Ever wonder how your Print business measured up to others? Sure you have. Who doesnt want to know if they are “normal” – well as normal as Print people can be that is!
Im really proud to be working with Tim Greene and InfoTrends to help introduce METRICS to all of you. It’s a FREE tool they have created to help Printers know where they stand in relationship to the market, and pinpoint areas that could help you improve the management of your shops.
The more Printers that participate the better it is for everyone, so after you read this interview please share it or the link to Metrics with your connections, and Tweet this:
How does your Print Biz Measure Up? Find out now with METRICS from @InfoTrends http://ow.ly/fjywd #print #digitalprint #wideformat
Thanks for helping me spread the word and GOOD LUCK with your results!
TG: I’m the Director of Wide Format research at InfoTrends. My job is to research, track, and forecast the market for wide format digital printing systems on a worldwide basis. InfoTrends is a market research and consulting company in the digital printing and imaging business that has been around for more than 20 years and I have been here since 1997.
DC: What do you love about wide format?
TG: There are two main things about wide format that I love; first is the people that are doing it, the shop owners and operators, the distributors, the manufacturers, there seems to be something special about this segment of the market that attracts great people. The second thing is that it is just flat-out a lot of fun to follow this business because these applications are a lot of fun to work with.
DC: Tell us about Metrics and why Printers should participate.
TG: Metrics is a free, live, on-line benchmarking tool that printing companies can use to see how they compare to their peers on a number of operational and financial ratios. We think this project helps printers manage their business because there is real value in understanding some of these ratios – take, for example, materials costs. If your materials costs are higher than industry average you might ask what are the prices you are paying, or what is the mix of materials you are using – at least understanding the reasons for being above or below the industry averages can be important for the management of the shop. There are some vendor-specific tools that do kind of the same thing, but our Metrics tool is totally vendor and brand agnostic.
DC: Is this survey open to all Printers, or wide format only?
TG: It is open to all. We have data from many printers in the commercial business, in the in-plant segment and among wide format shops.
DC: What will InfoTrends be doing with the data? Will people participating in the survey end up on mailing lists from hell?
TG: Our goal with this project is to serve the market, so the data that the shop owner/operator supplies is used to compile industry averages, as well as the highs, and lows within a statistical range for each of the ratios. If people want to they can establish a free and get an update on their benchmarking report with or without submitting any new or additional data. We will use the averages and the ranges for some of these ratios within our consulting work, but we will not use any company’s individual data, and all participants will always remain unidentified to all of the other people that take the survey.
If they just want the one-shot view, then they can opt out and never hear from us again. We absolutely never sell or re-use e-mail addresses unless people opt in to our research panels, and they can always opt out. Either way, we never sell e-mail addresses, we never have, that is not our business.
DC: We were both at SGIA Expo this year, and there is no doubt the event was a success on numerous levels. What was your biggest take-away?
TG: The wide format digital graphics business is very active, the fact that there were record crowds at SGIA is a great indication of just how active it is. I’d say the biggest takeaway was the convergence that we’ve been seeing in the market between the traditional segments within the printing market. HP, EFI, Fujifilm and others all specifically identified commercial print as targets for their high-end wide format printers. Frankly this convergence among the segments of the printing market is one of the biggest motivators for us in creating this “Metrics” tool – because companies from outside of the wide format sector may have expectations for revenue and profitability that are either too high or too low, which can create kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy as it relates to volume and profits.
DC: Lastly, if you were going to give the commencement speech at Northeastern University, what would your message be regarding wide format printing in the cross media mix?
TG: Signage and graphics can be a powerful part of the cross-media mix. Our research indicates that most print buyers of signage and graphics have had little involvement in cross-media, but those that have absolutely love it. Steve Jobs even once said “creativity is just connecting things” and I think the use of signage and graphics to drive cross-media interaction is a great example of what he meant.