DIGITAL digestApril 2009
ORLANDO, FL—Dscoop4 wasn’t exactly fun in the Florida sun, but the tone of the conference was surprisingly upbeat despite the economic forecast and less than stellar weather. Both attendance and participation in the vendor solutions showcase increased from 2008.
Some 1,300 attendees, partners and HP representatives—an 8 percent increase—traveled to the Gaylord Palms for the annual HP Indigo users conference put on by the Digital Solutions Cooperative (Dscoop). Helping to boost the total was a promotional effort targeting companies outside the United States, which resulted in about 200 foreign registrants.
In his welcoming remarks, Chris Petro, Dscoop chairman and president and CEO of Global Soft Digital Solutions, noted that the session lineup was reworked just months prior to the event in response to the economic downturn. “Survive & Thrive” became the theme of the conference, which offered 90 educational sessions and four pre-conference seminars.
Before launching into his keynote address, Joe Theismann showed a flash of his days as a championship quarterback in the National Football League by throwing an autographed football to the 2009 Jack Glacken Award winner, Alon Bar-Shany. Bar-Shany, vice president and general manager of the HP Indigo Digital Press Div., received the award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the Dscoop community.
Theismann peppered his presentation with memorable moments from his playing days—including holding a record for his one-yard punt and suffering a career-ending leg injury on national television—to entertain and reinforce his message about the importance of adapting to change, defining one’s goals and being confident in your abilities. He recounted how Washington Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs said the traits he looked for in a player were character, intelligence and then ability, in that order, and reminded the audience to think of “team” as an acronym for together everyone achieves more.
Vyomesh “VJ” Joshi, executive vice president of HP’s Imaging and Printing Group, put his own spin on the conference theme by outlining “four things we can do together to build business” in the next day’s general session. He said that HP is 1) becoming more focused by shutting down marginal businesses, 2) taking steps (including a 15 percent cut in executive salaries) to retain people as a key resource, 3) helping customers improve their margins and 4) looking to address the environment as a community.
Bar-Shany followed up with a technology update in which he noted that 180 units of the HP Indigo 7000 press have already been installed worldwide. He also reported that the HP Indigo WS6000 digital web press was in final testing and due for release in March, while the HP Indigo W72000 was going into beta sites and slated for release before the end of the year.
“Marketing in a Digital World” was the topic of a pre-conference session conducted by Stephanie Hill, HP business consultant. Hill advised the audience members to seek business opportunities based on the current economic conditions, such as marketing materials for outplacement agencies, community colleges and discount warehouses.
It’s also a good time to tap the pool of college students seeking internships for an affordable way to dedicate a person to manage a marketing program, she said.
Barb Pellow, of the InfoTrends research firm, addressed the conference’s theme directly in a session titled “Thrive in a Difficult Economy.” Consider targeting small- and medium-sized businesses because they need an expert partner to help them market their companies cost-effectively, she said. “Investing in marketing is never more important than it is today.”
The importance of marketing was also stressed by Rob Seaver, vice president of strategic marketing at Phoenix-based R and R Images, in his session on “Inside Secrets to Gaining Market Share.”
Printers shouldn’t assume business will come back, and that things will return to how they were even six months ago, he said. “The economy that is emerging requires lean business models since there will be less business in the market.”
In Seaver’s view, printers need to practice what they preach to clients by being aggressive marketers themselves, including online via social networking, blogs, Webinars and YouTube video posts.
Online social networking, through services such as LinkedIn, can be used both as an internal resource for help in running a printing business and as a marketing tool, he pointed out. “Three out of our four last sales came from LinkedIn.”
More information on the user group and conference is available at www.dscoop.org.