The inaugural PrintWeekLive! – billed as a show ‘for the industry, by the industry’ – took place at Wasps Arena in Coventry on March 7-8. Organised by PrintWeek, the leading publication for the printing trade, the event was designed as a showcase for technological advances, an arena for sharing best practice, and an opportunity to network and do business.

Over 2,000 people visited the event over two days, where they browsed a show floor featuring brands such as Ricoh, Canon, Heidelberg and Xerox.

Hocking said: “We used the event to make sure that we knew and understood the capabilities of the new technology coming onto the market. We are currently looking at investing in some cutting-edge digital finishing equipment, and we made some useful contacts in that area.”

He added: “It’s crucial that we keep up with rapid changes in printing technology; it’s one of the many reasons that our clients – local, national and international businesses – stick with us.”

A conference schedule boasting inspirational speakers covered topics including ‘The Changing Role Of Print In A Multichannel World’ and ‘Blurring The Line Between Digital And Print Marketing’.

Hocking reflected: “The talks I attended reinforced my strongly held belief – backed up by talking to our clients – that print is evolving alongside digital, and remains an important part of the marketing mix.”

He was asked to take part in the panel discussion ‘Small Is Beautiful’.

All panel members represented companies which have previously won the prestigious title of SME of the Year at the annual PrintWeek Awards –  which Nationwide won in 2015.

Hocking explained: “The running theme of the discussion was how to achieve success as small printing businesses competing on the national stage. My answers revolved around continual investment in both print technology and environmental measures; and relentless hard work of course!”

He added: “We were all asked for a piece of business advice at the end and mine was; work hard and follow your gut instinct. If you don’t go for it, you’ll never know.”

PrintWeekLive! was a great networking opportunity according to Hocking: “I met many leaders in the field, caught up with old colleagues and forged new relationships. It was a great event, full of positivity and useful advice.”