A new course goes virtual and reveals a new revenue source.
The Print Services and Distribution Association knew its members wanted to help those new to their industry gain a deeper understanding of the fundamentals of printing. Hearing that need, the organization designed a course called Print Basics.
“The association wanted to give people who were new to print a quick, deep saturation about all the intricacies of the print industry: everything from color theory to the way to connect different printing methods,” says Matt Bruno, PSDA executive vice president. “It’s quite eclectic, quite diverse, and quite expansive, as you can imagine.”
The program was designed in 2019 and set to launch in the spring of 2020. When the pandemic hit, PSDA saw only one option. “Hearing what our members had been saying for years, we knew there was no way we could not execute this program in 2020,” Bruno says.
From the satisfaction scores, the highest ratings were for these manufacturer walkthroughs.
While much of the course could readily be converted to virtual, there was a crucial, in-person component that required more thought.
“We were going to do in-person walkthroughs of manufacturing facilities where printing was actually being done—for people who have never seen a large-scale printing press,” Bruno says.
PSDA spent significant effort redesigning the walkthroughs to fit a virtual environment.
“They didn’t get to feel the hum of the machines or see the ink being laid down on paper,” Bruno says. “What they got instead was a virtual walkthrough while somebody was hand-holding them, but without the loudness and without some of the other concerns of being in the manufacturing facility. From the satisfaction scores, the highest ratings were for these manufacturer walkthroughs.”
While the program had to deal with the realities of being launched during a pandemic, it met its budget and was well received by members, many of whom have been talking up the program to colleagues.
Due to that success, PSDA is offering the program twice this year. The first session uses the virtual framework the group shifted to because of the pandemic. However, Bruno hopes the second session—expected later in the year—can look more like the in-person program originally planned, provided it’s safe.
The program is also helping PSDA find new nondues revenue opportunities. “The virtual walkthroughs were so impactful that we’re in the process of using that model to create a new sponsorship opportunity for our supplier members,” Bruno says. “We can help them learn how to conduct these facility walkthroughs and what the best methodologies are.”