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Digital Digest

April 2010
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Digital Printing Comes Alive At Dscoop5

DALLAS—More than 1,800 HP Indigo owners and users recently gathered for Dscoop5, the 2010 installment of the group's annual conference. Contributing to the record number of attendees was the organization's ongoing efforts to expand participation from companies outside the United States.

Fitting right in with its road sign motif, this year's event got rolling with optional bus trips to local HP Indigo users for company presentations and plant tours. Around 200 attendees were able to go on one of the four half-day trips.

Among the stops was Taylor Publishing, best known for producing student yearbooks, which offered a look at an offset and digital printing workflow optimized to handle extreme production demands on a cyclical basis. Some of its production stats include needing to make some 1,500 plates in an eight-hour shift during the busy season and going from the last sheet of one job to the first good sheet of the next in eight minutes, including hanging eight plates, on its sheetfed presses.

Ken Schmidt, former communications director for Harley-Davidson, then gave an entertaining and thought-provoking keynote address. Schmidt asserted that when consumers make a logic-based, data-driven buying decision, they'll buy at the lowest possible price. Harley's answer was to "appeal to the heart and gut to get them to like us more than the people we compete against," he revealed.

Schmidt recommended that audience members do a simple exercise: gather up "go to market" materials for their companies and competitors, cover up any company identifications and give employees 15 seconds to see if they can pick out their company's marketing materials. Speaking from experience, he noted that Hog motorcycle sales suffered when the company started emulating the rest of the industry by using the same messaging backed up by numbers attesting to its quality and reliability.

Photo Session a Big Draw

Engaging customers was critical to Harley-Davidson's turnaround, Schmidt said. This included holding events where people could test drive its bikes, a move motorcycle sellers had considered too risky for liability reasons.

These traveling road shows also provided an opportunity to ask prospects face-to-face, "What do we need to do to this bike to make you want to own it?" The Harley representatives on hand made sure to have a pen and paper in their shirt pockets, Schmidt added, because "writing down what people say makes them feel important."

 

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