Encyclopedia Britannica is Ending Print – So Should Your Event

OK, if an old, stodgy institution like the Encyclopedia Britannica can end their print run to concentrate on their online product, do you not see that it might actually be time for your event to end print as well?

Print looks old, print is not green, printed materials are heavy and really, only a small percentage of your audience is going to miss all of your printed crap.

Sure, you can print a small piece but please, for your attendee’s sake, take a more digital approach to your meeting and conference media.


I get this a lot and it drives me freaking crazy. This is such an old argument that it makes me want to gag. Yes, a small percentage of your audience will be seriously bummed but oh well, this is the 21st century Sparky, time to get with the program.

Think about this for a minute.

Remember when online registration came on the scene? How many people screamed about how their attendees would never go for that, their attendees wanted to phone, mail or fax their event registrations. I had clients up in arms.

Associations and event producers went kicking and screaming to the digital registration era and low and behold, their attendees were able to breathe a collective sigh of relief as they were able to get things done more effectively.

I made a bet with a client that his attendees would totally go for online registration and he swore they would not. To get him to go along, I built the registration system myself and we launched it the same day that the mailings went out (because he said it would not matter, they would wait for the brochure). I even let him throw in a bit in the email about how the paper version was coming soon if they wanted to wait.

BAM, 93% of the attendees went with online registration the first year, 100% the following. My client has never looked back.

The same is true of tossing print. You are the one that is worried, not anyone else.

So, what are you worried about? What is holding you back? Stop being such a sucker for your own insecurities and find a way to deliver your content. God, there are only about 5000 methods to deliver your materials cross platform so they work on laptops, phones and tablets.

Shit, you could spend less money building an “app for that” than you do just getting the printer to fire up that monstrosity he uses to produce all of your tree killing crap.

Yeah, I know that there are exceptions to the rule but really, paper should be relegated to wiping our butts, not informing and educating our attendees.

Image: Chat-Lunatique

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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