Drupa: Product Marketing —Sherburne

ARE YOU going to Drupa 2008? In its 14th edition (the first Drupa was in 1951, 57 years ago!), it will be the largest ever, with more than 1,800 exhibitors from 50 countries and more than 1.8 million square feet of exhibit space. More than 400,000 visitors are expected during its two-week run, beginning May 29th.

Why do I bring that up in a column about marketing? Classic marketing texts talk about the “4Ps” of marketing: Product, Price, Promotion and Place.

• Product: This is the physical product or service offered to the customer. It also refers to any services or conveniences that are part of the offering. So while the actual, physical end product may be a printed piece, the ancillary services wrapped around the delivery of that printed piece are equally—if not more—important.

• Price: Pricing decisions need to take into account profit margins and probable competitive responses. Pricing needs to incorporate not just the printing, but the value-added and professional services accompanying the job. In many cases, pricing these new services on a cost-plus basis is missing the boat because the market value is often higher than cost-plus.

• Promotion: Promotion decisions are those related to communicating and selling to potential consumers. These decisions involve advertising, public relations, direct mail, the Websites, etc. In other words, marketing your services.

• Place: Place simply refers to how you will sell your products to your customers. What you are selling will directly influence your distribution model. Do you have a walk-up retail storefront? Are you using print brokers and other third parties? What does your direct sales force look like? And how does your Web storefront play into the mix?

First on this list is Product, as it should be. After all, without specific product offerings, there is nothing to market. While all of the 4Ps of marketing are important, Drupa provides a wonderful opportunity, perhaps more than any other show, to learn about emerging technologies that will have a significant future effect on our industry, both near- and long-term. Since the focus of Drupa is new product offerings, this column will focus on the first P: Product marketing.

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