Commentary & Analysis
Workflow, a New Business and Magazine Ads
By Noel Ward,
By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 27, 2003
By Noel Ward, Executive Editor October 27, 2003 -- One of the spots in IBM's current TV ad campaign has a guy lying on the psychiatrist's couch complaining about a dream in which is like King Arthur but can't get the “cost-cutting sword” out of a stone. “Maybe,” the doctor suggests, “there are no more costs to cut. You need to become more productive.” You can feel the guy on the couch flinch. But productivity is crucial in any business these days, and in printing, especially digital printing, productivity readily translates into workflow. As our new vendor columnist, Bob Raus of Océ Printing Systems USA, points out in his premiere column this week, workflow is “the last place where efficiencies can be gained, costs reduced and the bottom line fattened up. And it's also the place where you can deliver the most value to your customers—as long as it works.” Bob has some great insights into what constitutes an effective workflow for digital printing and will be leading us deeper into that topic each month in his column Workflow Wire . Our man in the Southwest, Mike Chiricuzio has been busier than usual, this time helping with the start-up of a new digital printing operation near San Diego. It's one thing to add digital printing to an existing business, but building an entirely digital printing operation from the ground up poses some unique challenges. And this one, High Rez Digital Solutions is unusual in another way, being a for-profit venture of several Native American tribes and being initially supported by Hewlett-Packard. It's a great story, with pointers for anyone looking to expand their digital printing operations. Starting a new printing operation may seem crazy, especially in these times, but we must remember print is a remarkably resilient media. It has withstood the growth of radio, television, and now the Internet. Ad pages remain down, but that may be changing soon, reports Frank Romano in his column, “Promoting a Preference for Print.” His summary of a study done by the Magazine Publishers of America shows that print remains a powerful part of the marketing mix and that we may soon see a return to print as marketers realize they still must maintain a balance across several media to get the most return on their marketing dollars. Finally, Joel Crockett tells us about how the ways successful sales reps operate teaches us a lot about how variable data printing should be targeted. It all comes down to basics: know your customer's needs and communicate based on how you can fill them. This week the 24th annual Xplor conference is taking place in Atlanta, so be sure to check in to see what is happening there. The free RealTime Show Coverage is ready to view here! Speaking of which, I have to be there to write the stories. Gotta go catch a plane.