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HP Announces Changes to MarketSplash

By Adam Dewitz
Published: May 18, 2009

HP held a Webinar for Dscoop members today to announce changes it is making to the HP MarketSplash platform. In the coming months the HP MarketSplash platform will shift its focus to help drive print to HP Indigo customers.

As of today advertising for MarketSplash.com on the open market will cease. Over the next 4 months HP is going to phase out the current public site. In September the MarketSplash.com site will relaunched with tools to connect content creators with print providers.

A new referral option will provide a lookup functionality to locate HP Indigo customers. HP will set qualification criteria to become part of the the MarketSplash print service provider network. HP plans to expand the number of print-to-mail vendors. HP will share more details on these changes in the next month.

HP will pilot a white label solution that will enable printers to utilize the MarketSplash platform to offer design services and order management. Details of the pilot will be announced over the next 2-3 months.

Dscoop members will be able to view archived playback of the Webinar tomorrow on Dscoop's Website.

 

Discussion

By DJ on May 18, 2009

Hmmm, so that's why I got an invite to the Dscoop telecon, even though I'm not a Dscoop member.
Now I got to go update all my flamin' blog posts.

 

By Michael J on May 19, 2009

Wow. It sounds like HP got it right on V 1.5.

Given all the focus and time, it's instructive that they couldn't see this before they spent all the money on the launch. On the other hand the response time is quite extraordinary. Usually a global goes through months to get the second rev to market.

 

By Noel Ward on May 19, 2009

This is hardly a surprise, but why the company wasn't up front about this when launching the program is still unclear.

Despite what those critical of HP's intentions, there's not a whole lot wrong with a print engine vendor creating programs that help drive business to its customers, as long as it is strictly a "referral" program and does not involve setting of pricing or involvement in the actual print process.

 

By kelly on May 19, 2009

In all due respect, HP by know means has gotten this right in version 1.5, as stated previously.

WHERE IS THE VALUE? I only see HP with their hands in my pocket.

Have you missed that HP is willing to drive their customer's and the printing industry's margin right out the door.

If I understand this correctly, HP will give free business cards to customers (qty 100)... okay... if I want to print that I need to subsidize HP? Or how 'bout 1000 for $39.99? Postcards at $18.99?

Thats not affecting my margins and ability to survive is it? (hint of sarcasm)

The last thing I want to do is spend one more penny with any company that is willing to go after my customer base, reduce or control my margins and market competitive products to my customers.

Maybe I am missing something?

 

By carl gerhardt on May 19, 2009

This appears to be a hollow victory. I was in a conference call late yesterday with the leaders of the other print franchisors and NAQP/NAPL. We met with HP at their HQ last month as an "industry coalition" to express concerns about MarketSplash.
To their credit they listened and take some quick action with intent to reposition MarketSplash by dropping advertising and phasing out of the public site.
But, the devil is always in the details. They will continue to offer print to office users of HP computers/printers and that work will produced centrally as determined by HP....a small base today but they intend to grow it. They also are keeping the deal with Staples.
Noel and Kelly's comments were right in line with those of us that met with HP........unfortunately it is still much more than a "referral" program and unless they further change their position they are still too focused on placing HP between the end user and the print service provider.

 

By Dave on May 19, 2009

Yes, I think you're missing something. On the next Marketsplash version, the customers will be going to a local Indigo PSP who sets his own price. So someone being sent your way with work to print at your prices is bad? (hint of sarcasm)
You can stop being mad, I agree with the previous comment, I think HP got it right this time.

 

By FubarGuy on May 19, 2009

I sat in on the webinar, as a shop with a few Indigo presses and it very much had the feeling of Damage Control Central, with topics like pricing being widely skirted. I forget the exact question asked, but there was one noticeable point where the entire HP Panel was silent for 10-15 seconds, as if nobody knew or wanted to put out an answer.

Also unknown is the buy-in to become a PSP, perhaps that's still in the negotiation phase. And even assuming we wanted to participate in MarketSplash, there's a Staples a mile down the road-are we competing with them simply by geographic proximity? (And yes, to a degree that's always been the case, except now there's a web site saying "Hey, there's a Staples closer, why not go there instead!")

It's a good first step by HP, I'll reserve judgment to see how they take it from here in the following months.

 

By Michael J on May 19, 2009

From what I read the deal that HP will select PSPs to do the work is going to be the tricky part. If there are open clear standards it should work to improve everybody. If it's an old boy's network that is not standard based, it's a total loser.

Re the prices. Sorry to say prices for this kind of work is already set on the web. The idea that there is any real negotiation on prices doesn't make sense to me.

Re: squeezing margins, there's very little HP can do that will squeeze them more than what's already out there.

Re: ad hoc responses. Makes sense. usually strategy is retrospective even in the best cases.

I think FubarGuy has it right. Good first step. It's all in the details and execution.

 

By Adam Dewitz on May 19, 2009

Archived playback of the Webinar is available to non-Dscoop members until Friday here: https://dscoop.webex.com/dscoop/lsr.php?AT=pb&SP=EC&rID=1340427&rKey=EAE35CC897E96C00

 

By Gene Hayes on May 19, 2009

I agree with Carl this appears to be a hollow victory..HP seems to be throwing the PSPs a bone. They are hoping this will silence the up roar. Anyone can still go on MarketSplash and order. They will only promote to those who have HP desktop equipment..This includes printers, multi-function machines, desktop pcs and laptop pcs and of course Compaq is an HP product. They plan to stay between us and the customer or end user.."we want to let the customer decide where to do business" is a direct quote from the webinar. Print on their own office equipment, have Staples print it..or let them select a local PSP. We are in the 3rd position. No mention of how HP will select the PSPs who want to participate..

They will be the ones who control the customer.
The White box alternative may be the most positive thing to come out of this thing. But, they have no idea how that is going to work.

 

By Joe Petrucci on May 19, 2009

Has there ever been an initiative like this in the printing industry that has lasted beyond a year or so? If there has been, has it produced lasting gains in market share for the customers that use the specified equipment (outside of a few anecdotal wins)?

The reality is this - the type of print that can be purchased through an online portal is a commodity. Unless you fill your presses with it and feed it with a well-lubed workflow, it will not deliver you to the promised land.

HP will use this as an arrow in their quiver when selling against Xerox, Cannon, etc. In that regard it is a good idea for them and will help them win some deals.

If you buy a digital press based on who has the best "digital network" of buyers lined up for you, I would suggest that you invest in pizza ovens and try to figure out how to sell pies cheaper than Dominos...

 

By Michael J on May 20, 2009

To me it seems that real fight is between Staples and the Franchises. HP is caught in the middle. From what I read the Corporate Express at Staples is doing the back end sourcing. HP needs Staples to sell it's toner. Staples needs HP to get the traffic and income for the toner.

If the pressure is applied to get the white label deadlines moved up from September to as close to now as possible, it means the franchises will have the chance for an fair playing field come September, when by all accounts the economy may be in for a significant upturn.

 

By Kevin Cushing on May 20, 2009

In the AlphaGraphics Franchise Network we’ve a healthy install base of HP Indigo digital presses. We have supported HP in its efforts to drive revenue from digital prints across these print engines to the benefit of both our companies.

Unfortunately, with the MarketSplash program, what was probably seen at HP as an attempt to drive the sale of inkjet cartridges for their desktop printers may actually drive a wedge between our printing centers and their customers. The PSPs are the loyal HP customers that have helped drive the market acceptance for their more commercial applications. To some extent they are using the retail customer base to drive business printing work to the providers that have not been integral to the growth of the install base for Indigo's or large format devices in the early days.

There’s no question that HP employs a lot of talented people. The Indigo is a good device if you’ve the proper mix of employees, applications and workflow. However, we’d have preferred HP had taken the standard approach of helping our centers drive sales individually and leave the web to print solutions and design work to us.

 

By Michael J on May 20, 2009

Kevin,
I think HP would be making a mistake not seeing the value going forward. If they get locked into a Staples only deal, they are going to miss the much larger opportunity with the franchises.

I would think that although Staples has a huge footprint, it would pale next to the footprint of all the franchises taken together.

 

By Ed Webb on May 21, 2009

Joe,

You are as usual, right on Point. Many folks use many words in their thoughts, but the real goal in all communications -- is to be on point.

Ed Webb

 

By Kristina on May 27, 2009

I have to agree that HP got it right in this instance. When it comes down to it, HP listened to its customers and believed them. It admitted its mistakes and has made changes to rectify them.

Keep in mind, HP is a major business. Like any business, its primary goal is to make more money. So we really can’t expect them to do something that is not in their own best interests financially. This may not be a perfect development, but it is a step in the right direction.

To be sure, there are some kinks to be worked out. The whole deal with the PSP’s doing the work at their own price is certainly one of those kinks. I am interested to see how that will work. But I tend to agree with Michael J: prices for this sort of work are (for the most part) fixed. So, again, I see this as a positive development.

 

By Michael J on May 28, 2009

Kristina,
I just took the click on your name to your company. It's very interesting. After just a very brief look it looks as if you have a very interesting business model. I was especially taken by the affiliate program that you offer.

Nice.

 

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