INDUSTRY USER GROUPS -- For Users, Not Losers
"This is especially valuable for those users who prefer not to speak completely openly with their local competitors. It's even more valuable for users in secondary or tertiary markets where users of advanced technologies may be few and far between."
Know Your Colleagues
Networking is one of the biggest reasons printers seem to be drawn to user groups. Mike McLain, vice president of sales and operations for PrintSmith, part of the Printcafe family of print management software solutions, notes that smaller printers, who sometimes don't have as many opportunities to network with their peers, find user groups especially beneficial. The Printcafe user groups are perfect venues for them to do so, he says.
"Plus it is an environment where (user group members) are not interacting with competitors from right down the street," McLain notes. "In addition to separate user groups for Printcafe's PSI, Logic, Prograph and PrintSmith management systems, Printcafe is unique in that we also offer our annual Connect users' conference for all Printcafe customers. It brings together small-, medium- and large-size printers, as well as magazine publishers, from across our product offering in one location for several days of hands-on product education and dialogue. At one table you might have a president of the biggest printing company in America networking with the owner of a smaller operation."
This kind of interaction allows small market printers to understand what is happening in the larger markets, and for large market printers to understand what is happening in the smaller markets, McLain points out.
New to the user group scene is MAN Roland, with its PowerPrinters program. After an initial membership push, MAN Roland reports PowerPrinters now has 350 members. PowerPrinters will be fully supported by the resources of MAN Roland. That means club activities will be dues-free and the group will also have a direct connection to MAN Roland experts.