing interest in me are coming from the marketing field. I’m getting job descriptions that clearly call for people with a lifetime (and appropriate college degree) spent in marketing and its related fields. And we’re not even talking the public relations side of marketing; we’re talking hard-core marketing, the stuff people learned about in business school, while I was studying writing and editing in J-school.

What do I know? I’ve played the role of an outsider all my career being a journalist — a mere observer of these people’s businesses. Yet most conversations I’ve had so far have gone great. So I’m encouraged that they’re open to a cross-over type of situation here.

I’m also confident that if/when one of them hires me, I may need to hit the ground crawling a bit, but soon enough I’ll be able to run and execute. I’m a firm believer that most jobs can be learned on the spot, and if you have the background knowledge, you can not only prove your worth, but be a slam-dunk for whomever hires you.

In the media and marketing worlds, in particular, this appears to be far more doable than in other fields. The kind of B-to-B journalism I’ve spent my entire career in is becoming far more marketing-driven. Heck, that has a lot to do with why I’m being laid off. Neither myself nor my colleagues on our editorial staff at my current company bring home the bacon to our company’s CFO. But now I can take my skills and show real ROI at another company. And given that rare 2009-2010 opportunity, I’m more confident than ever this can become reality.

P.S.: One of my favorite rock bands is Blur (http://blur.co.uk/), but I swear I’ve exorcised no conflict of interest in the headline or theme of this article!