- DIGITAL PRINT -
To Whom? - With What?
There is a learning curve to selling, servicing, managing, and producing successful digital print "Solutions", and this learning curve is best relegated to lesser customers.
July 2004 -- Unless your company is starting from scratch, your foremost prospects for additional printing of digital services are your current clients! This is no brain wave, but which current client? Most likely, not the biggest and the best. There is a learning curve to selling, servicing, managing, and producing successful digital print "Solutions", and this learning curve is best relegated to lesser customers. The biggest and the best may be demanding a digital "Solution" or have a recognized need for such, but should be approached carefully.
Some of the other qualifiers to be used in assessing which current clients would be best targets for digital printing and other digital services (database management and development, digital creative, digital photography, mailing and fulfillment, inventory management, etc.) could include:
* An expressed need for short run versioned personalized or other digital printing alternatives.
* An extremely aggressive company with aggressive executives.
* A company with high profit products, which can afford the additional cost of short run, versioned or personalized digital printing, while returning greater sales and therefore greater profits for the company.
* An innovative marketing company.
* A company already committed to digital printing (yes, the sales person has to ask).
* A company in an extremely competitive industry where new forms of differentiation are important to the company's success.
* A company where the product and information on the product changes frequently.
There is one more major qualifier to consider. There are always major companies in select, targeted industries that have already successfully utilized digital print, know its advantages and have received proven benefits. These industries include:
o Insurance & Healthcare
o Banks & Financial services firms
o Pharmaceutical firms o Utilities
o Wholesalers & Distributors
o Non-profit Organizations
o Health and Medical (including Hospitals)
o Education (including Colleges and Universities)
o Retailers o High-Tech Companies & Software Developers
o Advertising Agencies o Creatives and Designers
Extremely pertinent and useful case studies for these and other industries have been created by the Print On Demand Initiative. For more information on the Enhancements & Digital Sales and Marketing Success Series, the Annual PODi "Best Practice" series or the monthly PODi newsletter containing a featured case study of a successful digital sales/marketing campaign, contact http://www.podi.org/.
A majority of the print applications that are logically converted from traditional to short run, versioned, personalized one-to-one digital printing are mainly sales and marketing oriented, but not exclusively. The following a chart from PODi (www.podi.org) illustrates the distribution of digital applications by dollars of sales.
Main Digital Print Product Produced
It is important to note that most often, customers are not aware of how a short run, versioned, or individualized digitally printed product can prove the effectiveness of their printing, and the results they will achieve in dollars of printing expenditures versus the increased results achieved.
This all directs to the sales representatives attention to the analysis and discovery of a "Solution" which increase the ROPE (Return on Printing Expenditures) by the digital print sales representative. The following is a list of potential questions sales reps can use to help discover new opportunities:
* What major changes do you see occurring in your company in new directions, new products, new services, new organizations, new acquisitions, etc.?
*Any major changes coming to your responsibilities?
* Major changes expected, if any, in the print products you produce? Change in quantity? Change in colors? Change in page count? Change in binding? New print products needed?
*How is desktop technology impacting the preparation of graphics and type for your printing? Done internally? Outside creative provider? Involve your printers in desktop? New directions for the future?
* Importance of fulfillment including just in time, warehousing, mailing, and fulfillment?
* Other services you wish your printer could perform? What are they?
* Where have your printers let you down in the past? Other disappointments?
* Any changes in what you print internally including reprographics? Single color printing? Multi-color printing? Short run printing? Variable, personalized printing? Digital printing?
* Is there anyone else in your organization we should introduce to our company and our capabilities?
* Are there any other individuals, like yourself, outside your company we should meet to describe our production and services?
* What is the most important aspect of a printer you seek for a long-term relationship?
* Are you the individual who makes the final decision on which printer or multimedia company you will use?
* Are there specific procedures and methods (and what are they) you use in reviewing and selecting your providers of print and multimedia outputs?
* Who else is involved in the purchase decision?
* What are the main print products you buy?
* What do you normally provide in electronic format? PC or Mac platform?
* What other services do you expect from your printer? (Scanning, archiving, re-purposing and re-formatting, digital proofs, digital transmission, contract proof type, etc.)
* What unfulfilled needs do you have in this entire process?
* What assistance do you like from your printer in the creative process?
* Is there any dissatisfaction you have with your current suppliers in this process?
* How many print suppliers do you normally use?
* How fast do you like to have your estimates turned?
* What do you consider a normal turnaround time from provision of electronic origination to shipping by the printer?
* Are your run lengths getting shorter?
* Are your promotional materials becoming obsolete quicker?
* How important is consistency in color between all your printed promotions?
* Are you familiar with any of the digital press (HP Indigo, Xeikon, Heidelberg Nexpress 2100, Xerox iGen3, DocuTech, etc.)? Have you used them? What is your opinion of these?
* Are you using any type of variable, personalized printing for target marketing purpose?
* Do you have or are you building a website? Would your company like assistance in this?
* Are you distributing any of your print products through non-print media such as CD-ROM, electronic kiosks, video, audio, etc.? If so, do you seek assistance in this?
* Are you seeking partnerships with a very small select group of printers?
* What more would you like to know about our company?
* Would you like some case histories and testimonials of unique multimedia imaging we have produced for others?
* We would very much like to have you come for a plant tour and meet our people. When can we arrange a date?
Add at least 10 additional questions of your own to this list.
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