MARKETING DIGITAL SERVICES--Selling One-to-one
Once the salespeople are comfortable and knowledgeable with the technology, the focus shifts to educating customers about the virtues of digital printing. "We attempt to inform our customers that they're going to get a better product," comments Larry Reynolds, president of Orangeburg, SC-based Major Printing. "It's a sales tool, but they expect a good product—regardless of the process that is being used."
To the untrained eye, there is now little difference between digital and conventional offset printing due to the ongoing maturation of digital output devices. Those in the know, however, are aware of the advantages that digital possesses. For starters, on-demand printing is a much quicker process since make-ready time is reduced and many of the steps in traditional printing are eliminated.
"The biggest saving, as far as digital imagery is concerned, is that the time to get a finished product is cut drastically," Nudo comments. "With most budgets being a just-in-time type of situation, timing is extremely critical."
Completing orders quickly, notes Don DeHart, president of DeHart's Printing Service in Santa Clara, CA, is what customers look for first. "My personal feeling is that customers are concerned with turnaround time, quality and cost as it relates to product," he says.
DeHart's Printing has been involved with digital printing for 10 years. Today, approximately 98 percent of its work—which is primarily technical documentation and book printing—is produced digitally. DeHart believes the cost of switching from conventional to digital is what has kept many printers from embracing the new technology right away.
"A lot had the solution where you took a customer file, then you went to film, then you burned a plate. And if you had all that equipment, it was a big pill to swallow scrapping all those processes and going completely digital," he explains. "As equipment was aging and printers were looking at getting their products onto the press quicker with shorter makeready times, they began to change to digital."