Selling Digital Printing — Business Builders
LET’S BE honest, selling digital printing to your customers can be a daunting proposition. More often than not, it falls upon you to be the one to enlighten buyers about the virtues of variable data printing. Who better to budge them out of their static ways?
That’s all copasetic. Given the relative nascent state of variable data digital work, it behooves printers to leverage the educational tools and programs being offered by high-end digital color press manufacturers to help them not only sell more printing, but also educate print buyers on why they should consider the merits of personalization. Virtually all of the manufacturers offer some level of marketing support, and it’s factored into the cost of the machine. More advanced marketing and instructional guidance is offered at a premium, like the varying levels of a service contract.
The following is a capsulated look at three programs designed to show printers how to become more proficient at selling digital work, while at the same time giving them the know-how to market variable data output to their customers.
>> Capture Program
Capture showcases HP’s business development capabilities to deliver tools and programs to its customers. It’s delivered to clients via a number of outlets, according to Francis McMahon, director of marketing for HP graphic arts in North America. They fall under three main headings: tool kits, industry engagements and people/communities.
Among the tools are customized marketing templates for printers, open house guides, sample print files and return on investment (ROI) calculators. In February, the company unveiled a newly revised business success kit for HP Indigo owners and technical operators. Users can access a digital version of the kit through the myhpindigo.com customer Web portal.
“We offer marketing courses and provide vertical market briefs that we’ve either created on our own or partnered with companies like InfoTrends and Interquest to purchase their information,” McMahon says. “We have customer stories that we share, as it’s important for customers to see what similar printers are doing. And we publish a graphic arts newsletter where we post a lot of our information.”
Industry engagements have also proven to be an effective outlet for bringing business development tools to HP Indigo users. HP sponsors a number of associations, including PIA/GATF, NAPL and PODi, and provides seminars and educational tracks at events such as Graph Expo in Chicago. It is also a sponsor of Go Digital, a traveling seminar series that is part of the Capture program.
People/communities is the final source for delivering the Capture program. HP business consultants gauge the customer’s level of digital ability through an assessment test before the purchase of equipment.
Another cornerstone of the Capture program is the Digital Solutions Cooperative (Dscoop), a user-driven community of HP Indigo press owners and operators. The association works with HP’s Indigo support team and focuses on helping Indigo users support each other. Dscoop launched a new Web-to-print solution for community members that allows them to easily customize online templates with their company logo, contact information and success stories for their sales and marketing teams to show clients the capabilities they can offer.
McMahon feels the community approach to delivering the program is what makes Capture effective.
“Capture’s tools, programs and training come from HP, whether it’s from the R&D department, marketing department, sales department or some other type of organization that we partnered with to deliver it,” he says. “But it also comes from our users—best practices that we then share throughout the community. Information comes from associations, research firms, Dscoop, Webinars...it’s the whole community aspect that makes it so rich. If HP tried to do this on its own, the value wouldn’t be there for the customer.”
>> MarketMover Business Development Services
Kodak Graphic Communications Group
Kodak MarketMover Business Development Services actually traces its roots back some six years to the early days of NexPress, when it was a joint venture of Heidelberg and Kodak. MarketMover’s aim is to provide educational tools and vertical market information, as well as marketing and sales support. Like HP, Kodak stresses the community aspect and receiving input from industry associations and NexPress users.
Last fall, Kodak beefed up its offerings with the launch of the MarketMover Network, which focuses on areas such as creating awareness among marketers and building Web-to-print tools. “It’s all about driving the value of print, not just to the printing industry, but the people who buy print. We need to help educate them about the value of print and get them excited about it,” notes Cheryl Nelan, director of customer development for Kodak.
More specifically, Kodak’s business development specialists provide business planning and assessment services, market planning and implementation, training services, personal sales support and consulting services. Its resource and tool kit provides industry and market resources, business planning resources, financial and ROI justification tools, sales support tools, marketing templates, open house support, application guides and samples, owner and designer guides, success stories and white papers.
“Over time, we’ve developed different tools that complement our business development specialist going out and doing the training onsite,” explains Bob Barbera, director of business development services. “As those tools collected and grew, we created a business development kit. Instead of having all of these independent tools, we put them together in one package.
“Now, we train (the printer’s) sales reps so that they will be effective when they hit the streets. We show them how to sell digital, how to position it and how to find some of these new opportunities. They’re armed with case studies, sales pitch books and sample applications, so they can hit the ground running and be professional.”
Kodak users can also benefit from the MarketMover Resource Center (marketmover.kodak.com), an online tool launched during PRINT 05 that is constantly updated with sales and marketing materials and information on vertical markets, among others.
In addition to the MarketMover Network and Resource Center, Kodak provides nationwide onsite support. Teams are assigned to geographic areas, and they provide strategic guidance to potential customers before a NexPress is even installed and continuing long after to ensure the printer’s success.
“A $2 million and a $30 million printer have different training needs, different customers, and different ways of going to market and selling their services,” Barbera says. “We can adapt our program based on the customer size, market and their applications. The care, nurturing and support that printers get from our dedicated specialists in the field comes in the form of knowing their businesses, making joint sales calls with them, and helping the sales reps make that transition to selling more integrated-type solutions.”
The old kid on the block when it comes to digital printing, Xerox Corp. relies on the lean Six Sigma methodologies for quality, which it also uses to do some of the analysis in its Digital Readiness Assessment, the leadoff hitter in the ProfitAccelerator program. Xerox conducted an internal project on a worldwide basis to study the various factors that lead to garnering high digital printing volume.
“I wanted to get to all of the other functions of ‘x’ that led to large volumes,” notes Gina Testa, vice president of customer business development at Xerox. “The result of this project was statistically valid, and it told us that, rather than one key answer, there are 17 variables that led to high levels of success at digital. Now, we have a database where people can benchmark themselves against those 17 variables.
“This is where we like to start with customers—actually sitting down with them and doing a business assessment, so they know where to start,” Testa adds. “From there, we can lay out a game plan.”
The second phase involves the ProfitQuick financial tool. Profit- Quick is designed to help printers determine and write a business plan built upon the applications the user has identified and the volume the printer intends to run through the digital machine. Xerox created ProfitQuick in conjunction with several industry consultants and worked closely with RIT’s Sloan Foundation in its development.
“We wanted to make sure it was accurate and would match the way a CEO or CFO at a printing company thinks,” she says. “We wanted to know how it would change your overall P&L, not just the P&L for that one digital department. So ProfitQuick could help them project when they would go from the red to the black, what type of volume they would need to justify the equipment and what type of retail pricing they should charge.”
Another aspect of the Profit- Accelerator is a set of sales and marketing tools, which includes a kit on how to write a marketing plan. Along with insight as to determining key applications and their vertical markets, this portion includes information on how to conduct an open house or PR event to draw attention and rebrand the printer with its clients. On the sales end is guidance for assembling a digital force, optimal management processes, who to hire and, of course, what to pay them.
Once the business plan is devised, Xerox seeks to lead printers down the one-to-one personalization path via either a Web-to-print storefront or Web-to-print fulfillment system. Taking electronic documents online and hosting storefronts for clients paves the way for producing print-on-demand collateral, brand fulfillment pieces and the like. In fact, Xerox boasts a number of tools to get printers—and their customers—into one-to-one personalized collateral.
ProfitAccelerator also emphasizes the importance of pursuing digital books and manuals, which is still the single greatest application in digital printing today, according to Testa.
“We want to help them get past the print buyer, up to the VP of marketing,” she reveals. “Because when you’re talking to a print buyer, your value proposition is usually, ‘I can save you money.’ Well, you can’t save money forever and, after a certain point, you’ll run out of things to talk about. We want to get the value proposition beyond that point and get them to the right level, which is the VP of marketing. You want to show them how you can help them grow their revenue through a better ROI, a better response rate, etc., if you just change their processes slightly or change the way they’re communicating with their customers.
“We’re trying to flip the formula around, so they’re having a proactive revenue growth discussion with the right people as opposed to a cost-savings discussion,” she adds. “The customers who seem to get that and have been able to move forward are the ones enjoying large, contractual work, have a thick layer of stickiness with their clients and have formed true partnerships. They’re producing really complicated marketing communications programs as opposed to just print jobs.” PI