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Carl Gerhardt

Business Sense & Sensibility

By Carl Gerhardt

About Carl

Carl Gerhardt is the chairman of Allegra Network, one of the world’s largest print, marketing and graphic communications franchisors, linking more than 500 locations in North America under the brands Allegra, Signs Now, Insty-Prints, and American Speedy Printing.

Carl and his wife, Judy, owned and operated their own successful Allegra Network franchise for nearly 20 years before selling the $2.3 million operation in 2003. He is a PrintImage International/NAQP Honorary Lifetime Member and was inducted into NAPL’s prestigious Soderstrom Society in 2010 in recognition of his contribution to the industry.
 

Marketing Services: Myth, Truth and Reality – Part 2

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One of my recent posts talked about the myth, reality and truth of becoming a marketing services/cross-media provider. I’ve just come from two industry conferences, the Vision 3 Summit and On Demand Conference and Expo, where I participated in a panel and heard presentations by companies playing in this sand box.

I had the chance to drill deeper into the discussion with my fellow panelists after the sessions ended. A couple of things stood out:

First: another myth. I am willing to bet that the number of companies/printers that are successfully making this transition (profitably) are far fewer than we may perceive based on what we read in the trade media.

Second: another truth
. The ones that are finding early success tend to be focusing on some vertical markets that they already understand and have been servicing.

Third: another reality. One does not successfully make the transition without changing company culture, investing in training and, in most cases, bringing in new talent who understand the market you are trying to sell.

Why should you care? This is not meant to discourage anyone from considering this transition, but rather to emphasize that it does take a certain commitment in time and resources. Moreover, it will require some investments that, in the short term, may actually reduce profitability. It also requires reaching outward for help and expertise that does not currently reside within the company, either in its management or current staff.

And that’s the truth!


Industry Centers:

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COMMENTS

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Most Recent Comments:
carl gerhardt - Posted on March 29, 2011
Thanks John! This is actually something I have had on my mind for a while now and it was good to get it out in the open. There are still many ways to succeed in this business. That said, we are having fun helping many of our franchise members navigate these waters into marketing services.
john - Posted on March 28, 2011
Thank you !!! A lot of ink is needlessly wasted on telling us why our businesses are dead, and what we must do to survive.... You hit this out of the park.
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Archived Comments:
carl gerhardt - Posted on March 29, 2011
Thanks John! This is actually something I have had on my mind for a while now and it was good to get it out in the open. There are still many ways to succeed in this business. That said, we are having fun helping many of our franchise members navigate these waters into marketing services.
john - Posted on March 28, 2011
Thank you !!! A lot of ink is needlessly wasted on telling us why our businesses are dead, and what we must do to survive.... You hit this out of the park.