Top Management Conference Shines

PHOENIX—The weather may not have cooperated, but that didn’t dampen the spirits of the 265 people who attended the National Association for Printing Leadership (NAPL) Top Management Conference, held here last month at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge Resort.

Even Andrew Paparozzi, NAPL’s chief economist, gave a largely sunny forecast in his state-of-the-industry report that kicked off the meeting. Signs that the industry is rebounding: sales increases for four consecutive quarters among NAPL’s Printing Business Panel, reports that profitability and pricing levels are up, as well as the fact that printers are hiring again. This, in part, fuels his projections that commercial printing industry sales may grow as much as 51⁄2 percent in 2005.

However, Paparozzi noted several new realities for the printing industry, including the fact that competition for printers is being redefined; workflows and print jobs are getting more complex; our industry must become more productive in terms of sales per employee; from a labor standpoint, we’re now competing for skills that are in demand economy-wide; and structural changes are redefining various print markets.

Business consultant Martha Rogers, Ph.D., of Peppers & Rogers Group, spoke on the importance of increasing the value of your client base through Customer Relationship Management (CRM). Organic growth comes through acquiring and retaining profitable customers, eliminating unprofitable ones, up-selling and cross-selling additional products to them, as well as reducing the cost of service for customers, she says.

Rogers emphasized the importance of learning as much as possible about each customer, understanding why the client is likely to buy your products/services, determining how your company can make it easy for the customer to buy your products/services and then developing an easy way for them to opt-in.

But don’t treat all buyers equally, she warned. “Apply more resources to more valuable customers, and more resources to keeping valuable customers rather than acquiring new ones of unknown value.”

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