Commentary & Analysis
Free Special: Before you buy anything Digital from Heidelberg, you should meet Richard Sand
Conducted by Carole Alexander October 24,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 24, 2002
Conducted by Carole Alexander October 24, 2002 -- Richard Sand of Heidelberg says Xplor is a show clearly focused on the future of digital printing. It's important for Heidelberg to be represented, so the company can share their monochrome and color printing solutions. (Look for their announcements soon.) Heidelberg will demonstrate and discuss their variable data technology and business development expertise that meet the needs of many different vertical markets. Part of Heidelberg’s effort is directed toward service bureaus. Many are expanding into publishing applications during non-peak periods, and Richard says the open architecture of Heidelberg's solutions enables that transition. Carole Alexander recently spoke with Richard about a very important topic - helping the customer.....after the sale. Richard Sand is Director of Business Development, Digital Solutions, Heidelberg USA. WTT: Richard, how would you define business development for the printer getting into digital? Richard Sand: It's providing them the tools, programs and knowledge that enable them to grow volume, get more business from existing accounts and identify new opportunities. Technology decisions still have to be made, but information and knowledge will be primary as they move forward. The best will be well prepared. WTT: Can you be specific about some of the business development activities Heidelberg provides? Richard Sand: Yes. The overall goal is to educate the entire organization, from the owner to the operator of the equipment. For instance, the owner who has the vision needs to understand the steps their organization has to take to incorporate digital. We offer The Owners Guide to Digital Printing, senior level workshops, and strategy sessions. We help to create a marketing plan and a work process to meet the printer's customer's turnaround and provide the value added services. This is done one-on-one with the customer and the Heidelberg business development team. Most importantly, it is an ongoing process and not just a one-time partnership. WTT: Which printers do you find are seeking business development support? Richard Sand: Traditional customers appreciate and want Heidelberg to be their partner. Even those who have been in digital a while want to see what new ideas and solutions Heidelberg has that will help them continue to grow their digital business. Those who have had trouble growing volume want to re-think their marketing efforts, sales rep skills and organization's ability to produce. WTT: Do you see a difference in the kind of interest printers are showing today than, say last year? Richard Sand: Yes. The thought of digital printing being a fad is past. The new question is how to incorporate it. Many know they need to get into digital, but are scared about how to do it. We are at a point where they want to know how and who. All printers are realizing that run lengths are coming down and that variable data printing will have a play somehow. Many missed the boat on the prepress side and know they should get in at the beginning rather than at the end. WTT: What is the background of your business development team that qualifies them to be effective with printers? Richard Sand: They are industry experts. Some have family commercial print businesses. Others have worked for industry leaders such as Oce and Xerox for 15-20 years and lived in the world of digital and graphic arts. Most also have a sales and technical background. WTT: What kind of progress do you see with variable data printing? Richard Sand: Heidelberg realizes that to help printers we have to educate the creatives and ad agencies. Printers are really only one target for business development. Once our own agency, LB Works, a Division of Leo Burnett, saw the power of one-to-one marketing they began creating many campaigns utilizing variable data. To spread the word we are participating in the DMA Show and giving a series of road shows around the country. The shows include presentations by LB Works and by a successful variable data printer. The printer shows how to talk to an ad agency; what questions to ask an ad firm about one-to-one marketing. We are participating in retail and advertising associations. It is part of our overall push/pull marketing that results in our customers getting more volume. It would help if schools had one-to-one marketing courses in Marketing and Graphic Arts. My father is a university professor, and I taught one-to-one marketing in one of his business classes. The students were stunned and excited. WTT: One of the biggest obstacles to variable data printing is the poor quality of customer databases. Is Heidelberg’s own database in good shape? Richard Sand: No, it wasn't when we started. We had to take the same steps and had the same struggles that any company does. We are still working to clean it up while acquiring lists for target markets that are not part of our core business. We are learning to "walk the walk" but also reaping the benefits of figuring out how to do it and teaching printers what we learned. WTT: How are you measuring success in your business development programs? Richard Sand: We measure success by seeing volumes continue to grow. And, after our training, when we get responses from sales reps who are landing big variable data applications. WTT: How is your business development different from that of other vendors? Richard Sand: Everyone recognizes the importance and that's good. But Heidelberg has an opportunity to exceed the competition. For one thing, Heidelberg has a long tradition of being customer-oriented. The customer is always right-- even if the customer is wrong. We will go to any length to support and satisfy customer needs. Heidelberg realized early on that providing technology was not going to be enough, especially to traditional customers. So business development for digital was a natural fit. Also, it's not a one shot visit or "firehose," but an ongoing partnership. We get in the boat and row with the customers. Their organizations are constantly changing. We are constantly developing new support. We started early and now have a variety of methods to educate. Some delivery is stand up, some on the Internet, other telephonics and, of course, through print. WTT: What is your biggest challenge? Richard Sand: My biggest challenge is having enough time in the day to continue to develop the programs while staying current with the changes in the industry. We look at each vertical market--such as insurance, retail, financial services, etc.--and keep up on knowledge of the applications, trends and the challenges that those industries are facing growing their revenues. We make all this information available to our customers. Another challenge is that too much time is still spent dealing with the printed page. It is all about marketing. In this economy every business is looking for new ways to make money. They want to know how they market to their best customers, new prospects and how to get a bigger and broader share of customers. They know it costs significantly less to get more business from existing customers than to get new ones. This is evident in the information gathering for CRM. But so much money has been spent and companies are still trying to understand how to use it and manipulate it. They don’t always know what to do with the information to effectively sell their services. Variable data printing is a perfect fit here. But you have to have your mind on marketing not pages. WTT: What is the biggest obstacle to printers embracing digital? Richard Sand: A printer has to see that they can make money. Just like every other industry, Graphic Arts is looking for new revenue streams and higher profit margins. Direct mail houses, service bureaus, commercial printers--they all need additional services. They want to understand the business model, cost per impression and the workflow. But once the printer is convinced that they have the customers to pay for the service, they will have to change their manufacturing mentality to become a communications business. An impediment to this new image is the printer being resistant, stuck in their ways, not so amenable to change and not so "new age." WTT: Do you think these printers who are "stuck in their ways" can make the necessary changes? Richard Sand: I think they can do it, with support from multiple sources, including the associations. Every year we see the process move further along--new software that makes everything easier, new standards that simplify. These printers need to focus on digital not being a replacement for their traditional business, but an addition to. There will always be room for traditional printing. WTT: How has becoming a major supplier of digital printing equipment affected Heidelberg? Richard Sand: Being in digital has opened up new markets for Heidelberg, such as corporate in plants, government and education. At the same time, our printer customers know and trust that we won't ever be competing with them.