Commentary & Analysis
Consumer Trends Can Spark Big Ideas for Digital Printers
Special Feature Consumer Trends Can Spark Big Ideas for Digital Printers by Kevin Joyce (
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: April 23, 2007
Special Feature Consumer Trends Can Spark Big Ideas for Digital Printers by Kevin Joyce (Adapted from Kodak’s One Magazine, Spring 2007) April 22, 2007 -- The Wall Street Journal recently told a touching story about a Newport Beach, California lawyer who made a memorial tribute video while flying across the country to a friend’s funeral (WSJ, Jan. 31, 2007). He did it on his laptop, sorting through hundreds of pictures he’d scanned at a photo retailer. When the plane landed in Chicago, the very personal movie was ready for screening at the church and for duplication for friends and family members. The story exemplifies a growing consumer trend, the kind of phenomenon that can inspire a big idea for graphic communications providers to sell to business customers. Photo shops and online retailers are charging up to $100 to scan hundreds of photos at a time using low-cost automated scanners. You can do better. And make some dough. All around the world, consumers who have shoe boxes and albums filled with family photos are having them scanned to save or share with loved ones. Photo shops and online retailers are charging between $50 and $100 to scan hundreds of photos at a time using low-cost automated scanners. When I see trends like these at the consumer level, my wheels start turning on how printers can use new digital technologies to grow revenue. There are many good examples from other parts of the business world. One I’ve always admired can be found at many workplaces all over the world. As consumer taste for gourmet coffee exploded, entrepreneurs went to work on creating systems to deliver coffee at offices that would be customized to each individual’s taste. The result is the now commonplace one cup coffee systems that brew a fresh cup of coffee on demand in a wide range of flavors and strengths. Today, one cup coffee making systems can be found at offices all over the world, including mine. New digital print technology is great, but only if you can use it to generate new revenue. What opportunities can you find in your marketplace? Is there a big business in your area celebrating a milestone anniversary that might have interest in a short run, commemorative photo book for employees and customers? Would schools be interested in producing learning materials that are highly customized for the local area or even individual students? Would the local Chamber of Commerce be interested in upgrading and maybe even personalizing its annual membership directory? Customer books are one small slice of a digital world that offers endless opportunities for print service providers: personalized charitable solicitation, inkjet printing for promotions in transaction documents, wide format output, and direct mail programs that are linked to online offers. New digital print technology is great, but only if you can use it to generate new revenue. Otherwise, they’re just piles of plastic and metal. The real magic happens when that new piece of equipment is combined with the creativity of the human mind. Then, anything is possible. Please offer your feedback to Kevin. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.