Web-to-Print Goes Global
Special Report by Cary Sherburne October 16,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 16, 2006
Special Report by Cary Sherburne October 16, 2006 -- Kodak announced an expansion of its MarketMover business development program this week at Graph Expo in a move that adds a new dimension to distributed Web-to-print. Called MarketMover Network, it is designed to connect print providers using Kodak printing solutions via the Web to an expanded pool of marketers who need printing services, giving them access to more potential business volume than they can access today through their standalone efforts via a Web-enabled global supply chain that leverages the power of the Kodak brand. Minnesota-based Four51 will supply the technology backbone and functionality for the Kodak MarketMover Network. Distributed Web-to-print solutions have long been one of the promising applications of digital printing technology that may finally be coming of age. In an early example of distributed print at work, The International Printers Network was founded in 1993 and now encompasses more than 150 locations worldwide. Other examples include large multi-site printers and franchise networks who are able to share work across their sites via the Web or internal systems to leverage multiple production capabilities as well as the geographic convenience of producing print at or near the point of need, eliminating time and shipping costs. Xerox also helps its Premier Partners network of some 550 selected owners of Xerox printing equipment worldwide to find trusted partners for distributed print production as well as directing potential print buyers to appropriate print service providers using Xerox technology. According to John Laurence, Manager, Premier Partners and Marketing Operations, Xerox Graphic Communications, “We are supporting our Premier Partners with direct marketing campaigns that provide potential buyers with a list of Xerox Premier Partners located in their area and containing educational information about the benefits of digital print. If a potential buyer accesses our public portal seeking a Xerox customer to perform printing services, we will hook them up with several Premier Partners we believe can meet their needs.” In a another distributed Web-to-Print service, Four51 recently announced Connect Four51, a service expansion for its existing network of some 1,500 suppliers of print services, nearly 1,000 sellers of print services (including brokers/distributors and trade printers) and more than 6,000 end user companies who buy print. According to Four51 Founder Gary Nemcek, “ Connect Four51 is a way to allow people to join the Four51 network beyond what we have done in the past. We help people build their own private commerce network, typically a seller who invites suppliers to participate.” As part of Connect Four51, the company will conduct specific marketing activities to sellers to let them know about the network and its capabilities so that they can better serve their end user customers. Four51 technology currently enables Web-to-print for Sir Speedy, PIP, AlphaGraphics and WorkflowOne, among others, with its standard offering, and it would be logical that these suppliers would consider joining the new initiative as well. To date, these initiatives have largely been printer-centric; that is, the focus of the activity has been printers sharing work with each other or sellers of print (brokers/distributors/trade printers) sourcing suppliers for their enterprise customers. Jeff Hayzlett, CMO for Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group, envisions the Kodak MarketMover Network on a grander scale. He says, “We get numerous requests from marketers who have large print budgets asking for access to a network of Kodak digital press owners, and prior to this announcement, while we could, of course, refer buyers to suppliers, we had no automated way to handle these requests. MarketMover Network will address that need. Additionally, Kodak will play an aggressive evangelist role in educating marketers on the benefits of digital printing and the wide range of capabilities available through the network. At the same time, by linking NexPress owners worldwide into a series of private networks enabled by the Four51 platform, we will be creating a community of buyers and sellers that will ultimately drive significant volume to NexPress owners.” Kodak will also offer Professional Services to tailor private networks to individual needs, including integration with existing Web-to-Print workflow on the print service provider side, and enterprise applications on the buy side. Hayzlett points out that while the initial instance of MarketMover Network is directed at NexPress owners in the United States and Canada as suppliers of print, Kodak ultimately plans to extend the opportunity globally to all owners of Kodak solutions, including Prinergy users. Currently, all Kodak customers in the United States and Canada may utilize the network if they are looking for a supplier of NexPress printing to augment their customer services. Industry veteran Karl Post, formerly of Franchise Services and EFI, has been brought on board to manage the program. Hayzlett reports that a number of printers and demand aggregators have already joined the network, including WorkflowOne, Corporate Press, Williamson Press, Lake County Press and others. He adds, “The MarketMover Network is a key element of our business development activities directed at helping Kodak customers aggressively grow their businesses. Once buyers and sellers are connected, pricing and other arrangements are handled between the parties.” Four51’s Nemcek commented, “The MarketMover Network is not an auction bidding site. It matches marketing managers and print buyers with the best available resources to get jobs printed efficiently and effectively. It will be a powerful new tool for marketers because they will have access to quality printers with the capabilities to handle nearly any type of printing need.” Hayzlett concludes, “The Kodak MarketMover Network is not only about providing alternate access for print providers to grow their print volumes, but also about making sure there is an advocate and message stream directed to marketers and other buyers of print about how effective print can be as part of a multimedia business communications strategy. In this way, we believe Kodak will be able to make a significant contribution to the industry, moving the market to dramatically increase volumes of digital printing worldwide and ensuring that print remains an important part of marketers’ business communications strategies.” Hayzlett serves on the boards of a number of marketing-oriented organizations and is a frequent speaker in marketing circles. In a demonstration of this strategy at work, MarketMover Network was launched simultaneously at Graph Expo and the Direct Marketing Association’s annual meeting in San Francisco, attended by thousands of the world’s most successful marketers. Stay tuned for more Graph Expo coverage on Web-to-Print and digital workflow solutions.