When you visit the Printerverse, you learn how printers can Carpe Printum — seize the print and get ahead of the competition! The Printerverse is a cool trade show feature at Print / Graph Expo. It is brought to you by Print Media Centr and its Intergalactic Alliance of the Printerverse.
This year, the Alliance continued the tradition of presenting new concepts, exceptional thought leadership, and leading-edge print technology. Throughout the show, all of the panel discussions were Livestreamed online. You can catch the video replays on Print Media Centr’s YouTube channel. Both at the Print show and in the Printerverse, the topic of print was enthusiastically seized, cogitated and celebrated.
Let me know if you agree with my Printerverse takeaways on how printers can Carpe Printum!
1. Workflow is all about EFFICIENCY.
Whether it’s called workflow or something else, you can only save time and money if you improve it. Customers rarely pay for improved quality or your new press. You have to capture your savings on the other end, by improving everything — from how the job is sold to how it enters your shop to how it’s produced and delivered. In each place where you gain workflow efficiency, you unblock a bottleneck and open up a new place to improve. Do this.
2. INTEGRATION is the wave of the future.
Integrative technology brings together silos of information and production in new ways. That can be achieved through open source solutions, plug ins, software, or other “enablers.”
In fact, you’re probably facing choices right now about whether to maintain certain silos and keep using proprietary technologies — or start choosing open tech now — because open source is the future
Leaders in the printing industry will choose some version of integration to get ahead. And though systems integrators will merge and go out of business, it’s still a necessary step. Will your choice be the winner? Maybe not, but you’ll be ahead of the pack because you’ll be implementing technology, incorporating new systems into your company culture, and learning how to adapt to change on the fly.
3. Smart INTERFACES and mobile apps are what users want.
This isn’t the same as #2. This is about how technology can solve a problem, whereas #3 is about customer interfaces and their experience. For example, a smarter interface may mean automated texts to announce when a job is at various stages of production. It may mean augmented reality (A/R) so a customer can see a proof or artificial intelligence (AI) so jobs can be dynamically created on the fly from customer specs. An interface may push your comfort zone as a provider, and you’ll worry about showing too much of your operational weaknesses to your customer. However, customers increasingly want to interact with their print provider and with their projects, as you work on them. Customers want to interact in real time with their own co-workers and with people on your team who have answers (customer service, sales, delivery, etc.) Customers want a smarter, more interactive interface than whatever you’re using now.
4. Long runs of anything become SHORT and “CUSTOM” sooner or later.
As you buy equipment to meet future needs, understand that you’ll ultimately need the flexibility to do variable and custom work. No matter what you’re producing, machines always get faster, run lengths always get shorter, the profitable jobs are the ones that have more value to the customer … and that means custom work is always at the end of that logic chain.
5. Show customers things that are DIFFERENT.
Even though they say they want “something like this,” customers’ eyes are drawn to exciting color, sparkly bling, entertaining interactivity, and substrates that push the limits.
6. Pay attention to EVERYTHING.
Solutions can come from non-standard places. Ask customers about their businesses. Get out there and see how other businesses handle your types of challenges. Watch your competitors. Listen to your equipment and paper suppliers. Research and pay attention to trends.
7. Understand the power of DATA.
Yo future-proof your business, learn how to work with data, and see what other industries are doing to push the limits of how data can be leveraged. Understand security, privacy and regulations. Talk to experts about how marketing data can help you make your own business more successful.
8. Be FIRST.
Work with vendors to test new technologies. Talk to them about what’s on the horizon, even if you don’t understand how it applies to your business (yet).
9. Say YES!
Embrace change, network generously, help students and schools, keep yourself and your business moving-moving-moving!
10. Tell and re-tell the story of print’s SUCCESS.
Never stop talking about the myriad ways that print can solve a problem. Show customers how print can fit into (or be central to) an integrated campaign. Demonstrate how print helps them do something better, catch more attention, drive more results, and make them more money. There’s plenty that customers want to know about how print can work for them. Tell them!
The Printerverse at Print / GraphExpo is an amazing and exciting place. Things move quickly, crowds keep the energy level lively, and the ideas that are discussed are often mind blowing. These 10 #Printerverse takeaways may not apply to your company right now, but they will … and soon. The time to get ahead of the competition is always NOW, so get cracking!
Read more from Sandy here.
Sandy Hubbard is a marketing strategist for printing companies. She builds sales and marketing programs that can be sustained over the long haul, with affordable tools and your own people…and without stress! Find @sandyhubbard on Twitter each Wednesday at 4 PM ET, assisting #PrintChat host Deborah Corn @PrintMediaCentr with a lively online discussion for printers and those who love print.