Graph Expo 2008 — No Reason to Stay Home
|The Düsseldorf Bounce: The base argument behind the bounce from Drupa is the re-
unveiling of several new products that were first showcased in Germany. The guess here is that many of the newer, exciting products won’t be shipping until after the first of next year, anyway. So come and kick the tires.
“If you look at Drupa, it’s a technology and concept incubator,” notes Bill Lamparter, president of PrintCom Consulting Group in Charlotte, NC. “Printers that comprise PIA profit leaders habitually attend Graph Expo. They have the right technology, and that’s where they learn about it,” he adds.
As Chris Price, vice president of the Graphic Arts Show Co. (which manages Graph Expo), shared with several printers, there is value in attending—even for those who planned to leave the checkbook at home. “Exhibitors are taking a much more consultative approach,” he says. “They can help show you where you can grow revenues, provide cost-cutting ideas and talk about applications you can sell to your customers.”
| Shifting Gears: Long before a contract is signed, printers need to arrive at a philosophical conclusion regarding the decision to enter new markets and, thus, unfamiliar technologies. Will I be able to sell enough variable digital output to my customers? Is mailing and fulfillment as easy as it seems? Do I have the human collateral to pull this off and, if not, what’s my investment for new hires and additional training?
It’s OK to daydream, for example, about getting into RFID, but it’d be more productive to visit booth 4087 and experience “New Frontiers in RFID & Printed Electronics.” McCormick Place South is a wonderful opportunity to embark on the discovery phase of your long-term business plans.
According to consultant Clint Bolte, software releases should be a major attraction next month in Chicago. “Last year, there were 18 proven Web-to-print software vendors at Graph Expo. At Drupa, it approached three dozen,” he says. “This year, I think we’ll see two dozen at Graph Expo. There are lots of software suppliers showing neat stuff.”