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Selling Digital Printing — Business Builders

March 2007 By Erik Cagle
Senior Editor
LET’S BE honest, selling digital printing to your customers can be a daunting proposition. More often than not, it falls upon you to be the one to enlighten buyers about the virtues of variable data printing. Who better to budge them out of their static ways?

That’s all copasetic. Given the relative nascent state of variable data digital work, it behooves printers to leverage the educational tools and programs being offered by high-end digital color press manufacturers to help them not only sell more printing, but also educate print buyers on why they should consider the merits of personalization. Virtually all of the manufacturers offer some level of marketing support, and it’s factored into the cost of the machine. More advanced marketing and instructional guidance is offered at a premium, like the varying levels of a service contract.

The following is a capsulated look at three programs designed to show printers how to become more proficient at selling digital work, while at the same time giving them the know-how to market variable data output to their customers.

>> Capture Program

Hewlett-Packard Inc.

Capture showcases HP’s business development capabilities to deliver tools and programs to its customers. It’s delivered to clients via a number of outlets, according to Francis McMahon, director of marketing for HP graphic arts in North America. They fall under three main headings: tool kits, industry engagements and people/communities.

Among the tools are customized marketing templates for printers, open house guides, sample print files and return on investment (ROI) calculators. In February, the company unveiled a newly revised business success kit for HP Indigo owners and technical operators. Users can access a digital version of the kit through the myhpindigo.com customer Web portal.

“We offer marketing courses and provide vertical market briefs that we’ve either created on our own or partnered with companies like InfoTrends and Interquest to purchase their information,” McMahon says. “We have customer stories that we share, as it’s important for customers to see what similar printers are doing. And we publish a graphic arts newsletter where we post a lot of our information.”

Industry engagements have also proven to be an effective outlet for bringing business development tools to HP Indigo users. HP sponsors a number of associations, including PIA/GATF, NAPL and PODi, and provides seminars and educational tracks at events such as Graph Expo in Chicago. It is also a sponsor of Go Digital, a traveling seminar series that is part of the Capture program.
 

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