Can you Believe the Hype? Is it Print OR Cut?

With the mass of information that we all receive in today’s world, from social media, TV, radio, newspaper, etc., do you find it harder and harder to figure out what is real and what is hype? I know I do. With all the media’s competing for your attention each outlet has to do something to attract you. It seems the number one tool they use it to add some hype or sensationalism.

Let’s take a winter storm that rolled through St. Louis. I know certain parts of the area were hit harder than others, and the part where I’m at was not hit very hard at all. If you read some of the local newspapers or watched the local news, you would have thought the world was going to freeze over and we were all going to be popsicles in the matter of days. Here is a funny spoof on our local news coverage of what was warmly called Snowpocalypse 2011. (Please read at your own risk – there is some foul language in it so be ready if you are easily offended.)

Yes, we did have a winter storm. Yes some people were affected more than others, but the world did not end. The problem is that people were freaked out, things shut down that probably didn’t need to shut down and there was a run on the milk and bread at the grocery store.

It was all because the news stations wanted to get our attention. I guess it was good for the grocery stores, but was it good for the everyday citizen that is now going to have to throw out bad milk and bread they bought when they didn’t really need it?

The thing is, this happens in business too. We run out and buy the milk and bread and cutter and screen printing press because we were hyped into it, not because it is the best decision for our business.

While our industry is slow to catch into social media, some of our colleagues are using it very extensively. I think that is great, but again, how do we sort the hype from the information that we can really use. For example here are 2 posts from the same company. Let’s see if we can see the hype (some info changed to protect the not so innocent):

“Last day for #FREE ground freight on all #{insertproductnamehere}! This special will not be extended!!” Posted on January 31st.

“Free shipping on orders over $299 for the month of February. Order online with promo code…” Posted on February 1st

So where is the hype? Well if you missed it that is understandable as the context of who the posts are from are helpful. I don’t want to call anyone out, so I’ll just explain. The hype is that the first posts says the special will not be extended, but the second post does just that, it extend the promo for a full month as all the {insertproductnamehere} they sell are over $299. So if you bought the {insertproductnamehere} on January 31st to get the free shipping, even though your company was not ready to make that investment, then you bought the hype.

Can you Believe the Hype? Print OR Cut, Print AND Cut?

Let me give you another example. For some reason we all want to buy that product that does everything or has multiple function regardless of what the functions are. Now I can see the logic to it from some respects, but let me be the devil’s advocate. In our industry the print and cut machine seems to be a hot item that lots of people are talking about, but why? Is the product cheaper that buying 2 separate machines that will do the same thing? NO (it is about $1,000 more expensive actually). Is the product faster that having 2 separate machines running? NO (it is actually slower because you have to wait for one function to be complete before you can do the other, and you have to wait for the ink to dry). The only real reason I can come up with is the area you need to use the equipment would be smaller than having 2 separate machine. But what happens if your printer goes down, will your cutter still work? Not if you have the print and cut machine. But I don’t think we think about those things. We just believe the hype and we have to have that multifunction machine.

Are you still unsure whether you are believing the hype or not? Well let me give you one more example. This one is from a while back and it is pretty buried now because I think the hype was uncovered. At one point a respected member of our industry was promoting what seemed to be the next great thing. There were tweets, blogs, forum discussions and videos from the experts. Our industries’ association even “pimped” it in their webinar about hot trends for 2011. I imagine they were selling this special product as fast as they could ship it, but then the hype started to be revealed. The fact that it was just a normal product they already sold, just applied with a different technique started to come to light. Then the issues with why that technique was not used in the first place started to come up and now you have to really search to find anything on it anymore. This wasn’t more than 4 months ago and now you can’t even get a sample of that “new” hot product. No explanation on their site they just buried the hype.

Hopefully that opens your eyes a little and makes you think before you make that impulse buy or before you retweet that news story, or tell a friend about needing to run to Walmart to prepare for the next Snowpocalypse.