The industry’s future lies in helping corporations maximize their ROCI—Return on (their total) Communications Investment—thereby shifting the focus away from just cutting print costs, according to Letteney. He believes there are three effective business strategies open to printers: extending their services into other components of the total print communications supply chain, expanding the business base beyond print by being media agnostic, and segmenting vertically by applying customer and industry intelligence to a specific market.
Each of the 20-some sessions offered its share of takeaways, just a few of which are highlighted here.
Inter-divisional buying and selling was suggested as one way to address issues with compensation, territory and motivation that can arise with expansion into new services. At LaVigne Inc. in Worcester, MA, the print side of the business buys services from the marketing communications group, and vice versa, pointed out Jack Perry, vice president of client strategy. Whichever side has the lead with a client pays a wholesale rate for any services required from the other, and the salesperson/influencer gets a commission on the markup, he explained.
Joe Metzger, president of Metzgers in Holland, OH, created a buzz by noting that his company was able to capture revenues which were being lost by putting CSRs on a commission for value-added sales.
He cited change orders as a case in point. CSRs often didn’t bother to make out work orders and send them to clients for OK, so the company couldn’t bill for the work. Instituting a monthly commission based on the amount of change orders CSRs book now provides motivation, Metzger said.
When building Web-to-print solutions for deployment by customers, there is a risk of them trying to customize the perfect system, cautioned Cheryl Kahanec, corporate vice president of technology and marketing at TanaSeybert, New York City. A project may never get past the development stage or end up with a level of complexity that is a barrier to use, she noted.